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A New Direction For Warwick Works
Published 1st August 2019
Whilst McGeoch’s Warwick Works survived most of the Birmingham Blitz – in part due to the bravery and diligence of
the works fire brigade headed by Captain Walter Heath, OBE - the company’s London Office at 48 Berners Street was not
so lucky. One morning in the Autumn of 1940, a 1,000lb bomb completely demolished the premises leaving only the
glass bowl of an electric light fitting hanging intact from a beam alongside an old photograph of the founder, William
McGeoch, white-bearded and patriarchal.
Modern wars, as well as being associated with every conceivable kind of evil, also acted as a spring board for technology
and particularly in the post war years of WWII, every kind of sophistication speeded up improvements and new inventions in
aerodynamics, the internal combustion engine, marine and submarine design, radar and the whole field of electronics, a
field in which McGeoch had particular skills and interest.
After the war the almost immediate cessation of Government contracts presented a challenge to manufacturers
everywhere. For McGeoch, and especially the company’s Warwick Works, there was a strong need to diversify.
As predicted, the cream of transatlantic passenger trade would become more and more carried on huge aircraft leaving
transatlantic liners having to earn their keep with winter cruises. Over the next few years, these became increasingly popular
prompting shipping companies to invest in the building of new cruise liners. The demand for passenger-carrying car ferries
also grew rapidly providing the shipyards with some fine building jobs and McGeoch with good orders for cabin
brassfoundry. Ships would also have to be built for various special purposes including oceanography, fishing, fishing
protection and lighthouse servicing and these created even more opportunities for McGeoch.
At Warwick Works in Birmingham regular enquires were also being received for components connected with the electronics
industry including small control panels, multiple-pin plugs & sockets and indicator lights .Coupled with the award of a huge
Government contract for marine switchboards, the development of these would point the company in a new and successful
direction for many years to come.
The images below show various aspects of McGeoch Warwick Works in post war Birmingham.
▼Click images to view …
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