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McGeoch Technology Limited
Lower Tower Street,
Birmingham B19 3PA
T: +44 (0) 121 687 5850
F: +44 (0) 121 333 3089
McGeoch’s Warwick Works
William McGeoch & Co acquired their Warwick Works in Birmingham in 1887 and almost immediately began
manufacturing lighting fittings for the new Atlantic flyer – ‘SS City of Paris’ - being built on the Thomson yard (later to
become John Brown’s) at Clydebank.
In the years that followed, many improvements were made to the factory (which totalled 70,000 square feet) and with plant
continually being modernised, Warwick Works quickly became completely self-contained and depending on outside
suppliers only for raw materials.
Right from the start, Warwick Works was devoted to the manufacture of electrical equipment
and with the company making a special feature of ships fittings, a series of major contracts
were secured with the admiralty and principal shipbuilding firms at home and abroad.
The company’s early range included some curious designs of lampholders which were in
common use before the Edison-Swann type of lampholder became the industry standard. It
was the heaviest and most robust lampholder on the market. The brass tube used for the
body was thicker and the binding rings more solid than any other make. The porcelain used
for the insulated interior was the best available.
However, important as they were in the functional sense, lampholders were not the main
priority for the Admiralty and McGeoch cleverly adapted Warwick Works to manufacture a
whole new range of watertight electrical equipment required for the safe wiring of ships and
in particular for the connection of electricity supplies to and from the main switchboard.
These included pendants, brackets, plugs & sockets, switches, control panels and many of
the original patterns designed by the Admiralty.
Some of these fittings also found use in railways, tramcars and motor buses as can be seen in the archive poster above (click
for an enlarged version).
McGeoch’s Warwick Works continued to be the company main manufacturing base until 1974 when operations were moved
to new premises in Electric Avenue, well-located near the famous ‘spaghetti junction’ on the north west of Birmingham.
Illustrated below are a series of photographs of McGeoch’s Warwick Works taken in the mid-fifties. They include views of
the drawing office, pattern shop, foundry, plating shop, sheet metal fabrication shop, bakelite moulding shop, fitting &
assembly shops and lines, electrical testing bay, packing department and even the work’s canteen.
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