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British Industrial History

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Alfred George Beech Owen

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Sir Alfred George Beech Owen (1908-1975) of Rubery Owen and Co and the Owen Organisation

1908 Born the son of Alfred Ernest Owen.

1923 His father bought the New Hall Manor estate in Sutton Coldfield. New Hall remained the Owen family home until Alfred's death in 1975.

1927 Entered Emmanuel College, Cambridge, to read mechanical sciences

1930 After the death of his father, Alfred took charge of Rubery Owen with his brother Ernest William Beech Owen. He left Cambridge without completing his degree.

Sir Alfred was a lay preacher for much of his life

1932 married Eileen Kathleen Genevieve McMullan (1907–1995). They had three sons (Alfred David Owen (1936), John E. Owen (1939), and Robert J. Owen (1949)) and two daughters.

1934 Alfred and Ernest were appointed joint managing directors of the Rubery, Owen company.

Post-WWII Owen was among the first businessmen to back Raymond Mays' project to build a British grand prix car. Initially provided £1000 and the offer of free parts and services. Later, far more was forthcoming as Owen's role grew.

1947 Owen played a key part in establishing the British Motor Racing Research Trust to manage the venture. Following serious financial, legal, administrative, and technical difficulties he took complete control in 1952 and BRM became a division of Rubery, Owen.

He was proprietor of the BRM motor racing team from the early-1950s to 1974.

1959 Chairman and Joint Managing Director of Rubery Owen and Co; and Chairman of the Owen Organization. Owen is a Director of the following companies forming the Organization: Rubery Owen and Co. Ltd., Electro-Hydraulics, Ltd., Rubery Owen (Warrington), E. Camelinat and Co., Motor Panels (Coventry), Hudson Brown, Bentley Hall Brick Co., Easiclene Porcelain-Enamel (1938), A. Warden and Co., Rubery Owen and Kemsley Proprietary, Rubery Owen Housing Association, Rogers and Jackson, Salopian Engineers, Shuker and Son (Shrewsbury), R. and J. Wrexham (Wholesale), J. W. Baker and Co., Nuts and Bolts (Darlaston), C. and L. Hill, Brooke Tool Manufacturing Co., A. G. Sutherland, Chains, Darlaston and District Housing Co., T. S. Harrison and Sons, lnvicta Electrodes, Kleine Co., Eaton Axles, Associated Constructional Engineers, New Hall Farm, Waddington Tools, G. R. Smithson and Co., Port Hamble, Luke Brothers, B.T. Developments, Gasel Appliances, Denfords Engineering Co, Rubery Owen, Kepston, Conveyancer Fork Trucks, Conveyancer Fork Trucks (Australia), Pty., Electro Hydraulics (Canada), Ltd., Gasel, J. E. Brassey and Son, The Castra Electric Washing Machine Co., Ltd., Cardinal Steels, Ltd., Leabank Office Equipment, Ltd., Bowser International, Ltd., Charles Clark and Son, Ltd., Charles Clark and Son (Stafford), Ltd., Shorrock Superchargers, Hodgkiss Oilburners, Walsall Football Club, British Overseas Boat Co., Hill, Alzen (Sales), Rubery Owen and Scott (S.A.), Rubery Owen (Canada),

1961 He was knighted.

1960s Owen was impressed by Donald Campbell's courage and became a leading sponsor of the world land speed record attempt at Lake Eyre, South Australia. Rubery Owen supplied Bluebird's advanced monocoque body.

1963 The relationship between Owen and Campbell was uneasy. In the course of a business visit to Australia Owen appeared to criticize Campbell for delaying the record attempt and wasting time by exhibiting the car. Furious, Campbell sued for slander claiming damages of £80,000. The matter was not pursued; with Owen's continued support, Campbell went on to break Sir John Cobb's seventeen-year-old record in July 1964.

Sir Alfred was prominent in the local affairs of his home town serving as a Councillor (1937–1974) and Mayor (1951)

1969 Suffered a serious stroke.

1975 Died at Sutton Coldfield

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