Grace's Guide

British Industrial History

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Flexible Non-Metallic Conduits

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1941 North British Rubber Co agreed to develop Thomas Charles Gilbert's system of non-metallic conduits, known as Gilflex

1946 North British Rubber set up a subsidiary company, Flexible Non-Metallic Conduits Ltd. to market Gilflex conduits, the first non-metallic conduits manufactured and installed in Britain. Thomas Gilbert was appointed Managing Director.

Gilflex was initially aimed at new post-war housing developments and village and farm installations, as rapid rural electrification was beginning. After approaches to the Ministry of Works and the London County Council, a trial installation took place at Kidbrooke Estate in South London in 1946, with promising results. However, progressing from the trial installations proved difficult. There were initial problems with the strength of the conduits as well as difficulties in obtaining raw materials - in September 1946 Gilbert tried to enlist the help of the Ministry of Works in lobbying the Board of Trade to allocate materials to NBR.

1951 Gilbert's partnership with North British Rubber was an uneasy one and by 1951 he decided that he could develop Gilflex better on his own.

1953 Flexible Non-Metallic Conduits Ltd lay dormant until it was liquidated.

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