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British Industrial History

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Fyfe, Wilson and Co

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of 31 Budge Row, Cannon Street, London, EC4

Started in Glasgow soon after the First World War as engineering consultants and manufacturers of generating sets. There was a growing demand for electric lighting to replace gas. Many of the generators went into cinemas, which were very popular. At that time there was no electrical distribution network.

c.1920 H. F. K. Dearlove was employed as an engineering consultant and opened an office in the City of London. The business included factory installations and modernisation by re-equipping with electric generation and the application of electric motors.

1921 Mr Dearlove acquired the company from Mr Fyfe's widow and the business was incorporated as a Limited Liability Company. In the same year a works was purchased in Bishop's Stortford.

1922 Listed Exhibitor. Manufacturers of "F.W." Lightweight Portable Petrol-Paraffin Electric Generating Set, suitable for travelling Cinemas. (Stand No. G.61M)

Work continued to expand with the gradual spread of the National Grid. Because many towns operated their own generators there were many different voltages, frequencies and even some DC systems in operation. These all had to be converted to the new 440/220 volt AC system. Fyfe Wilson and Co re-designed and rewound electrical equipment to meet the new standard.

1930s During and after the depression of the early 30s, Mr Dearlove's consultancy brought in a wide variety of rewinding and general engineering work for a very diverse range of customers. These included industries covering Cod Liver Oil, Matches, Leather, Flour Mills, Breweries, Rope Makers. A Silk Mill and many nationally known companies such as Cadburys and Crow Catchpole, (now Tarmac).

1937 Engineers, mechanical and electrical.

This mix of work continued until the Second World War when, at an early stage, the company was engaged by the Admiralty to carry out secret development work on heavy marine diesel engines together with the specialised generators needed to provide degaussing systems for minesweepers.

WWII. The strict quality system and inspection rigorously applied during the war years introduced a discipline which was to stand the company in good stead in later years when further government work became available in the form of electromagnets for radar transmitters and, later, TV broadcasting.

Post-War. The company gradually returned to commercial work and in 1952 was honoured to build and supply the mobile generators for the Royal Train used by Princess Elizabeth to tour South Africa.

The company continues with electrical and mechanical site installation work, manufacture of specialised machinery, electromagnets for use in Radar, TV Transmitters and Body Scanners and all types of electrical repairs and rewinds.

The company remains in the ownership of the Dearlove family. (2008)

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