Grace's Guide

British Industrial History

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Marshall of Cambridge

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December 1961

Marshall of Cambridge

of Airport Works, Cambridge.

1909 established by David Gregory Marshall, in a small lock-up garage in Brunswick Gardens, Cambridge as a chauffeur-drive company as Brunswick Motor Car Co

1910 moved to larger premises in Kings Street.

1912 Moved to Jesus Lane; expanded to include selling cars. The mechanics helped repair the engine of a British Army airship, the Beta II, when it made an emergency landing on Jesus Green, just behind the Marshall garage

1914 Renamed as Marshall's Garage Ltd.

WWI Premises used for servicing and repairing vehicles. David Marshall ran canteens for the army, for Woolwich Arsenal, and the Ministry of Munitions; he was appointed MBE for his services.

1926 David's son Arthur, having learned to fly after gaining an engineering degree, helped open a new aerodrome on the outskirts of Cambridge.

1929 Flying training began

1930 the Marshall Flying School was formed.

1937 The company purchased farmland to build a second airfield which became Cambridge Airport. This was very opportune for re-armament was becoming an urgent national priority, along with the need for even more facilities for military aircrew training.

WWII Marshall modified and repaired over 5,000 aircraft; the workforce was expanded to around 3,000, including many female workers.

Postwar: aerospace engineering expanded for both civil and military aircraft, mainly repairs, modifications and conversions but also final assembly of the last production batch of 65 de Haviland Venoms. Marshall developed its aircraft design and manufacturing facilities, becoming a sub-contractor to all the British aircraft manufacturing companies. The garages re-opened - Jesus Lane concentrated on Austin Cars; Airport Garage focused on Austin Trucks.

1946 Marshall Motor Group opened garages in Peterborough in 1946 and Bedford a few years later, as well as operations in smaller towns. Marshall Motor Bodies Division was established as a diversification into vehicle body building and refurbishment of London Transport buses.

Motor Bodies later became part of Marshall Specialist Vehicles (Marshall SV) which made Black Marias for the Metropolitan Police, outside television broadcasting vehicles for the BBC, as well as radar vans for Marconi, ambulances for the Scottish Ambulance Service and military ambulances for the British Armed Forces.

1950s Marshall SV manufactured a wide range of buses; took over bus production from Mulliners. More recently the company built a number of buses for London Transport and other bus operating companies around the country.

1957 Marshall SV and Tom Bacon, the inventor of the fuel cell, developed a 3 kilowatt fuel cell powered by hydrogen and oxygen which was demonstrated on an electrical forklift truck.

1966 Marshall Aerospace became the UK Designated company for the RAF C-130 K Hercules and introduced the aircraft to RAF service.

1969 Maker of variable geometry nose and other components for Concorde [1]

1970 National Bus Co ordered 134 new bus bodies from Marshall of Cambridge (out of total order of 1895)[2]

1972 Marshall Thermo King specialised in the sales and support of vehicle-mounted, temperature control units.

1983 Marshall built its largest hangar to accommodate the contract to convert civil TriStars for RAF use as both freighter and tanker aircraft

2010 The main parts of the business were Marshall Aerospace and Marshall SV. Acquired Slingsby Advanced Composites from Cobham[3]

See Also


Sources of Information

  1. The Times, Mar 04, 1969
  2. The Times, Jul 31, 1970
  3. The Times, April 05, 2010
  • History of Marshall Group [1]
  • Obituary of Arthur Marshall: The Times, March 21, 2007