FEEDBACK

Please send your comments and photos to:

feedback@newall.org.uk

Alternatively, messages can be sent using the form at the bottom of this page. 

Many  thanks.

57 Responses to FEEDBACK

  1. Andrew Davies says:

    Good Morning

    In the 1960, my late father Ronald F Davies was Managing Director on Newall In Melbourne Australia. Ron a Teesside engineer emigrated to Australia in the early 60 to take over the Australian branch. I was 3, I recall he worked for Newall in Aristoc Rd., Glen Waverley. I remember the Player Brothers names, such as Frank and Eric, indeed I believe Frank ran a small business that my father later took over (purchased) Player Bro’s Pty Ltd, no doubt a spin off as it was full of jig boring machines.

    I found a photo of my father (on your website) in the 1961 meeting, he’s the chap with the cigarette. Ron was about 32 at this time so a relative young manager.

    Interestingly when Ron left Newall in the mid 60’ he founded Jig Boring Services utilising Newall equipment, this was later to become Javac Pty Ltd, today Javac operate in Australia and in the UK. The basis of JAVAC has been precision engineering, I run this business today, this precision engineering can be traced back to Newall Jig boring machines which were critical in achieving the high tolerances necessary in high vacuum pumps.

    • Mike Rogers says:

      Hello Andrew,
      Thank you for your email (and apologies for this delayed response) – it was interesting to read your comments. While we were aware of a number of Newall companies/divisions around the world, this is the first report we’ve received of a company in Australia. For the company to have some representation in Australia would not be surprising, since it was the company’s involvement (in the 1930/40s) in the manufacture of equipment for sheep-shearing, that spurred the company to develop a standardised system of limits and fits. This same system of limits and fits eventually became an international standard.
      If you have any other information of the company’s operations in Australia (such as dates, products, locations, personnel, agencies or manufacturers etc.), we’d be very pleased to add that information to our website.
      Your email also raised other questions regarding the people that you mentioned as being part of the company. For example, we have no record of any descendants related to the company’s founder (Sydney Player) named Frank and Eric. These names do not mean anything to us – can you tell us who these ‘Player brothers’ were related to? Perhaps there was another branch of the same family involved in the machine tool business? Also, you identified your father in that photograph as being ‘the chap with the cigarette’. There appear to be 3 smokers in that photo: one on the back row, 5th from left (possibly smoking a cigar); and then on the near side of the same table, 4th from the left appears to be holding a cigar, and next to him (5th from the left) is an individual holding what could be a cigarette. Which is your father?
      Your email has certainly proved quite interesting, and we’d like to add your contribution to our website feedback page. We look forward to hearing more from you.

      • Andrew Davies says:

        This is interesting and stretching my memory as I was only 3 when my family emigrated from Teeside in 1961.

        Ron is smoking the cigar in the back row, this maybe before he left for Australia so could signify he worked for Newall in the UK too.

        Ron was from Stockton, a former marine engineer, having held Chief ticket on several ships he had travelled the world, met my mother in NZ.
        They settled in Middlesbrough in the mid 50’s but was anxious to return to Australia or NZ
        I was told Ron applied for a job with Newall whilst we lived in the UK, the role was to run the Australian operation.

        The job was management of some sort, I always thought he was either a MD or Sales Director.
        He worked for Newall for around 3 years heleft shortly afterwards setting up “Jig Boring Services P/L” and told me Newall were very fair allowing him great payment terms on Jig Borers in order to set up the business.

        A few years later he set up another company, “Jigtool Products” (12/64) and took over a small company known as “Player Bros’s P/L” (Player Bros was set up in June 1960) the name I noted here was Frank Player, I recall the Player family living in a leafy suburb and driving flash cars, this suggests to me that there was more $$ than the Player Bro’s business represented.
        Frank and Eric I believe owned Player Bro’s, were they part of the extended family, I just don’t know? The owners were retiring I guess as I recall they were older, does that help?
        Player Bro’s was a manufacturer making universal joints and boiler tube expanders.

        On a date basis Player Bro’s (6/60), was set up before Newall which was first registered in May 1962, but deregistered in October 1964, this is interesting as Newall is deregistered before my father set up business so I need to learn more too? Did Newall pull out of Australia as the records don’t suggest a succession.

        I found this extract from ASIC, it indicated a name change but I can’t find anything else as the records are too old and the company deregistered.

        The business here was possibly a joint venture as initially it was known as Stockdale Newall P/L, then Newall Machine tools P/L , then Stockdale Newall again, quite confusing, see attached from official business records, so yes Newall existed in Melbourne.

        I do have some older literature in the archives at work, maybe photo’s too so I’ll see what I can find.
        FYI, – Newall was in Aristoc Rd Glen Waverley Melbourne, the old building has long gone.

        I’ll be in touch if I find some more, don’t hesitate to contact me, all good fun.

        • Mike Rogers says:

          I haven’t heard if you’ve found any more information regarding your father’s time/involvement with Newall, but I thought I’d share with you what I have gleaned. In addition to the information I’ve listed below, I emailed Waverley Historical Society a couple of weeks ago, to see if they could supply any information, but I’ve not had a reply.

          Most of the information I have got came from another ex-Newall colleague (Alan Fisher), who started after your father had left, but he is still in touch with a Geoff Walker who was sales manager for jig borers in the early 60s. Geoff remembers your father. He said that your father started work for Newall at Keighley Grinders, before he moved to Australia. He also remembers that he (Geoff) bought your father’s car from him before he left. It was a blue Ford consul, and he comments that “it was in exceptionally good condition”!

          Also, according to Geoff, Stockdale managed all Newall business in Australia. That leaves a bit of a question mark over which ‘Stockdale’. According to the records, ‘Stockdale Newall’ was deregistered in October 1964, and we know that there was some Newall business still taking place in 1978 because Alan Fisher visited the company in Sydney that year.

          I have also obtained some ‘current and historical information’ from ASIC for JAVAC and STOCKDALE NEWALL MACHINE TOOL. This does not really give us much more to work on other than the dates when the various company name changes took place.

          Finally, I have looked back through some of the notes I made when going through the UK’s Companies House records for Newall Engineering, and Newall Machine Tools. It appears that in June ‘64, a list of directorships for Newall Engineering Co. Ltd. directors, shows that Denis Player was also a director of Stockdale Newall Pty.

          Until, or unless further information comes to light, I would suggest that the following sequence of events took place in relation to Newall:

          1. A company was set up in May 1962 to handle Newall business in Australia. This company was originally named Newall Machine Tools Pty, and changed its name a day later to Stockdale Newall Machine Tools Pty. This company was described as an associate company to Newall, indicating that Newall UK did not have a controlling interest in Stockdale Newall. In October 1964, the company was deregistered. During that period, one of the directors was Denis Player. It seems likely that your father was in charge of the company throughout this time.

          2. Two months later, in December 1964, your father set up a new company (Jig Boring Services Pty.) which came to agreed terms for Jig Boring Services to acquire some (or all) the assets of Stockdale Newall Machine Tools Pty.

          3. Any further Newall business activity in Australia was carried out through independent companies acting as agents for Newall. At present, we do not have any information to confirm or deny this assumption.

          [[November 20. We have been doing more research which seems to contradict some of the points I made in this post. Please read on.]]

        • Mike Rogers says:

          Hello Andrew,

          I’ve been doing a bit more research into the Player family using ‘findmypast.co.uk’.

          1. What I have found is that Sydney Player had a younger brother (by 10 years) called Frank. Sydney is the man that steered the Newall business from a small company in Ponders End, London, to a successful machine tool company here in Peterborough. Sydney and Frank’s mother’s name was Louisa Sarah Brown. This same Frank got married in a 1917 to Adelaide Ethel Cecilia Wickham.

          2. I’ve also found that a Frank Player made a trip to Australia in 1921 with his wife (Adelaide EC) and daughter Joan, then only a couple of months old. 27 years later (1948), his daughter (then 27) made another trip to Australia, followed the next year by Frank and his wife. For the second trip, Frank’s occupation was recorded as ‘Director’ and his UK address was ‘c/o Hardy Spicer & Co., Birch Rd., Witton, Birmingham.’ You may well know that Hardy Spicer was a renown manufacturer of parts for the automotive industry, and particularly for their constant velocity universal joints. I am certain that Frank Player on these two trips to Australia are the same person because his wife’s name (Adelaide Ethel Cecilia) matches.

          3. According to an Australian record, a Frank Player died in 1975, aged 79, in Balw, Victoria – short for Balwyn, Victoria. His mother’s name is recorded as Louisa Sarah Brown, indicating that this Frank was Sydney’s brother – see 1 above.

          From here on, it’s speculation:

          Since Frank died in Australia in 1975, and the last record I could find of a trip to Australia was in 1948, it suggests that Frank had emigrated to Australia. It’s interesting to note that Balwyn (where Frank died) is only about 10 Km from Waverley Rd where you told me ‘Player Brother’s were located, and you also indicated in your first post that you thought Frank was running the ‘Player Brothers’ company.

          It is particularly interesting that Frank Player was a director at Hardy Spicer, and in your second email, you said that you thought ‘Player Bothers’ were manufacturing universal joints. Does that indicate that Frank and his brother Sydney set up this company in 1960 called ‘Player Brothers’ specifically to manufacture universal joints. If that is the case, were they manufactured under licence from Hardy Spicer, or did Frank have an alternative design to compete with Hardy Spicer? Presumably, high precision machine tools would be essential for such a company, and the Newall connection through his brother Sydney would ensure a supply of these machine.

          Perhaps, ‘Player Brothers’ also represented Newall Engineering in Australia, with that side of the business being run by your father. Then, two years later (1962) the Newall side of the business was split off into a new company ‘Stockdale Newall’, with your father presumably moving across to this new company. Two years later, that company was de-registered, and your father decided to set up his own company ‘Jig Boring Sevices’, agreeing amicable terms with ‘Player Brothers’ to acquire jig borers.

          Therefore, I suspect that that photo you had with Bob Clarke and A N Other (now shown in our ’photo gallery page’) was in fact Bob Clarke and Frank Player of Player Brothers Pty. Ltd. I’m still hoping that we’ll be able to make contact with Bob Clarke to confirm some of this.

          I’ve failed to find any member of the Player family called Eric. By 1960, Frank will have been 65+, and probably taking a back seat in the company. Perhaps, the Eric you recalled in your first email, was managing the day to day business at Player Brothers.

          All these strands seem to fit but we do not have absolute proof, and as I pointed out earlier, all of the above suggestions are speculative and could be way off the mark.

          This is all very interesting, but it is only the Stockdale-Newall business that fits within the scope of our website. Even if Sydney Player was in some way part of the Player Brothers organisation, it was not a Newall subsidiary.

          Let me know what you think, and if you find more documents/photographs relating to Newall, then we’d be very pleased to include those on our website.

          Mike.

  2. John Plant says:

    My name is John Plant and I am so pleased that I have found the Newall pages on the internet.
     
    I have fond memories of working on a Contimatic with a Ferranti control system back in the 1960s in the Rolls-Royce Toolroom.  The first machine was later joined by a second one with coarser leadscrews, so it gave a faster rapid traverse. The machines were driven by hydraulic motors – the powerpacks being incredibly noisy, which caused a lot of upset in the previously quiet sanctuary of the Jig Boring area. I suspect the hydraulics were never set up correctly – I don’t believe our millwrights understood hydraulic accumulators.

    Next to the Contimatic was a Spacematic. I think the operator never used the card system properly – it intrigued me though. This machine had a variable speed spindle drive – an old air-raid shelter outside housed a motor-generator set for it.
     
    In the 1980s the Contimatics were returned to Peterborough for a refurb and to be updated with electric drives and a CNC Allen Bradley system.  Unfortunately, RR was perhaps a bit conservative with the spec and didn’t control the spindle drive or coolant with M Codes. I think it was assumed we would continue to use tapes for all the work – mainly 3D contouring. However, the need to make a chassis for a model locomotive led to one of the operators learning programming. I then made a new door for my toolbox out of Tufnol and milled my name on it using my own programming.
     
    I recall your service engineer coming over on many occasions – once because we found that the system lost its limit positions if we downloaded a programme to a tape punch. We crashed the Y axis and did quite a bit of damage. I learned about Belleville Washers in series and parallel from him. His name was Dick. [[This was most probably Dick Griffiths.]]
     
    I visited your factory to see the proving tests and was fascinated to see a different scale of machining to anything I had seen before. I have a photo that was taken at the factory. I will send a scan if I find it. [[Please do! Thank you very much for getting in touch with us, John.]]

    • newall says:

      Thank you very much for getting in touch with your memories of some of the Newall machines. It is always interesting when we hear from someone who actually used them.

      The engineer you mentioned, Dick, we suspect was probably Dick Griffiths who did a lot of service and commissioning work on the various jig borers. He was quietly spoken and a very capable engineer – a very nice man indeed.

      We hope you can manage to find the photo, because it would be of great interest for the website, especially if it shows a Contimatic jig borer, as we haven’t managed to find a photo of one of these to date. Now that you are almost certainly ‘confined to barracks’ under the coronavirus lockdown regulations, I don’t think you have any excuse not to go searching in the loft! Please send us the highest resolution image you can of the photo.

      • John Plant says:

        Just returned for loft and the photo was not in the expected locations so I will have to hope it pops up somewhere unexpected.

        RR was a bit conservative with Machine Tool Control Systems and probably made suppliers step outside their comfort zone to fit Allen-Bradley on many types of machines so that our Systems Engineers could readily service them. However, it was in the days before conversational mode programming. We did no jig boring on the Contimatics. The work was mainly Former plates to be used on Copy Lathes for making Engine Shafts and discs; Electro- Discharge Electrodes, Turbine Blade forging die masters; Fan Blade Masters (justified the second machine) and even scribing glass plates that were used for optically checking the magnified projected form of turbine blades – oh, and former plates used to form dress grinding wheels.

        I recall with some embarrassment that we only ever “up-cut” milled. We never tried “Down cutting – or climb milling.

        The hydrostatic quill was impressive.

  3. John Seiffert says:

    [[The authors of this website have received from John Seiffert a significant amount of additional information on electrical discharge machining. This complements the information we had already provided on our ‘NEWALL ENGINEERING PRODUCTS – Page 3’ in the sub-section ‘ELECTRICAL DISCHARGE MACHINES’ at the bottom of that page. All this additional information has been put together in a new sub-page ‘Electrical Discharge Machining (EDM)’ which can be accessed by a link in that sub-section, or from the main menu under ‘NEWALL ENGINEERING PRODUCTS – Page 3’.]]

  4. Sebastián Salvadó says:

    [[On 26/02/2019 08:56, Sebastián Salvadó wrote:]]

    hi,

    I’ve been coming back to your website and the wealth of documents you have placed on it. I just wanted to thank you for all the effort and information you’ve put there. It’s really quite helpful.
    Greetings from Rome,

    sebastian

    • newall.org.uk website says:

      [[On 3rd March 2019, Newall replied:]]

      Hello Sebastian,

      Thank you. Feedback as yours, is always appreciated.

      The website was created by a colleague and I who worked at Newall Electronics and Newall Engineering for a significant proportion of our employment years – we are both now enjoying our retirement! We believe that, particularly in its earlier years at Peterborough, Newall offered an interesting and enjoyable place of work. We know of many ex-employees who, together with other members of their family, worked at Newall, and enjoyed that time of their lives. We all felt that the company’s engineering achievements were significant at the time, and its story needed recording before those that could tell it became victims of life’s inevitable conclusion!

      But what about you, Sebastian. What is your interest in Newall. Have you used their products; were you employed by the company at some point; what is your story? We look forward to hearing from you – perhaps you have something to tell relating to Newall that we can add to our ‘feedback’ or ‘memories’ pages?

      • Sebastian says:

        [[On 11th June 2019, Sebastian replied:]]

        Do please excuse my gargantuan delay to your extremely kind email! Thank you for taking the time to share this with me!

        I have been using your website to learn about the Newall and OMT companies. I’m a medieval historian by training (I have a book in draft form on the medieval liturgies of Saints Oswald and Edmund).

        But I am also a self-taught watchmaker. I am American (my family is from Barcelona and here in Italy, hence my Catalan name. But I moved to Rome after marrying my wife who’s italian, and to continue working in the university was not an option. Pay is a pittance here in Italy (as I knew well in advance!). So I have taken this as an opportunity to start a small watchmaking company (see: http://www.coggiolawatch.com). I restore vintage English pocket watches and create new custom wristwatches with them. I honor the integrity of the watch, and add a handmade case, hands, and dial besides entirely restoring the movement.

        I purchased one of the beautiful OMT OW12 optical dividing heads. And I have to say it is the most enjoyable dividing head I have ever used! As you see (I’m attaching a picture of it here – but I can take better pictures, I took some pictures when cleaning it I can send if you’re interested), but the display is wonderful. I have used the Zeiss and Deckel optical dividing heads and this by far beats the ease of use. Mine unfortunately is not calibrated as per factory, but it is well within a few seconds of accuracy, and well acceptable to the size and tolerances I use. I didn’t receive the lighting fixture, and was able to stick i a LED light, and it’s really great. But it is a complete overkill for the type of work I do, however, at the prices these fetch today, it is much cheaper than a Chinese made dividing head!

        I’ve fixed a Leinen collet holder to it, in order to be able to get the milling machine/ Jig borer to reach the small parts I make. The picture shows me using a custom made fly cutter to index a winding gear that’s got a 30 degree taper to it.

        I hope you have a great rest of the week, and again, thanks so much for your very kind message! I know various people online that use your website regularly. It’s a really wonderful resource!
        Sebastian

        [[The image Sebastian refers to above is shown on our ‘Photo Gallery’ page.]]

  5. James says:

    I worked as a software engineer at the Keighley Site from July 1990- September 1995 so perhaps outside the date range you’re interested in.

    I remember some of the names mentioned on your website including Malcolm Horsfall (who became the head of engineering; mechanical, electrical and software).

    I may have some photos of Blade Tip Grinders manufactured during the time I worked there.

    • newall says:

      Thank you, James. We are interested in anything to do with the company, so would certainly welcome any photos that we could add to the website. Thanks for getting in touch.

  6. John Hughes says:

    I served my apprenticeship at OMT Maidenhead and when finished my time I went to OMT Helston as a key worker along Brian Groves who I served my time with. Bob Peacock, Dougie Austin, Norman Ladd, Jerry Rowe, Bill Pearman were some of the people who also went to OMT Helston.

    I remember Concord flying a test flight when the pane of large toughened glass in reception cracked when going supersonic. The factory is now split into different units. The front is now Helston Gunsmiths.

  7. Bob Ford says:

    Hi no mention of SOS Engineering aquiring the Newall name when Keighley was the last Newall outpost. I worked for SOS and remember going to Keighley for information on the Quality side of things before everything was moved to Peterborough down Padholme road. All employees I think were offered jobs and help in relocating. A few remaining to this day working now for Danobat in Bretton Peterborough.

    • Newall2 says:

      Hello Bob. Thank you for your feedback. We are also in contact with Roy Poole, who you will probably remember from your days with SOS.

      When we started the Newall Memories website, we decided to limit its scope to the period Newall was operating in Peterborough. It soon became cleat that we needed to include some background about how Sydney Player formed the company, and brought it to Peterborough – hence our ‘Brief History’ page.

      Two years later, after recording individual memories, and researching the company’s development and the various other organisations in the Newall Group of Companies, it became apparent that for completeness, we needed to also add information about the post Peterborough period. Hence the ‘Addendum’ page which was added in December 2017, and updated a few times since. On that page, we attempted to clarify the link between Newall and SOS – a company which itself owes its origins to the Player family. Our last update on the ‘Addendum’ page records that we now understand that ‘Danobat – Newall’ now trades simply as ‘Danobat’. It’s interesting to note that back in the 70s or 80s, there was a rumour going round that Newall were going to take over Danobat!

  8. Ed Johnson says:

    Our organization has a Mitchell Camera registration service where we trace the various Mitchell Cameras through our factory lists. As part of that service, we have published serial number graphs for the most prevelant models of Mitchells on the website.

    Recently, we have had some inquiries as to the registration of Newall Cameras that were based on the Mitchell NC cameras. I am of the hope that you may still have access to the sales or shipping files for those cameras which may reference the serial numbers by date or know where thay can be found in order that we can provide this service to those cameras as well.

    The registrations are part of a conservation effort to build a public listing of the survivors. Currently, we are just moving out of the word of mouth stage and hope to have the first and only comprehensive listing of these unique technical artifacts.

    [[REPLY FROM NEWALL. This feedback was received by email, and has been added to our feedback page. The authors of this website have been unable to provide Ed with any shipping or serial number information. However, Ed has provided us with some interesting anecdotes about the early days of Newall’s camera venture, and as a result, we have re-written the relevant sections of our website.
    If anyone reading this has information that could be of use to Ed, please reply to this feedback. Alternatively, we can provide Ed’s contact information to anyone that can help. For more information, see mitchellcamera.com]]

  9. Chris Bennett says:

    I well remember Masie and Joan in the canteen. When I first started at Newall Group Sales in 1964 I was a very skinny seventeen year old living in a one room flat in Eastfield Road. They obviously felt sorry for me and Masie used to tell me to go to the canteen daily at 4pm. There she used to give me a small packet wrapped up in grease proof paper. She said it was for my tea as I didn’t have cooking facilities in my flat ( or a bathroom or any hot running water!) and when I went home and opened it there were two slices of bread and dripping. It kept me going until I found proper digs that supplied a meal. Thank you Masie and Joan. I shall always be grateful.

    • Newall2 says:

      Hello Chris. It was good to hear that Masie looked after you. We’d be interested to hear how you got on in Group Sales. Was that at No.1 or No.2 factory? Did your Newall career continue for long, and if so, did you eventually specialise in particular products? Are there any amusing or surprising stories about your time with the company that you can share with us?

      • Chris Bennett says:

        Hi Newall2,
        From 1964 to 1969 I was the assistant to the Group Publicity Manager, John Pudney at Newall Group Sales Offices in Oundle Road. What a job! [[The rest of Chris’ feedback has now been added to our Memories page. We look forward to more stories from Chris of his time with Newall.]]

  10. mark valentine says:

    I came across your website today and reminisced about a short spell 1976/78 I spent as an apprentice at OMT in High Wycombe.
    I don’t have any photos to offer and as a young man fresh from school I didn’t take on board too much of the history.
    To be honest the company really was in the twilight of its existence when I joined although I wasn’t to know that.
    Ron Gardener was MD and shared his time between Fakenham and High Wycombe. He cast a menacing figure on the few times he came out on the the shop floor.
    The factory itself was a sad depleted place with rows of unmanned machinery and the few remaining guys spread to all corners.
    Bob Baker was workshop foreman with Dabber and Jerry (sorry can’t remember more) and Peter polishing. Monty Angold was working there but as a self employed man, great guy!
    Reg the edge was on edging in the roughing shop with his son Chris and several others all doing the roughing prep.
    The Grating dept was run by Ken Brown with Morris, Eric and David with the lovely old Mickey Lord.
    My so called aprenticeship was a farce as the company was in such decline. I was assigned to the coating dept under a lovely man Jack Freeland. It is Jack that is in the pic you have on here of the coating dept. That is the exact desk he used to sit at, although there had been a much bigger cylindrical vacuum coating unit installed up against that back window in the picture. Jack was over retiring age and had been persuaded by Ron to stay on to train up a replacement. I was far too young at 17 to replace Jack, who was always saying he had told them for the last 10 years he was going. But RG always seemed more interested in Fakenham and had let High Wycombe fade.
    Hopefully someone will remember some of these guys if not, well it was a great summer in 76!!

    Mark Valentine

    • newall says:

      Thank you, Mark, for getting in touch.

      You are the first person we have found who actually worked in the High Wycombe factory, although clearly not during its most successful phase. It is nice that you have been able to provide a few names of staff who worked there, particularly Jack Freeland, who features in one of the photos on the OMT (General) page. I have updated that page to include some of the details you have provided.

  11. Jared Spencer says:

    Hello, I work with a coating company called SPG Surface Technologies in New Orleans LA. We have a very large Newall OD grinder, 20′ center-to-center, 62″ swing, 17,000lb capacity without steadies. I believe it was new in the early 1980’s and might be called an EHD 3950? Anyway, we just had two experts come here from UK to rescrape the ways and do other servicing to give it another couple decades of life. It really is an incredible machine in what it is capable of and how it operates.

    I saw on your site the picture of a large planetary ID grinder but not much other information on it. It looks much bigger than the Churchills I’ve seen and would appreciate any info you have on this larger version and where I might find one for sale. Thank you and I really enjoy your website! There is much history in engineering and machine tools that I hope is not forgotten.

    • newall says:

      Hello Jared, thank you for your comments about our website.

      I do have a vague memory of a large Churchill marine crankshaft grinding machine being assembled on the shop floor in the early 1980’s, so I wonder if this could be the machine you are describing. Certainly, I think a machine of that size (20’ between centres) would indicate a Churchill design, rather than a Newall design, as the entire Newall range of grinders (other than blade-tip and gap-bed grinders) at that time were aimed primarily at the automotive industry. But we have no information at all on this product, and my colleague doesn’t remember it at all, which of course makes me question my own memory!

      As to the planetary grinder shown on the website, I do remember two of these being assembled at Newall, destined for Russia. These particular machines were being used to grind the bores of naval guns. The standard options in this range of grinders were described in a Churchill brochure, which can be seen here.

    • Steve Kosschuk says:

      Hi my name is Steve Kosschuk and I worked for Keighley Grinders Ltd {Yorkshire, United Kingdom} for 26 years.

      The grinding machine that Jared Spencer in New Orleans was talking about, was made in 1982 at Keighley Grinders as a special order for Mr Bill Simmons as nobody in the US at the time could make the machine.

      It was the largest Keighley Grinders had ever made, the cost was £350,000 and took approx. 15 months to build and weighed 50 tons, known as an EHD {Extra Heavy Duty} 3950.

      It was shipped in 6 sections and left the factory around 22 of November 1982.

      I was one of the engineers who did a service on the machine.

      Kind regards,

      Steve

      • Jared says:

        Steve, that is the one. SPG is “Simmons Plating and Grinding”. My family bought the company from Bill in the mid 1990’s but he was always coming in to see how things were going until he died a couple years ago. We still do the hard chrome plating but expanded to thermal sprays as well.

        Either you have a great memory or possibly you have access to some historical data on this machine. Do you have plans/blueprints? The wheelhead seems especially complex. Were any other EHD grinders made? I’d be interested in any for sale for redundancy. Thanks!

        • newall says:

          Thanks, Jared, for that follow-up which has now been approved. Apologies for delay, but was unable to act earlier due to some password issues – now resolved. If you wish, I could email Steve with your email information so that he could contact you direct if he is happy to do that, rather than our website acting as a ‘go-between’. Please email mike@newall.org.uk if you would like me to do that.

  12. Simon Good says:

    Hi
    My name is Simon Good, regrettably I did not work for Keighley Grinders, and became a computer Systems Engineer instead. My Grandfather, the late Isaac “Ike” Good worked for Newalls in Peterborough from 1935 as machine shop foreman, after serving as an apprentice for H.F. Atkins Old Fletton. Apparently at 15 Grandad cycled to Old Fletton from Grimsby to work for Harry Atkins who had invented a machine to mill bicycle crank shafts and an appliance to sharpen knives with two abrasive discs simultaneously (yes we have all seen these now).
    Isaac Good was principally responsible for the Newall Jig Boring capability which preserved the company. My Grandfather was well recognised by Sydney Player for this, being appointed works manager in 1938 and then Managing Director for Keighley Grinders in 1942.
    As a small boy I would go to work with my Dad and Grandad to Keighley Grinders, stopping for a ritual haircut and join them on the tour of the shop floor. I still love the smell of coolant.
    On one occasion I was left in Grandads office to frank the mail with a date stamp, a job entered into with some enthusiasm. Before he left he told me I must not press the Green Yellow and Red buttons behind me. Well there cannot have been enough mail, so when my Grandfather and Father arrived back there was a line of men outside in the corridor headed by Arnold Gambol (General Manager). Grandad walked right past them without comment. Closed the door and asked me if I had touched the buttons. I fessed up.
    He went back to the door dismissed the team without comment.
    51 years later it dawned on me he deliberately told me not to press the buttons knowing I would. Makes you wonder how he knew?????
    I have 3 of the first copies of Precision the Newalls Company Magazine and can make copies if you are interested.

    • lyveden says:

      Hello Simon. It was really good to hear from you, and particularly, your recollections from all those years ago. We had certainly known of a Edward (Ted) Good, who I would assume, is your father? As you’ll know, Ted had a number of senior management roles within the Newall Group. Following your feedback, I spoke to an ex-colleague who I thought, might have known your grandfather. While he didn’t have any direct dealings, he did understand that Ike had a reputation for very ‘firm’ management – nobody stepped out of line, and got away with it!
      We’d be very interested in seeing copies of those ‘Precision’ magazines if you are able to email us copies. Similarly, if you or your family have photographs or other documents relating to Newall or Keighley Grinders, we’d be really pleased to see them. Thank you for getting in touch.
      Mike Rogers. (mike@newall.org.uk)

      • Simon Good says:

        Hi Mike – Yes Ted is my Father.
        Grandad had a very tough highly regimented and disciplined childhood – This may have reflected in his management style.

        As an anecdote to this – When on the shop floor on a Saturday morning with Grandad Ike he was playing with me, and one of the men remarked to my Dad “did you see that, he was playing with your little boy! My Dad responded “well he is human”!

        Percy Green one of the Planing Machine operators referred to Grandad a “t’owd Lion”.

  13. Nick Lynch says:

    There seems to be no information about the Keighley site on your webpages. I worked there from 1977 to 1985 as an apprentice in the fitting and inspection departments, then in the drawing office. The Company made some unique products, designed by the Chief Designer Ray Shackleton.

    The building on Aireworth Road is still there, now repurposed.

    I have some brochures somewhere. I could scan them if they would be of interest. The attached is a token contribution from a pocket note book (rather scruffy looking, sorry) showing the KG300, a 300mm machine that KG made from the late 1970’s.

    • newall says:

      You must be telepathic!

      About two hours before you sent your email, we had been having some discussions about the website, and in particular, how to proceed with the Keighley Grinders page. We have some information about the company’s inauguration way back in the 1900s, and we have some photographs of the factory that had been published in various sales brochures – these include a view of the factory before and after the 3rd bay was added. We also have a number of sales brochures showing various KG machines. However, none of this is as useful as the knowledge of someone who actually worked there.

      We decided that we would add what information we have to the website over the coming weeks, and hope that this would prompt someone out there, that perhaps worked for the company, to come forward with information and stories. You could be just the man!

      We will be in touch again when we have made a start on the Keighley Grinders page.

  14. Ray Edmiston says:

    Hi I came across your site when I was looking for info on Newalls , I worked there in 1976/7 after I left the RAF.

    I worked in the R&D section with George? Morris amongst other. I read with interest and fond memories of the Vertex 200 and the associated problems with the ‘Carousel’.

    If my memory serves me well, it was one rather huge lump of metal, about a metre squared, it was mounted on the side of the machine (RHS) if I remember correctly by two very large steel lugs, and rotated on a roller bearing about 12 inches in diameter, which for some reason we couldn’t source within the UK and had to get one from Italy. To say it was ‘problematic’ is being rather kind…it was a beast!

    The ‘robotic arm, as you indicated was also a great concern, its ‘repeatability’ was certainly not the best I had ever seen, which I think was a combination of problems with the PLU. the electric ‘servo motors’, and the sensors sort of doing their own thing.

    At the time, I think the ‘general’ consensus in R&D was it is a great idea and great concept but why have this ‘lump of steel’ on the side when everyone else was using different, smaller toolholders with a greater tool capacity.

    At the time I also did some work on the EDM 250? an Electro Discharge Machine.

    Although I left Newalls after a year or so to go to Perkins, I still have fond memories of my time there and of the people I worked with, it was quite refreshing to work with a precision engineering company as I had served my apprenticeship with one of the finest precision engineering companies in the UK, The Singer Manufacturing Company, who incidentally also manufactured Burgmaster Drilling machines for use in Singer Manufacturing Plants worldwide

    • newall says:

      Thank you for contacting us, Ray. We are intrigued to know more about the EDM 250. Was this part of the same project that resulted in the Newall-Agietron machine, or is it something we don’t know about? Any further details would be welcome.

  15. Allan Clarke says:

    I was looking for some information on a 1520 Jig Borer and found your site. Excellent reading and a trip down memory lane!

    I served my apprenticeship at Newall Engineering starting in 1974 in the Shrewsbury Ave training school in Peterborough. We were the first intake after they had stopped taking on apprentices for a number of years. Superb training from some of the finest craftsmen I have ever worked with. I left in 1984 when they pretty much ceased manufacturing.

    That was a long time ago and a lot has happened since then. Including now living in Vancouver Canada. However I would like to be able to fill in some additional history if you are interested? Just need to spend some time putting together what I remember.

    One thing I can confirm and fill in some additional details on is the Vertex 200. Yes, 2 did go to China. They were used in the Chinese aircraft industry. One went to a jet engine plant in Xian and the other to a hydraulic and fuel systems plant in Nanjing. The reason I know this is that I was one of the 3 engineers that went out to install them in 1981. My role was to train the operators to use and program the AEG control system. We were there just over 2 months. Quite an experience for a your engineer on his first business trip!

    Regards,
    Allan

    • newall says:

      Thank you very much for contacting us, Allan. It is good to hear about the commissioning of the China machines straight from the horse’s mouth, as it were! I’ll add those details to the Vertex section of the website.

  16. John Seiffert says:

    I am retired now at 81.. Had the pleasure of supplying Newall with a very large number of boring and facing heads made by my old friend Heinz Kaiser in Switzerland. The head was called “Piccolo”
    As a result I developed a very close relationship with Denis, Jim and also Geoff Walker. Mr Rule also figured a lot. At the time I was looking to find a English company to make part of, if not the whole of an Agie spark erosion machine, for which we were the agents, during a particularly harsh “buy british” campaign.
    Newall were interested and we made a number of the machines based on a 15/20
    I have a number of photos of the “Newall-Agie”machine and staff if you are interested
    Is there a limit to the pixels or size of any files I send you please.
    Regards
    John Seiffert (Swiss)

    • newall says:

      Thank you, John, for your feedback. We’d be very interested to see the photographs. We do not have many that show the employees, or the factory premises. Please email photos to mike@newall.org.uk.

      Photo file sizes should not be a problem for us to download, assuming we’re talking a few MB. Greater than 10MB would take a bit longer. If necessary, we can always re-size any we use on the website.

      Your ‘Piccolo’ machine head, and the ‘Newall-Agie’ machine are news to me – but, perhaps not surprising since I was working for the Newall Electronics division. We do mention Glevum Ltd. of Gloucester in relation to spark erosion on our Newall Engineering page. Were they anything to do with the ‘Agie’ head, or were they in competition? I notice that Glevum is still operating in Gloucestershire, but are manufacturers of replacement doors and windows. I cannot see any connection with spark erosion!

  17. George Bain says:

    I have just found your website after trying to research a number of items I have from The Newall Engineering Co.
    I recently bought a very old box with micrometres inside it, after a google search there seemed to be nothing or no micrometres made by Newall Engineering evident.
    I have attached pictures to show you exactly what I mean as I’m a completely new to this. Any information about the objects and box would be really appreciated and any more information you need I will be happy to try to help.

    • Newall says:

      Thank you for your email and photographs. Your information, and particularly the photographs, are very interesting in that they provide evidence of the early history of the Newall Engineering Company. They show that the company was indeed based in Walthamstow in its early years, and was owned by Peter Hooker at that time. This confirms some of the information available on Wikipedia, and quoted on the ‘brief history’ page on our website, and would suggest that these products were manufactured around 1910 to 1920. You are possibly already aware that the company gained its enviable reputation in those early years as a result of the quality and accuracy of their products, and their internationally accepted system of ‘limits and fits’. This would require high accuracy inspection equipment – an obvious product for the company to manufacture.

      I notice in one of the photographs, that there are (what appears to be) some documents which presumably provide information about the box contents. Are there any dates or any addresses for the Newall company? When we update our website, would you be happy for us to use any of these photographs? We would include an acknowledgement that these photographs were supplied by yourself.

  18. Neil Anderson says:

    Hi
    I’ve got an old Newall measuring machine.
    I can send photos if you want?
    Locally to me the museum also has another measuring machine that appears much much older than mine if you are interested?

    • newall says:

      Thank you Neil for your feedback. We’d definitely like to see photographs of your Newall measuring machine, and we’d be interested to know why and how you came to have the machine. Perhaps you could also let us know where your local museum is so we can contact them. Please send copies of photos to mike@newall.org.uk.

      • Neil Anderson says:

        Hi Mike
        I have sent pictures to both you and David. The other machine I have seen is in Summerlee Museum in Coatbridge. This seems to be a more basic unit than the one I have and is only about about 3 foot long.

        • Newall says:

          Hello Neil,
          Thanks for the photos. I didn’t know they made measuring machines that long. The NATIONAL PHYSICAL LABORATORY document was also very interesting. We’ll be updating the website soon, and intend to include some of your information – we’ll let you know when we’ve done that.

  19. Ray Morris says:

    There were signs hanging up at the Fletton factory stating
    “We have a reputation for good workmanship, see that we maintain it.”

    • newall says:

      We think that is the same sign that can be seen on the photograph of the horizontal borer section at No1 factory. Unfortunately, the sign is partly covered by the borer and the roof supports, but there appears to be a signature at the bottom (right hand side) possibly of Sydney Player.

  20. Ray Morris says:

    You should mention the Newall system of limits and fits which became a world wide standard. This was developed originally for sheep shearing equipment sent to Australia. This ensured that any spares sent out there would fit

    • newall says:

      You are quite right. From the information we have so far, the Limits and Fits standard was introduced in the early days of Newall, when they were based in Warrington. We believe that the manufacturing standards, and quality of workmanship, was one of the factors that caught Sydney Player’s attention to the company, and one of the main reasons he acquired the company in those early days. He ensured that that reputation for quality was maintained by continuing to work and manufacture products to the same high standards.

  21. Ray Morris says:

    Joan’s elder sister Masie was the original manageress, us drawing office boys referred to her as The Soup Dragon. Although she was really a very nice person

    • newall says:

      We know Joan ran the canteen at No. 3 factory. Was Masie the manageress at No. 2, and did Joan work there as well before moving to No. 3?

      • Ray Morris says:

        Yes Masie was the boss and Joan worked there also.
        Later in its final days at Shrewsbury avenue a lady named Doris was the manager this is probably after Masie retired and Joan moved to electronics. ( this last bit is just a guess)

  22. I would just say that Joan wouldn’t have liked being called a cook. Perhaps we should refer to her as the manageress.

    • newall says:

      Many of us will remember Joan. She was the cook (or manageress) for the canteen at Padholme Road. She used to have a problem with cooking meals when only a few people were expected to be having lunch in the canteen. The catering packs she had available would readily feed 6 people, but on some days, only 3 or 4 may be having lunch. For those that were, a treat was in store. We could have second helpings, or even third helpings. These occasions were particular enjoyable when apricot crumble and custard was being served for desert. I seem to remember that over a period of a couple of years, I gained a couple of stone (that’s 12Kg in new money).

      They were happy days, if not particularly healthy!

      (I have a photograph of a Christmas dinner at the Padholme Road canteen in, I believe, 1973/4. This will be shown on the Newall Electronics page soon.)

      • David Hobbs says:

        And do you remember (apart from the runny custard long-standing joke) that if ever we dared to make any critical comment about the food, Joan would come right back with “Do yer wannit or don’t yer?”! We still regularly use that expression in our family today, and of course it always conjures up pleasant memories of Joan.

  23. We had canteen facilities at the Ivatt Way factory and a lovely lady called Joan Althorpe was the cook. Brian Hadman (from the drawing office) and I both loved thick custard and we had a running joke with Joan that no matter how thick she made it, we both always complained that the custard was far too runny. Well, eventually she obviously got a bit fed up with this joke and decided to get her own back on us. I have no idea how much custard powder she used on this particular occasion but the end result was like a solid block of rubber. Of course we had to eat it, or we would have lost face, but we didn’t feel too well afterwards. When Joan asked us how we enjoyed the custard today we replied through mouths that were almost glued shut that “it was just about right this time thank you Joan”. She never had any more trouble from us…

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