Open Day at the GEC Castle Engineering Works

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Date:1977

Description:The GEC Castle Engineering Works in Stafford held an Open Day in 1977 to mark the occasion of the Queen’s Silver Jubilee. During the event there were various attractions for the visitors including examples of factory equipment in operation, a flower and vegetable show, rides on a miniature railway, games of skittles, electrical items from the employees’ shop, a Red Cross First Aid demonstration, competitions for children and the locomotive ‘Isabel’ was on view.

An operator is pictured by a milling machine during the Open Day. If you recognise the man in the photograph please contact us.

This GEC site was originally the home of W.G. Bagnall Ltd., which was established in 1870 in Castle Street. Bagnall's first locomotive was produced in 1875, the company going on to produce machines for collieries and overseas plantations. Eventually Bagnall's was manufacturing powerful locomotives for some of the world's most important railways.

In 1951 Bagnall's merged with Brush Traction Ltd., and in 1959 the firm was sold to W.H. Dorman Ltd. Two years later they were taken over by the English Electric Co. and production at the Castle Street works ceased. The English Electric Co merged with GEC (The General Electric Company) during 1968 and the site became part of GEC Power Engineering Ltd., known as GEC Castle Engineering Works (or Castle Works).

Over the years the Castle Works Site was controlled by the GEC company management based at the Site Services Division on the Lichfield Road site in Stafford. Some of the buildings at Castle Works were rented / leased out to several organisations including GEC Ceramics (later GEC ALSTHOM Ceramics) and from 1984, Landon Engineering. Also on the site from around 1988 were the WEC and ITeC, these formed part of the Work Experience Centre which offered a range of training facilities for unemployed people and included the YTS (Youth Training Scheme) providing basic skills such as gardening, woodwork, upholstery, information technology and engineering. In later years the site stood empty and during August / September 2013, it was reported in the Staffordshire Newsletter and the Express and Star newspapers that the derelict buildings on the Castle Works site were being demolished to make way for a housing development.

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Creators: Mr Ian Hazlehurst - Contributor

Donor ref:IH-128a (192/41124)

Source: Mr Bob Metcalfe

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