The above photo of
Ratby Engineering was taken circa 1970, with the extension to
the Machine shop just
completed. this was just the start of a major redevelopment plan
as can be seen when compared with the photograph below.
The Ratby Engineering works,
Peckleton Common, Leicester. circa
Engineering Company started life in the Leicestershire village
of Ratby from where it took its name. Shortly after the
end of the second World War the company, then owned by the entrepreneurs
Turnbull and Boynton moved into redundant premises adjacent to
the Desford Aerodrome The large hangers together with their support
buildings were previously owned by the Reid and Sigrist Company
who in 1935 set up the site known as Desford Aerodrome to train
civilian pilots.(ref. "Aviation in Leicester and Rutland"
by Roy Bonser)
During the war the site was taken
over by the Air Ministry.
Picture above shows Spitfires
being assembled in one of the large hangers on the Desford site
Photograph taken from the book
"Aviation in Leicestershire
By Roy Bonsor
After the war the aerodrome remained
in use for a while training pilots in single engined "Tigermoths"
In the early 1950's the site was split
up and part of the Reid and Sygrist site was acquired by the Ratby
Engineering Company. I can remember seeing the Reid & Sygrist
sign still painted on the side of the hanger from the school bus
in 1951 but it could have been acquired a few years earlier.
The major part of this 140 acre site
was later to be acquired by the Catapillar Tractor Company, with
Ratby Engineering taking approximately 3 acres to the South .
end of the war saw the British engineering industry in dire need
of revitalization with much of its plant having been worked well
beyond its limit. Ratby Engineering did quite well at this time
reconditioning machine tools. However by the start of the 1950`s
this type of work was becoming scarce and the company began to
struggle to keep afloat,
good fortune, a much needed contract was signed with the "Gestetner"
Company, London, to manufacture and assemble an Offset Duplicating
/ printing machine. This was a high precision, highly mechanized
office unit as shown in the photo below, left. This was a big
boost to R.E. Now with the company on a better financial footing
ownership was acquired by the Lindusties Group who`s diverse interests
included engineering, textiles and plastics. "Lindustries"
were in a good position to invest in new plant and production
soared. Raw materials delivered "Goods Inwards" machined,
assembled and tested, with the finished product crated and dispatched
via ..."Goods Out" .
the height of production over a hundred machines per week were
being produced and delivered to customers.
here -on the company went from strength to strength taking on
new contracts with the Ford Motor Company turning out crank
shafts and clutch units, Seddon Atkinson & York Trailers for
commercial brake drums, plus British Rail motor suspension tubes.
Production also included Ratby`s own design for the manufacture
of the "Porlester" , a trawler fishnet producing machine
shown right in the photo below.
The GESTETNER DUPLICATING MACHINE
PORLESTER FISHNET MACHINE assembled in the Blister
The Image below was taken from a "Lindusties"
quarterly news letter, showing turnover with number of employees
The smaller "HeatingElements"
company, a subsidiary within the Lindustries group was later absorbed
into Ratby Engineering. Likewise the industrial gas installation
company "C. S. Milne" was acquired, as was the "Slydang
Modular Bench Company". This continued expansion necessitated
the need for an ongoing building program. A new office Block was
built, an extension to the Fitting Shop together with a new Tool
Room, etc. etc.
At its height Ratby Engineering employed
over 430 personal and had a turnover of £3.9MSome time later
the Lindustries group came under the wing of Hanson Trust P.L.C.
who held the company for several years
But fortunes change, output and profits
began to fall. In 1982 Ratby Engineering was acquired by a independent
company owned by Mr.`s Emmit & Stoddard, the future appeared
Transfer of the
Ratby Engineering business to
& Mr Stoddard dated 22
/ 2/ 1982
However the later part of the 1980`s saw a
massive decline in output, electronic digital printing saw the
demise of the mechanical Gestetner printing machine. The motor
commercial industry was placing more and more contracts abroad
and Heating Elements ceased trading. So it was in 1993 that Ratby
Engineering Company was wound up. The land and buildings were
sold to a development company and the remnant of Ratby Engineering
as such, was confined to a small rented unit within the site.
So ended this local engineering company, going like so many
others involved in manufacture.
1993 Sale of machine
Note..... The two items pictured
below on the right show that Ratby Engineering also had a active
social side where members could obtain heavily discounted