English Electric

English Electric

Infobox Defunct Company
company_name = English Electric
fate = Acquired by GEC
foundation = 1918
defunct = 1968
location = Lancashire
headquartered at Strand, London
successor = BAC
subsid= Napier & Son (1942-)
The Marconi Company (1948-)
Vulcan Foundry (1955-)
Robert Stephenson and Hawthorns (1955-)
English Electric Aviation (1958-)
English Electric Leo Marconi (1964-)
English Electric [cite book |last= Gunston |first= Bill |coauthors= |title= World Encyclopedia of Aircraft Manufacturers, 2nd Edition |year= 2005 |publisher= Sutton Publishing Limited |location= Phoenix Mill, Gloucestershire, England, UK |isbn= 0-7509-3981-8 |pages= 164 ] (EE) was a British industrial manufacturer. Founded in 1918, it initially specialised in industrial electric motors and transformers. Its activities would expand to include railway locomotives and traction equipment, steam turbines, consumer electronics, guided missiles, aircraft and computers.

Although only a handful of aircraft designs were produced under the English Electric name, two would become landmarks in British aeronautical engineering; the Canberra and the Lightning. English Electric Aircraft would become a founding member of the British Aircraft Corporation in 1960 with the other industrial operations acquired by General Electric Company in 1968.


In Dick, Kerr & Co., a partnership of Glaswegian merchants W. B. Dick and John Kerr, acquired the United Electric Car Company, a trams manufacturer of Preston, Lancashire. In 1918, The English Electric Company, Limited (EE) was formed. In 1918 and 1919, EE took over Dick, Kerr & Co., Willans & Robinson of Rugby and the Phoenix Dynamo Manufacturing Company of Bradford. It also bought the Stafford works of Siemens Bros, Dynamo Works Ltd. In 1930, the manufacture of electrical equipment was moved to Bradford; tram, bus body and rolling stock production staying at Preston. That same year, the man most associated with EE, George Nelson, became managing director.


During the 1930s, EE supplied equipment for the electrification of the Southern Railway system, reinforcing its position in the traction market. In 1936, production of diesel locomotives commenced in the former tramworks in Preston. EE took over Vulcan Foundry and Robert Stephenson and Hawthorns, both with substantial railway engineering pedigrees, in 1955. On January 6 1968, one of the EE's 120-ton electrical transformers was the cause of the Hixon rail crash as it was being transported at convert|2|mph|km/h|abbr=on|lk=on|0 across the level crossing at Hixon, Staffordshire.cite book | last=Ministry of Transport | year=1968 | title=Report of the Public Inquiry into the Accident at Hixon Level Crossing on January 6, 1968 | publisher= HMSO | id=ISBN 0-10-137060-1 | url=http://www.railwaysarchive.co.uk/docSummary.php?docID=74 ]


Both Dick, Kerr & Co. and the Phoenix Dynamo Manufacturing Company built aircraft in the First World War, including flying boats designed by the Seaplane Experimental Station at Felixstowe, 62 Short Type 184 and 6 Short Bombers designed by Short Brothers. Aircraft manufacture under the EE name began in Bradford in 1922 with the English Electric Wren, but lasted only until 1926 after the last English Electric Kingston flying boat was built.

With War in Europe looming, EE was instructed by the Air Ministry to construct a "shadow factory" at Samlesbury Aerodrome in Lancashire to build Handley Page Hampden bombers. Starting with Flight Shed Number 1, the first Hampden built by EE made its maiden flight on 22 February 1940 and by 1942 770 Hampdens had been delivered; more than half of all the Hampdens produced. In 1940 a second factory was built on the site and the runway was extended to allow for construction of the Handley Page Halifax four-engined heavy bomber to begin. By 1945, five main hangars and three runways had been built at the site, which was also home to No. 9 Group RAF. By the end of the war over 2,000 Halifaxes had been built and flown from Samlesbury.

In 1942, EE took over Napier & Son, an aero-engine manufacturer. Along with the shadow factory, this helped to re-establish the company's aeronautical engineering division. Post-war, EE invested heavily in this sector, moving design and experimental facilities to the former RAF Warton near Preston in 1947. This investment lead to major successes with the Lightning and Canberra; the latter serving in a multitude of roles from 1951 until mid-2006 with the Royal Air Force.

At the end of the war EE started production of the second British jet fighter, the de Havilland Vampire, with 1,300 plus built at Samlesbury. Their own design work took off after the Second World War under W. E. W. Petter, formerly of Westland Aircraft. Although EE produced only two aircraft before their activities became part of BAC, the design team put forward suggestions for many Air Ministry projects.

The aircraft division was formed into the subsidiary English Electric Aviation Ltd. in 1958, becoming a founding constituent of the new British Aircraft Corporation (BAC) in 1960; EE having a 40% stake in the latter company. The guided weapons division was added to BAC in 1963.

Mergers and acquisition

In 1946, EE took over the Marconi Company, a foray into the domestic consumer electronic market. EE tried to take over one of the other major British electrical companies, the General Electric Company (GEC), in 1960 and in 1963 EE and J. Lyons and Co. formed a jointly-owned company - English Electric LEO Company - to manufacture the LEO Computer developed by Lyons.EE took over Lyons' half-stake in 1964 and merged it with Marconi's computer interests to form English Electric Leo Marconi (EELM). The latter was merged with Elliott Automation and International Computers and Tabulators (ICT) to form International Computers Limited (ICL) in 1967. In 1968, GEC, recently merged with Associated Electrical Industries (AEI) merged with EE; the former being the dominant parter, the English Electric name was then lost.



*Wren (1923)
*Ayr (1923)
*Kingston (1924)
*Canberra (1949)
*English Electric P1A (Lightning prototype)
*Lightning (1954)


*English Electric DEUCE (1955)
*English Electric KDF6
*English Electric KDF8
*English Electric KDF9 (1960)
*English Electric System 4 (1965) - the System 4-50 and System 4-70 were essentially RCA Spectra 70 clones of the IBM System /360 range.

Guided weapons

*Thunderbird (1959) - surface-to-air missile
*Blue Water (cancelled 1962) - short-range ballistic missile


*A13 Covenanter
*A33 Excelsior

Railways & traction


*English Electric 6SRKT diesel
*English Electric 8svt [diesel]
*English Electric 12svt [diesel]
*English Electric 12csvt [diesel]
*English Electric 12CSV [diesel]
*English Electric 16svt
*English Electric 16csvt

Locomotives and multiple units

*British Rail Class 08
*British Rail Class 09
*British Rail Class 11
*British Rail Class 12
*British Rail Class 13
*English Electric Type 1 (British Rail Class 20)
*British Rail Class 23
*British Rail Class 31 Brush Type 3 (Built by Brush with a Mireless Power Unit... Later re-engined with a E.E. 12svt)
*English Electric Type 3 (British Rail Class 37)
*British Rail Class 40
*English Electric Type 4 (British Rail Class 50)
*English Electric Type 5 (British Rail Class 55)
*British Rail Class 73, components assembled by BR.
*British Rail Class 83
*British Rail Class 86
*British Rail Class 487
*British Rail D0226
*Diesel Prototype 1 or "Deltic" led to the Class 55
*British Rail DP2Class 55 body, re-engined with a E.E. 16csvt, led to the British Rail Class 50
*British Rail GT3
*CP Class 1400
*CP Class 1800
*Japanese ED17 electric locomotive
*Keretapi Tanah Melayu Class 15 shunter
*Keretapi Tanah Melayu Class 20
*Keretapi Tanah Melayu Class 22
*Nigerian Class 1001
*NIR 1 Class
*NS 500 Class
*NS 600 Class
*NZR DE class
*NZR DF class
*NZR DG class
*NZR DI class
*NZR DM class
*NZR EC class
*NZR ED class (One, with components for a further nine supplied to NZR)
*NZR E class (battery electric)
*NZR EO class
*NZR EW class
*PKP class EU06
*QR 1200 Class
*QR 1250 Class
*QR 1270 Class
*QR 1300 Class
*QR 2350 Class
*TGR X class
*TGR Y class (suppled parts local construction)
*Victorian Railways L class

Theres a fotopic site, dedicated to the British Rail English Electric Diesel Locomotives. Click the link below. [http://www.englishelectriclocos.fotopic.net English Electric Locos.fotopic.net]


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