Woods of Colchester
A Selection of Old Photographs
Do you recognise anybody?
A 40th Anniversary Party.
A sales team picture. 1. Jim Wild, 2. Mike Johnson, 3 Tony Potter, 5, Fred Roscoe, 6 Keith Simpson, 7 David Andrews, 8 John Harrison?, 9 Alan Butcher, 10 John Cave, 12 Harry Urquhart, 13 David Kettle, 14 Richard Staines, 15 John Purcell, 16 Colin Humphries, 17 Keith Hammond, 18 Alf Wakeling, 19 Danny Bell.
Although Alan Butcher gives us - Left to right, Jim Wild, Paul Riley, John Cave, David Kettle, Richard Staines, Fred Roscoe, Dan Bell, Keith Hammond, Colin Humphries.
David Priest kneeling dark suit, Digger Kettle two to his left
Is that John Purcell far right? Brian Cranfield is second from right.
David Priest unveils the George Cuthew centre
A new building going up. September 1937.
Office block, A and B block, Tuffnel Way
The development laboratory added in C block 1958
C and D block added c1972
Gate Lodge. Alf Boggis
Sales team. Peter McCarthy, Adrian Hill, Rolf Beggerow, late 1970s.
MD far right, Andrew Martin. Frank Coles. Kit Bush with moustache.
X Ray. Peter Hillier, Kit Bush.
Kit Bush, Sydney Burrells
Duct Shop. Frank Coles.
A varofoil hub under scrutiny c1975
Dennis King 4th from left, Andrew Martin far right.
Duct Shop. Jim Rochester.
Philip Alston in the Dev Lab during an open day with an 800mm varofoil being demonstrated. Also Paul Dines holding a piece of paper and then Graham Baldwin far right.
Interior of mobile exhibition bus. October 1958. K Finch facing us.
I see Scott Comiskey in the middle of the group. Mick Norrington to the right.
Ken Rycraft in white coat
In the Sound Room
Bill Woods-Ballard centre, Bill Deeprose, Andrew Martin
WTEC Course IV Buffet Supper 1st May 1962
Varofoil assembly shop
WTEC. Third-course students talk to Mr G Woods. See Fanfare 1962. Is that Bill Donnison far left?
Miss E Stringer, housekeeper at Lexden Rise with Mr Geoffrey Woods, Diector and Chairman of Woods of Colchester Ltd.
Mr M P O’Leary of Leeds Branch being presented with his diploma at WTEC 10th April 1963
Geoffrey Woods addresses students Feb 1962
Gold Watch Presentation Dinner 22nd March 1957. A R (Reg) Smith, W H (Bill) Wayne, A Joy, J Hippesley, Mr Geoffrey Woods, Bill Sutton, A C (Albert) Pallant, F Manning, H V (Vic) Cole, W F Clark
Presentation Night for Course VII at WTEC, 26th October 1963. Front Row – E A Cousins, Geoffrey Woods, R Stuart, A Rawlings, A C Smith, Roland Smith.
Refresher course at WTEC. J C Llewellyn, Ray C Dick, G S Wright, H Clark, F A Stokes, F A Faulkner, G Vaughan, J P Bell, Henry C Nicoll, P Bisson, K Finch, L Moran. November 1962
Refresher course 3, November 1962 with P A Hirst, B L Hoyes, D I Masterman, Lance M Conabeare, B R Newby, H E Clarke, T Lindsey, A R Sales, D B Brinkley, T E Michell, S Murrey, D H Charles.
Denmark Street. A presentation ceremony of a clock and a teapot, to workers at Woods of Colchester, Denmark Street, Colchester. Note the gentleman in 'plus fours' who was Geoffrey Woods’ brother Cyril Handscomb Woods and who was financial director until the war and was ordained into the church of England. Maurice Walter Woods (Maurice Geoffrey Woods, later known simply as Geoffrey Woods, is NOT in the picture) is standing to the right of the chap holding the teapot. In April 2012, we heard from Annette Lewis, who has lived in the USA since 1973. She told us that,
'My grandfather, Frank Overton Parker, is the man on the left of the grandmother clock. The clock was presented to him as a retirement gift. I do not know the year but my grandfather was 48 years old. He had been manager of Woods for some years. The two Woods sons came into the business at that point and they did not see things as my grandfather did, so he was persuaded to retire. I do not know what pension he was given but he never did work again. I have a copy of this photograph. I do not recognize the teapot so perhaps that was given to someone else. The clock stood in the hall of my grandparents' house for as long as they lived. I do not know the date of his death but believe it was in the 1950's. My mother was Frank's middle daughter and she died just short of age 101 this February'.
Frank Overton Parker was born in 1881, so if this picture was taken when he was 48, it is therefore dated 1929.
The above picture is believed to be that of the workforce of M Woods Electrical Engineers of Denmark Street, Colchester, the company that went on to become Woods of Colchester. The date would be around 1915. 60
Roy Stebbing. Fettling
Assembly Shop. Ken Bloomfield (a goalie)
Press Shop. August 1956
Press Shop August 1956
Roy Mann, Press Shop, 31st August 1959
Spinning. August 1956
New D Block for quantity production of the 6 inch Xpelair. Presses.
Reg Gainsford, later a supervisor
Bill Jennings in white coat
Final test and inspection. Dick Sadler?
Woods float at carnival procession 1961.
A touch of glamour. Six candidates for Colchester Carnival Queen 1961.
Wendy Meadows of the Winding Shop, and Christine Risley (later Runnacles), shorthand typist at Airwoods in attendance to Christine Loughton? (not of Woods). See Fanfare July 1962.
A favourite of somebody’s as we have various pictures of her tantalising with her robe. Who are you beautiful lady?
November 1956. Mobile exhibition.
The following two pictures came from the family of Mr G Allen, later a Woods Foreman.
G Allen in the foundry in 1948, with ladle, second bay from top.
G Allen as a foreman, chats to students.
How about a few of Wood’s apprentices?
1 David Newton, 2 John Boyt, 3 Paul Wendon, 4 Paul Cherry, 5 Graham Baldwin, 6 Neil Kidman, 7 Martyn Pitcher, 8 Ian Wilcoxson, 9 Peter Nice, 10 Neil MacGregor, 11 Roger Smith, 12 Scott Comiskey, 13 Kevin Read, 14 ?, 15 Michael Nolan, 16, Philip Alson, 17 Steve Knowles, 18 Geoff Ward, 19 Steve Went, 20 David Sawkins, 21 Peter Chisnall, 22 Steve Marchant, 23 Terry Hardwick, 24 Alan Butcher, 25 Mike Page, 26 Keith Simpson, 27 Paul Mason, 28, Ian Buckley, 29 Graham Curd, 30 Steve Turner, 31 Paul Appleton, 32 Peter Hunnaball, 33 ?, 34 ?, 35 Andy Trill, 36 Steve Peck, 37 Lionel Wright, 38 Russell Aubin, 39 Mark Gallifant, 40 Neil Hopkins, 41 Gary Crampin, 42 Colin Wood, 43 ?, 44 ?, 45 Steve Cooper, 46 Mick Brown, 47 John Bibby, 48 ?, 49 Ian Merchant
What was this occasion Charlie Bell and Les Enifer and who were all the others?
A little history of Woods of Colchester.
1909 Maurice Woods forms a company in Colchester producing single phase motors to suit the various different voltages in use.
The Woods family comprised Thomas Woods who was born in 1830 in Middlesex, later to become a provision merchant living at Gresham House, 3 Balham Park Road, London. He and his wife Jane produced at least six children, one of whom was Maurice Walter Woods, born in 1866. The 1871 census shows the family living only two households away from Sir William Fothergill-Cooke (1806 – 1879), famous for his partnership with Charles Wheatstone and their work on, amongst other things, electrical telegraphy. It seems quite likely that young Maurice developed his interest in electrical equipment by association with his neighbour. Perhaps a fatherly interest by Sir Charles in a young, eager to learn, young man, living nearby. We know that Maurice had opened a factory in Colchester by 1909, the 1911 census telling us that he was an employer and an ‘Electrical Engineer (manufacturer of electric driven ventilating fans and electric motors)’. He and his wife Edith Augusta produced five children, one of whom was Maurice Geoffrey Woods, born in 1902.
1937 By this time Maurice’s son Geoffrey has taken charge of Woods (1935), which now employs about 100 people. Being ambitious, the company is soon employing 360 people. A picture in our collection shows the new factory that was built at Braiswick, whilst the Denmark Street works were kept on until the 1970s.
1945 GEC invests sufficient capital to gain controlling interest in Woods.
1964: GEC plc takes complete control of Woods by buying-out the rest of the Woods family.
1986: The American Fan Company is purchased by GEC and joins the Woods ‘family’.
1998: Name Change - From July 1998 Woods of Colchester is now known as Woods Air Movement Limited.
2000: Marconi announces the sale of Woods Air Movement to Global Air Movement Holdings Limited a company formed by Compass Capital Partners
If you can help us with any identifications of these pictures please contact Camulos at:
9th January 2014
updated 8th October 2014