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Industrial Railways: misc_indust217

View of the Austin factory  at Longbridgecirca 1908 as seen from the Midland Railway Birmingham to Gloucester route

View of the Austin factory at Longbridge circa 1908 as seen from the Midland Railway Birmingham to Gloucester route. One of the land marks of South Works was the brick water tower, once emblazoned with the company's name and later with its stylised flying 'A' symbol. it was in 1909 that planning application was submitted for a paint shop. The timber sheds were another early Austin investment, located in the south east corner of the site; planks of ash were stacked behind slatted wooden screens to aid the drying out of the sap. Before the First World War there was no need for a metal press shop since the body panels were made of aluminium and could be beaten into shape by hand on a workbench. The expansion of Longbridge proceeded apace, with just 2.5 acres and 270 employed in 1906, in 1910 it covered 4 acres and employed 1,000. More planning applications were submitted so that by about 1912 the following had been agreed Works Additions, Loading Dock Cover, Motor Body & Paint Shop, Photographic Room and Two-Storey Building etc. It was stated that the main machine shops covered an area of 47,000 square feet, and were situated in the centre of the Works. Machines include millers, driffters, turret lathes, boring drilling, profiling and grinding machines and automatic tools of various descriptions. All the finished parts were checked for accuracy and interchangeabilately in an adjacent View Room.

John Baker

BMIHT A153929