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British Industrial History

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British Insulated and Helsby Cables

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of Prescot and Helsby.

1890 The company had its origins in 1890 in the British Insulated Wire Co (BIWC) of Prescot, near Liverpool.

1897 The company was registered on April 28th, as the British Insulated Wire Co, Ltd. to take over the business of the company of the same name, registered October 20th 1890. [1]

1902 The name was changed to the British Insulated and Helsby Cables after the amalgamation of the British Insulated Wire Co Ltd and the Telegraph Manufacturing Co Ltd.

1908 Displayed a hand lamp, developed to meet recommendations for improved safety of such lamps, at the Manchester Electrical Exhibition[2].

1914 Manufacturers of electrical cables and accessories for all purposes. Specialities: overhead material for electrical traction, lighting and power distribution, electric welders, paper pinions, annealing furnaces etc., condensers, primary batteries, wood or steel telegraph poles, motor car tyres and inner tubes, golf balls etc., mining exploders, portable hand lamps. [3]

1920 Jan. Issued catalogue of cables and accessories. [4]

1920. Cables, fuses, terminal, junction boxes, switches, insulators, electric welding machines, compressed paper pinions, and other electrical products. [5]

1922 Removed their London office from Lennox House to Surrey House.[6]


1923 Visit of the Institution of Electrical Engineers: 1923 Review

"The works of British Insulated and Helsby Cables, Limited, which wore established in 1891, and which were visited on Thursday, June 7th, are situated at Prescot, a few miles from Liverpool, and are admirably equipped for the manufacture of paper-insulated cables. The works stretch from Prescot railway station entrance northward in the shape of a fan, and adjoining the offices is an old export department, which is now used mainly for the unloading goods received, the department being equipped with three overhead travelling cranes, each having a lifting capacity of 15 tons. At the point where the old factory joins the new factory are the scrap copper melting furnaces, where the scrap copper is baled under hydraulic pressure, melted and run into billets with chamfered ends for easy introduction into the reduction rolls. Read More


1924 Annual meeting told about companies in which British Insulated and Helsby had interests, namely The Midland Electric Corporation, the Electric Supply Company of Victoria, and the Automatic Telephone Manufacturing Co[7].

1925 British Insulated and Helsby Cables Limited (BIHC) changed its name to the British Insulated Cables Ltd. (BIC).

1927 According to Aberconway: The British Insulated and Helsby Cable Co makes all types of insulated and armoured electric cables. The Company is one of the three outstanding British firms engaged on this class of work, and has a successful record extending over a long period. It carries out some of the largest contracts for underground cables for electrical distribution. The capital is £2,000,000. The firm employs 4,000 men, and has established for its own use works for copper and aluminium wire drawing, and iron and non-ferrous metal foundries[8].

1945 British Insulated Cables merged with Callenders Cable and Construction Co to form BICC.


Dane Sinclair was Chairman for a long period prior to 1930, when Sir Alexander Roger, a financial wizard, succeeded him. Roger and his financial manager, William H. McFadzean, organised the key merger with Callenders in 1945.


See Also

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Sources of Information

  1. The Stock Exchange Year Book 1908
  2. The Times, 28 October 1908
  3. 1914 Whitakers Red Book
  4. The Engineer of 9th Jan 1920 p53
  5. The Engineer of 10th December 1920 p597
  6. The Engineer 1922/07/14.
  7. The Times, 25 March 1924
  8. The Basic Industries of Great Britain by Aberconway: Chapter IX: Part 3|Aberconway