Grace's Guide is the leading source of historical information on industry and manufacturing in Britain. This web publication contains 133,740 pages of information and 211,890 images on early companies, their products and the people who designed and built them.
of Victoria Works, West Bromwich and Australia House, Strand, London, WC2. Telephone: West Bromwich 0431; London Temple Bar 4803/4. Telegraphic Address: "Brockhouse, West Bromwich"; "Brockhouse, Estrand, London"
Maker of vehicle axles and springs. Main works and head office in West Bromwich, a branch in Wolverhampton and a branch in Wednesfield, with 26 companies in the group around the world.
1886 Company founded by John Brockhouse
1888 Brockhouse was able to build his own premises, next to J. and J. Siddons, in Howard Street, West Bromwich.
1893 John Thomas Brockhouse entered the business
1896 The firm was turned into a limited company but it continued to be run by John Brockhouse and his Sons.
1897 Brockhouse added axles to his repertoire and built new premises known as the Victoria Works.
1898 Public company. The company was registered on 28 February, to acquire a business of coach spring manufacturers. 
The company's first acquisition was Lones, Vernon and Holden, which concentrated on railway work. During the first half of the twentieth century the company expanded rapidly by taking over numerous other firms, including R. Disturnal and Co.
1911 Of John's sons, Henry Brockhouse, was company secretary; another son, Frederick Brockhouse, was works manager; Arthur was a coach spring fitter and Frank was a foreman in the works
1914 Manufacturers of Axles and Ironwork including Motor, Carriage and Van Springs. Employees 700. 
WWI. They seem to have been helped by having "a good war".
1918 Frederick Brockhouse died
1921 Henry Brockhouse died
1922 The company was particularly successful with John Brockhouse continuing as Managing Director almost until his death, aged 79; one of his surviving sons, John Thomas Brockhouse, took over.
1927 Brockhouse offered a spring repair service by R. Berry and Son, James Leach (of Leeds) and Taylor's Spring Co of Wednesbury; also windscreen repair and replacement by Joseph Gibson and Co (see advert)
By 1930 principal subsidiaries were:
1936 Acquired District Iron and Steel Co of Smethwick whose premises were next door to Brockhouse's laminated springs and railway equipment business unit and Dawkins Enamels and Foundry Co of Wednesfield, which became Brockhouse Castings Ltd
1937 Listed Exhibitor - British Industries Fair. Drop forgings for Railway Work, Tramway, and Shipbuilding and General engineering requirements. Speciality: Stanchions. (Stand Nos. D.518, Ca.909 and Ca.808). 
1937 Acquired Vulcan Motor and Engineering Co of Southport which would be used for general engineering  but sold the rights to the motor vehicle side of the business. Profits doubled that year. Acquisitions included the Lewin Road Sweeper, Piercy and Co of Birmingham, R. J. Hunt and Son, ironfounders of Kings Norton, and the Vitreous Enamelling Co; taken an interest in the Fluvario Self priming pump for cars; sold Albion Drop Forgings Co; introduced employee profit sharing scheme
WWII Delivered a variety of products to the war effort. The company continued with increasing success but with a weather eye on the need for returning to civilian work when peace came. Dividends were maintained and a rights issue made in 1940 (one of the few).
1943 Acquired Ernest Lake Ltd of Bishop's Stortford, owners of Harvey Frost Ltd, makers of garage equipment, jacks and vulcanizing equipment, which would complement existing parts of the group. Acquired Meldrums Ltd of Timperley, makers of stokers, etc; and John Brooks (Lye) Ltd, maker of anvils and vices. As part of plans for post-war business, the company had developed a new range of municipal vehicles under the Lewin brand, and a hydraulic transmission system for use in all types of self-propelled vehicles. Had built 2 prototype prefabricated buildings
1944 Formed a subsidiary to handle the business in prefabricated buildings, which became Brockhouse Steel Structures
1944 Mr J. T. Brockhouse died
1944 The Brockhouse Group consisted of 24 engineering companies and works. The firms they took over included those making springs and axles but also many others so that, by the second half of the twentieth century, they were a conglomerate.
After WWII J. Brockhouse and Co acquired the Sunbeam and Karrier trolley bus business from Rootes
At Wolverhampton the company occupied the Elms works on Penn Road, which had originally been built for Sunbeam. When they moved there is not known, nor whether they took over Elm Works directly from Sunbeam.
At Elm Works the company mainly made machine tools. In successive editions of the Wolverhampton Official Handbook they listed the products of this works as: high grade machine tools, automatic injection moulding machines, die casting machines, gear cutting machines, lathes, slideway grinding unit heads, keyseating, milling and broaching machines. At this works they also did complete overhauls of all classes of machine tools; and their drawing office also carried out design work for other companies.
1947 Commenced bus-body building
1952 The US subsidiary, the Indian motorcycle company, again incurred a loss which could only be offset against tax on future profits in USA. Acquired W. E. Cramp and Sons of Tipton, makers of ball bearings
1955 The Southport factory had not been profitable since WWII and was closed; a new machine shop was established at West Bromwich to manufacture hydraulic transmissions. An arrangement had been made with Enfield Cycle Co to manufacture the Indian motorcycle at a new factory at Boston in the UK for export to USA
1960 Significant rise in profits due to general engineering trade despite drop in demand for automotive components
1961 Trailer manufacturers; drop forgers; ironfounders; springs and tool makers. Makers of Sweepmaster, Mechanical Orderly, Universal, Tractor Drawn road sweeper collectors; axles; Brockhouse Bulldog range of grates; U bolts and spring brackets; coupling equipment; machined components; fully automatic pressure jet oil burners for light and heavy oils; welded plate fabrications; general assembly work; spray painting and stove enamelling; degreasing and bonderising. 4,300 employees. 
1962 Moving to more complicated engineering products which offered higher rewards although cost more and took longer than the company's conventional products to develop
The head office was at West Bromwich.
1969 Rising inflation made it difficult to keep prices ahead of costs so profits fell
1970 Rebound in profits
1976 Name changed to Brockhouse
2008 The company is still on the same 5.5 acre site in Howard Street, West Bromwich, to which it moved in 1888. (03/08)