Grace's Guide

British Industrial History

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Birkby's Plastics

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of Liverpool, maker of plastic parts for telephone industry

of Headlands Road, Liversedge.(1981)

1953 Company incorporated to acquire and carry on the business of Birkbys

Specialists in synthetic resin insulation, electrical and electronic and wireless engineers

1958 The last family tie, Freddie Birkby, retired and Birkby’s was sold to its biggest customer - Automatic Telephone and Electric Co. The Birkby name was kept due to its local associations.

Birkby’s expanded with a new thermoplastic moulding shop.

1961 Birkby’s was taken over by the Plessey Co with the rest of Automatic Telephone and Electric Co. This took it into the defence, avionics and electronics industries. The ownership lasted 28 years during which sales increased tenfold.

February 1968, a disastrous fire caused £2.5m worth of damage. Within 48 hours 10 presses were working and whatever work could not be done on site was subcontracted out. A new injection shop was completed by the end of the year with three times the original area.

In the 1970s, 1.8 million telephone sets were produced per year.

1972 Plessey Mouldings and Viking Industrial Plastics formed a joint company, Birkbys Viking, which would operate as an independent company[1]

1975 Viking were bought out by Birkby’s and the company name reverted to Birkby’s Plastics Ltd. The main sales were in telecommunications, as far afield as Nigeria, Saudi Arabia and Hong Kong.

1981 Birkby's Plastics was one of the members of a new management company in Plessey, Plessey Engineering and Components[2]

1980s Birkby’s made major investments in its site, buildings and technology. Its relationship with Ford strengthened, getting all Ford’s instrumentation business. They became pioneers in the use of CAD in the plastic moulding industry.

1989 The company was acquired by GEC Siemens along with the rest of the Plessey Group

1990 Sold to the Marubeni Corporation

See Also


Sources of Information

  1. The Times July 6, 1972
  2. The Times Apr. 28, 1981
  • Companies House filings