of Century Works, Lewisham, London, SE
Elliott Brothers (London) Ltd was a long established electrical instruments company which played an early role in the development of computers in the United Kingdom,
c1802 Company founded by William Elliott in Tash Street, Gray's Inn, London as a maker of drawing instruments.
By 1807 the business had been moved to a shop and workshop in High Holborn.
1816 Listed as a manufacturer of telescopes and barometers, etc.
1830 The company moved to 56, Strand, London.
c1850 William took his sons, Frederick Henry Elliott, and Charles Alfred Elliott into partnership. The company began to manufacture instruments for surveying, for railways (e.g. steam pressure indicators) and scientific instruments of all kinds.
1857 Took over the business of Watkins and Hill
1859 Patent. '2787. To Frederick Henry Elliott and Charles Alfred Elliott, of the Strand, in the city of Westminster, Mathematical Instrument Makers, for the invention of "an improved method of preventing drawing boards and other flat wooden surfaces from warping or twisting, and of adding to the strength thereof."'
1860 Patent. '2631. To Frederick Henry Elliott, of the Strand, in the county of Middlesex, Mathematical Instrument Maker, for the invention of "an improved case for aneroid barometers for marine purposes."'
1868 Patent. '889. To Frederick Henry Elliott and Charles Alfred Elliott, of the Strand, in the county of Middlesex, Opticians, for the invention of "improvements in telescopes."— A communication to them from abroad by Pierre Gabriel Bardou and Denis Albert Bardou, both of Paris, France.'
1870 Partnership dissolved. '...the Partnership heretofore subsisting between us the undersigned, Frederick Henry Elliott, and Charles Alfred Elliott, as Opticians, at No 449, Strand, in the county of Middlesex, under the style or firm of Elliott Brothers, has been this day dissolved by mutual consent...' Charles Alfred Elliott leaves the partnership.
1871 Employing 150 men under Frederick Henry Elliott.
1876 Established a works in St. Martin's Lane to produce telegraphic equipment
1877 Frederick Henry Elliott dies and his wife Susan continues the business bringing in Willoughby Smith,the well known telegraph engineer, as a partner
1880 Susan Elliott died and control passed to Willoughby Smith. This was the end of the Elliott family connection with the business. Smith placed his son William Oliver Smith to run the business and another son Willoughby Statham Smith as a manager in the company
1881 Won a gold medal at the 1881 Paris Exhibition
1889 Produced 'an improved indication piston'. Company described as 'the well-known opticians'. 
1900 The company moved to new premises: Century Works, Connington Road, Lewisham. Began making speedometers and instruments for ships and aircraft. Employing around 300 persons at this time.
1902 Warrant to use the Royal Arms. Elliott Brothers of London - Opticians.
1909 H. E. Wimperis introduces an accelerometer to the company
1912 Supplied flight instrument panel for use in Army aircraft.
1914 Electrical and mechanical engineers. Specialities: ships' logs, gyro-compasses for use on battleships, Wimperis accelerometers and gradometers, all kinds of speed indicators, recorders and switchboard instruments, telegraph apparatus etc. Employees 400 to 500. 
1916 Private company.
1920 Jan. Physical and Optical Societies Exhibition. Exhibitor of electrical instruments. 
1937 Electrical and mechanical instrument makers. 
WWII Manufactured parts for the De Havilland Mosquito
1945 Company went public.
1946 Research laboratories were set up at Borehamwood by Professor John Flavell Coales.
1946 Elliott Bros and B. and P. Swift were allocated space in the Shorts' factory at Rochester. Elliotts would employ about 500 on all types of electrical and mechanical precision instruments. Swifts will employ about 450 on automatic scales, gears and hydraulic pumps.
1946 Elliott Brothers' research laboratories, at Borehamwood, were set up in 1946. The first Elliott 152 computer appeared in 1950.
1947 The company merged with the weighing machine manufacturers B. and P. Swift; Leon Bagrit, founder of B and P Swift, became joint managing director of Elliott Bros. The company began to manufacture computers and flight automation equipment (made at Rochester).
1950 The first Elliott 152 computer appeared in 1950.
1950 Elliott Automation formed.
1953 Elliott Aviation formed at Borehamwood
1953 After a difficult few years post-war, whilst the company was being redirected from armaments work to civilian products, Elliott Brothers had made profits in 1951 and 1952. It now took the opportunity to raise funds for investment with the issue of new shares. It was noted that Bendix Aviation Corporation had recently subscribed for shares at twice the par value..
1954 Elliott Brothers acquired the Bristol Instrument Co.
1957 Elliott Automation issued shares to the shareholders of Elliott Brothers and Associated Automation to effect a merger of the 2 companies, forming 'the largest automation and instrumentation company in Europe'. Elliott Brothers continued to exist as a subsidiary company of Elliott Automation Group . Leon Bagrit became deputy chairman and managing director.
1958 Associated Insulation Products subsidiary sold to Associated Electrical Industries (AEI).
1959 Elliott Nucleonics Ltd formed as subsidiary company.
1960 The computer scientist, Sir Tony Hoare, was an employee from August 1960 for 8 years. He wrote an ALGOL 60 compiler for the Elliott 803 and also worked on an operating system (Elliott 503 Mark II), although this was less successful and abandoned along with "over thirty man-years of programming effort."
1961 Electrical and mechanical engineers, manufacturing fire control apparatus, precision and electronic equipment for H.M. Ships and instruments and equipment for aircraft. Commercial products include measuring and control instruments, control valves weighing and food preparing machinery and hydraulic pumps. 5,500 employees. 
1962 Leon Bagrit knighted.
1963 John Lansdown pioneered the use of computers as an aid to planning; making perspective drawings on an Elliott 803 computer, modeling a building's lifts and services, plotting the annual fall of daylight across its site, as well as authoring his own computer aided design applications.
1964 Two new management divisions formed - Mechanical Automation and Elliott-Automation Nucleonics - bringing the total to 14 business divisions in the Group.
1967, in the first deal arranged by the Industrial Reorganization Corporation, English Electric Co took over Elliott Automation to form the leading European group in computing and process control.
1968 Supplied plug stringers for the Winfrith power station. 
1968 English Electric Computers Ltd was taken over by International Computers and Tabulators (ICT); this marriage was forced by the British Government, who believed that the UK required a strong national computer company. The combined company was called International Computers Ltd (ICL). English Electric Co retained the military and industrial automation activities of its Marconi and Elliott Automation subsidiaries .
1968 GEC took over English Electric Co
1969 GEC reorganised the businesses it had acquired from Elliott Automation, English Electric Co, AEI and Marconi. In electronics, GEC-Marconi Electronics was created with 4 subidiaries Marconi-Elliott Avionics Systems Limited, GEC-Elliott Space and Weapons Systems, Marconi Communications Systems and Marconi Radar Systems . GEC-Elliott Automation Ltd comprised the automation and control activities of the predecessor companies.
Sources of Information
- Abstract of Records held at Lewisham Local Studies and Archives, displayed at National Archives
-  Gazette Issue 22339 published on the 23 December 1859. Page 7 of 36
-  Gazette Issue 22445 published on the 9 November 1860. Page 26 of 48
-  Gazette Issue 23174 published on the 19 October 1866. Page 15 of 64
-  Gazette Issue 23379 published on the 15 May 1868. Page 68 of 124
-  Gazette Issue 23637 published on the 26 July 1870. Page 17 of 40
- 1871 Census
-  Gazette Issue 24036 published on the 18 November 1873. Page 25 of 92
- The Engineer of 3rd May 1889 p383
-  Gazette Issue 26241 published on the 5 January 1892. Page 25 of 68
-  Gazette Issue 27512 published on the 2 January 1903. Page 13 of 104
- 1914 Whitakers Red Book
- The Engineer of 16th Jan 1920 p62
- 1937 The Aeroplane Directory of the Aviation and Allied Industries
- The Times, 4 October 1946
- The Times, 11 May 1953
- The Times, 8 October 1957
- 1961 Dun and Bradstreet KBE
- The Engineer of 8th March 1968 p399
- The Times, 22 March 1968
- The Times, 8 August 1969
- The Times, 27 November 1969