Sir Alfred Herbert (1866-1957) of Alfred Herbert Ltd.
1866 Alfred Edward Herbert was born the second son of William Herbert, building contractor and farmer, and his wife, Sarah Anne, née Thompson. The extent of the Herbert family fortune was considerable. His father, in addition to owning a town house in a salubrious area of Leicester, was the largest landowner in the parish of Whetstone, south of Leicester. His elder brother was William Henry Herbert.
Alfred Herbert was educated at Stoneygate Private School, and was destined for University and/or parsonage, until he met up with an old school friend William Hubbard, who worked on a lathe at J. Jessop and Son in Leicester. Herbert was fascinated by what the small lathe produced, so he persuaded his father to let him follow his friend's example. Subsequently he became an apprentice at Jessops.
1887 he became the manager of Coles and Matthews of The Butts, Coventry (where his brother William Henry Herbert was a director), and began producing machinery for the cycle trade, with guaranteed orders from the Premier Cycle Co that his brother owned.
1888 the firm was offered to Herbert for the price of £2,375 and he immediately entered into partnership with a former school friend and fellow apprentice, William Sammons Hubbard, under the name of Herbert and Hubbard, making boilers and general engineering equipment. The fathers of each of the two men provided their sons with a capital of £2000 each. Initially, production concentrated on ploughing tackle and steam rollers but moved very swiftly to making machine tools and tubing directed at the cycle trade
By 1894 Herbert had bought out Hubbard, who left the business, which was turned into a limited liability company Alfred Herbert Ltd. Alfred became the managing Director while his older brother was Chairman of the company.
1910, on the death of his brother William, he became chairman.
1957 Alfred Herbert died on 5th June 1957
1957 Obituary Died aged 90 years. Born 5th September 1866 the son of William Herbert of Leicester. Awarded K.B.E. in 1917. Married Ellen Ryley in 1889, Florence Pepper in 1913 and Marion Fraser in 1933.
The Alfred Herbert Company was once the world's largest machine tool manufacturer, with a name comparable with Rolls-Royce.
Sources of Information
- The Times, Monday, May 27, 1957