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Frank Garrett

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Colonel, Sir Frank Garrett (1869-1952) of Richard Garrett and Sons and AGE - Agricultural and General Engineers

c.1869 Born oldest son of Frank Garrett, Senior

1915 Suffered a breakdown while serving with the 4th Suffolks

Promoted electric vehicles following the death of Stephen Garrett

Remained with the company until it closed in 1932

1946 Knighted


1952 Obituary [1]

We record with deep regret the death of Colonel Sir Frank Garrett, which occurred on Wednesday, March 19th, at Gar House, Leiston, Suffolk.

Sir Frank, who was eighty-two, was actively associated for over forty years with his family's engineering business, Richard Garrett and Sons, Ltd., of Leiston.

Sir Frank was born at Carlton, Suffolk, on December 9, 1869. He was educated at Rugby, and on leaving school in 1888 went to Halberstadt, Saxony, where for a year or so he was employed in the Dehne engineering works and foundries.

On his return to this country, Sir Frank joined the family business at Leiston, of which his father was then the head, and from then on assisted in the management of the works. The firm held a distinctive place in the production of portable and stationary steam engines, steam traction engines, threshers and other agricultural machinery, its establishment in Leiston dating back to 1778, when a Richard Garrett set up in business as a "sickle and edge-tool maker and blade-smith."

Portable steam engines burning 11.5lb and 7.5lb of coal per horsepower-hour were exhibited by the firm at the Royal Shows of 1849 and 1850.

The business was converted into a private limited company in 1897, and Sir Frank subsequently became managing director. Under his guidance the Leiston works were extended and the variety of its products increased.

On the outbreak of the first world war Sir Frank immediately volunteered for overseas service with the 4th Battalion, Suffolk Regiment, of which he was Colonel. He had to be invalided home early in 1915, but immediately took over the management of the Leiston works, then engaged in munitions production.

When his father died in 1918, Sir Frank succeeded to the chairmanship of his company, which was soon afterwards merged in Agricultural and General Engineers, Ltd. For some years thereafter Richard Garrett and Sons, Ltd., continued to produce steam engines and tractors, the last being the undertype rigid six-wheel steam wagon, which was introduced in 1926.

But steam traction for agriculture and road transport was becoming superseded by internal combustion engined tractors and vehicles, and although the Leiston works turned over to the manufacture of food preparation machinery and continued to build threshers and other items of agricultural machinery, the slump which this country then experienced led to the end of Agricultural and General Engineers, Ltd., and of the old-established firm of Richard Garrett and Sons, Ltd.

Happily, however, the name has been continued, for in 1932 the Leiston works were taken over by Beyer, Peacock and Co., Ltd., under the style of the Richard Garrett Engineering Works, Ltd. It should be added that some of the products, initiated when Sir Frank controlled the business, are still being manufactured at Leiston.

With the change-over, Sir Frank relinquished active participation in the affairs of the business to which he had contributed so much. Since 1932 he had devoted himself unsparingly to public service, particularly in his native town and county. He had been a Deputy Lieutenant of Suffolk, a Justice of the Peace, a member of the East Suffolk County Council, and was, for twenty-eight years chairman of the Leiston Urban District Council, on which he served for thirty-six years. Sir Frank was also a governor of Framlingham College and a past chairman of the Suffolk Territorial Army Association.

He was an associate member of the Institution of Civil Engineers and of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers and a past-president of the Agricultural Engineers' Association.

The honour of C.B.E. was conferred upon Sir Frank during the first world War, and his public services were recognised in 1938, when he was created C.B. He received his knighthood in the New Year Honours of 1946.


1953 Obituary [2]

Col. Sir FRANK GARRETT. K.C.B., C.B.E., T.D., D.L., who died on 19th March 1952 at the age of eighty-two, was associated with the family firm of Richard Garrett and Son, Leiston, Suffolk, agricultural engineers, for over forty years. He was educated at Rugby and obtained some practical training in the shops and drawing office of the Dehne engineering works at Haberstadt, Germany.

He began his long connexion with Richard Garrett and Son in 1890 with the post of works manager. Subsequently he joined the board, taking over the duties of sales director, and eventually he was elected chairman.

He left the firm in 1932 and took up an appointment as outside representative for the Wheat Commission and Cereals Control Board. Other offices he had held were those of sales director to Agricultural General Engineering, Ltd., and chairman of Bull Motors, Ltd.

Sir Frank Garrett had a long record of service in the Territorial Army, joining the 4th Battalion of the Suffolk Regiment in 1890 and commanding it in France during 1914 and 1915. He was also chairman of the Suffolk Territorial Army Association and a deputy lieutenant for the county. His long connexion with the Institution dated back to 1890 when he was elected a Graduate. He was transferred to Associate Membership in 1897. In addition he was an Associate Member of the Institution of Civil Engineers and a past-president of the Agricultural Engineers of Great Britain Association.


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