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British Industrial History

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Metropolitan Carriage, Wagon and Finance Co

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September 1913.
May 1917.
January 1918.
January 1923. Metropolitan Carriage, Wagon and Finance Co, Patent Shaft and Axletree Co and Docker Brothers.
January 1924. Metropolitan Carriage, Wagon and Finance Co, Patent Shaft and Axletree Co and Docker Brothers.
July 1924. Metropolitan Carriage, Wagon and Finance Co, Patent Shaft and Axletree Co and Docker Brothers.
December 1924. Metropolitan Carriage, Wagon and Finance Co, Patent Shaft and Axletree Co and Docker Brothers.

1912 F. Dudley Docker, the Chairman, proposed changing the name of the company from Metropolitan Amalgamated Railway Carriage and Wagon Company Ltd to Metropolitan Carriage, Wagon and Finance Co Ltd[1].

1913 Metropolitan was the dominant manufacturer in the railway carriage and wagon industry, there being 14 other recognised competitors[2]. Some years previously Metropolitan had been the pioneer in developing all-steel coaches[3].

1914 Manufacturers of railway rolling stock of every description, carriages for electric and light railways, tram cars, steel bridges, roofs, wheels and axles, switches and crossings, pressed steel bogie trucks; varnish and paint manufacturers. [4]

WWI The Metropolitan Carriage, Wagon and Finance Co made aeroplanes[5] as well as rolling stock for military use[6].

The company was the dominant producer of British tanks in WW1, the main works being at Saltley and Oldbury [7]

1916 By this time British Westinghouse had recognised that the American ownership of its operations during World War One was a hindrance - the solution would be to form a British holding company to buy the American shares. In the absence of support from the financial houses in the City, Metropolitan's chairman, F. Dudley Docker, developed a solution involving Metropolitan in collaboration with Vickers buying out the American shareholders.

1917 Metropolitan Carriage, Wagon and Finance Co provided funds to buy the American shareholdings in British Westinghouse together with Vickers[8]. Metropolitan established a company, Electric Holdings Ltd, to hold their's and Vickers' interests in British Westinghouse[9]. The company was to be called British Westinghouse Electrical and Manufacturing Co.'[10]. Docker was instrumental in finding £1,000,000 to enable the Company to carry on its business and keep up with modern developments[11].

1918 The British Westinghouse Company was now British in fact as well as name. The authorized capital of £1,395,000 was increased by £5,000,000. The Managing Director, Lange, and Sales Director, Blunt, neither of whom were British, resigned from the Board[12].

1918 Metropolitan acquired large interests in the South Metropolitan Electric Light and Power Co. and the West Kent Power Co. which would enable it to supply a complete service of electrification for railways, not just carriages. In conjunction with GEC, Metropolitan had also acquired the British rights to the special machines for drawing glass envelopes for light bulbs; it had also entered into partnership with Birmingham Small Arms to manufacture certain munitions and were in negotiation to purchase a large manufacturing enterprise[13], which was in fact Taylor Brothers and Co, steel-makers of Leeds[14].

1918 Wagon Repairs founded to acquire the wagon-repairing business of various wagon-building firms including Metropolitan Carriage, Wagon and Finance Co.

1919 Vickers take control. Docker had recognised the importance of electricity for the future development of many industries[15]. He saw the opportunity to form a large electrical combine, like those existing in Germany. Vickers wished to be able to supplement their production of steel, ships, trains, and machinery with that of the associated electrical equipment. As a result of their joint work to acquire British Westinghouse, Vickers then made a cash or shares offer for the whole of Metropolitan, and also for Taylor Brothers and Co. Vickers and Metropolitan would continue as separate entities, operated under a unified policy. Several of Metropolitan's directors, including Docker, would join Vickers' board[16].

1919 The American Westinghouse company wished that the British company did not continue to use the name Westinghouse, so a proposal was developed to change the name to Vickers Electrical Company Ltd, reflecting the recent acquisition by Vickers of Metropolitan who were a large shareholder in British Westinghouse Electrical and Manufacturing[17]. Over 99% of the share capital of Metropolitan was acquired by Vickers[18].

1919 September 8th. The company’s name was changed to Metropolitan-Vickers Electrical Company[19].

1919 Docker, as chairman of Metropolitan Carriage, Wagon and Finance Company Ltd, wrote to the government offering to supply 500 railway wagons per week[20].

c.1921 Docker retired from chairmanship. In 1921 his successor Sir Ernest Hiley then resigned from the position with no explanation at the time of writing. The reason was associated with the decline in the quotation for Vickers ordinary shares. Sir Douglas Vickers was thereafter appointed the new chairman.[21]

1926 Order placed by Great Western Railway for fifty fish vans for use on passenger services.

1927 See Aberconway for information on the company and its history.

1927 Retained by Vickers after the formation of Vickers-Armstrongs.

1928 Due to downturn in the demand for railway wagons, the rolling stock interests of the Metropolitan Carriage, Wagon and Finance Company Ltd would be merged with those of Cammell, Laird and Co[22] under the name Metropolitan Cammell Carriage, Wagon and Finance Company Ltd[23].

1929 The amalgamated entity was owned by Vickers and Cammell, Laird and Co and became known as Metro Cammell.


See Also

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Sources of Information

  1. The Times, 6 June 1912
  2. The Times, 20 September 1913
  3. The Times, 30 May 1914
  4. 1914 Whitakers Red Book
  5. Aeroplanes of the Royal Flying Corps (Military Wing) by J. M. Bruce. Published 1982 ISBN 0-370-30084-x
  6. The Times, 27 August 1915
  7. 'The Devil’s Chariots' by John Glanfield, Sutton Publishing, 2001
  8. The Times, 24 April 1920
  9. The Times, 8 June 1917
  10. The Times, 20 September 1919
  11. Metropolitan-Vickers Electrical Co 1899-1949 by John Dummelow: 1919-1929
  12. Metropolitan-Vickers Electrical Co 1899-1949 by John Dummelow: 1919-1929
  13. The Times, 31 May 1918
  14. The Times, 25 March 1919
  15. The Times, 31 May 1918
  16. The Times, 25 March 1919
  17. The Times, 2 August 1919
  18. Aberconway
  19. The Times, 3 October 1919
  20. The Times, 23 December 1919
  21. The Engineer 1921/03/04, p 233
  22. The Times, 26 October 1928
  23. The Times, 18 December 1928