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Ross-on-Wye

Woodville - The Founding And Early Days

Woodville Rubber Company Ltd, as it was then known, was founded in 1948, it had two founder members who were its managing directors. Mr E Brewster was an engineer, and Mr W F Hodson was a rubber technologist. Both men had ambitions to start their own businesses, having had many years experience in the rubber industry whilst working for the London based company, Pirelli.

The Company had very humble beginnings, the first factory being at the bottom of Mr Hodson's mother's garden in the town of Woodville in Derbyshire. It consisted of no more than a 23 x 12 ft garage. The first equipment was predominantly second-hand. A 36" mill was bought locally, along with two hand-operated presses. A brand new Thompson press completed the production machinery.

At first, the Company concentrated on only two products, shoe soles and heels. From the outset the presses were run for 24 hours a day and the soles and heels, which were produced in all sizes, were sold three days a week to local shoe-repair shops from Mr Hodson's car. The first moulds used by the Company were die-cast and made by local engineering firms.

The business proved quite profitable and the Company soon saw the need to expand the premises and make new products. So a new press shop, measuring 20 ft x 10 ft, was added in 1948 at a cost of 130. New presses were added and the company expanded its workforce to 11 people including two part-time women who carried out the trimming operation. The first new products to be made were floor tiles, of the company's own design, measuring 14 inches square and interlocking for easy installation.


B1-B bomber
Parts for the B1-B bomber were made by Woodville (Click for a larger image)

Woodville managed to secure a lucrative contract to manufacture rubber parts for the B1-B bomber.

B1-B unveiled
B1-B unveiled
(Click for a larger image)
B1-B taking off
B1-B taking off
(Click for a larger image)


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Sources

Many of the details are taken from The History of Woodville Polymer Products by Gary Minton. Gary was doing a industrial placement, presumably as part of his education, when he created the original document. - Thanks to Dennis Eagles for supplying these details



[Page updated: Feb 15 2011 13:31:58]






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