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Report - Lister Petter, Dursley - Nov 14

Discussion in 'Industrial Sites' started by Oort, Nov 21, 2014.

  1. Oort

    Oort The spice expands consciousness.
    Regular User

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    Lister Petter, Dursley - Nov 14

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    R A Lister & Company was founded in Dursley, Gloucestershire, in 1867 by Sir Robert Ashton Lister (1845–1929), to produce agricultural machinery.
    The family was originally from Yorkshire but Ashton's father (George Lister) relocated to Dursley in 1817

    Visit:

    Bit of an impromptu explore with huey, we didn't know much about the place but had been told it's well worth the effort,
    so fairly early on a fine sunny day we made our way down to the site and had a good look. Secca seemed to be minimal
    comprising of one bloke who seemed to wonder from the offices on one side to the security hut on the other and then disappearing.
    Once he had been dealt with we were in and had the run of the place.

    I'm glad we did because while not being anywhere near as big as Pine Ends it still had loads of stuff inside to look at.

    History:

    R. A. Lister and Co. was founded in 1867, and was initially a manufacturer of agricultural equipment, but after the invention
    of the internal combustion engine the company became a world-renowned name in engineering. By the early 20th century Listers
    were producing petrol engines, initially to power sheep-shearing equipment. These products remained an important part of the
    company's business, but over time the product range expanded considerably, ranging from electric lighting plants and dairy
    equipment to garden furniture.

    Lister employed Danish inventor Mikael Pedersen and manufactured his innovative Dursley Pedersen bicycle.

    Sir Robert Ashton Lister was still alive in the late 1920s, by which time the management of the firm had passed to younger
    members of his family. In 1926 the chairman of the board was Austin Lister, and the company was run by the five sons of
    Austin's brother Charles: Robert, George, Percy, Frank and Cecil. Inevitably this occasionally caused tensions: for example,
    George managed home sales and Frank was in charge of buying, while Cecil did not have a clearly defined role at all, and,
    although Robert was the eldest, it was Percy (later Sir Percy) who had by far the most significant impact.

    As managing director Percy led the firm through a period of significant growth and prosperity in the 1920s and 1930s. By 1926
    the workforce was around 2000 and was growing rapidly; the company ran a 24-hour manufacturing operation, expanding its range
    of products and supplying retailers to around 6000 UK customers and many more worldwide. Retailing revenues were particularly
    healthy in Australia and New Zealand, where sheep-shearing equipment was in great demand.

    The company headquarters were housed in an early 16th-century Priory building in Dursley, which remained the headquarters of
    Lister Petter at time of writing in 2009. In the nearby valley was located a foundry, together with a number of other workshops
    necessary for the production of engines and the various other products offered, including a machining shop, capstan lathe shop,
    engine assembly lines, and a coopers' shop.

    Lister engines were traditionally painted a mid-range shade of Brunswick Green, which continues to be used by Lister Petter at the
    time of writing (2009). In 1929, the first of Lister's own design of "CS" (cold start) diesel engine was made in Dursley.
    The CS is a slow-running (600 rpm) and reliable engine, suitable for driving electric generators or irrigation pumps. The CS type
    engines were available in single-, twin-, triple- and four-cylinder versions in a range of power outputs and gained a reputation
    for longevity and reliability, especially in Commonwealth countries, to which they were widely exported. Some CS engines ran
    practically continuously for decades in agricultural, industrial and electrical applications.

    By around 1930 Listers were producing around 600 engines a week, most of which were small at around 1.5 to 3 hp; many of these
    were used in the construction industry. Listers continued to flourish during the 1930s, riding the economic financial crisis
    and building on its many earlier successes.

    The most successful Lister engine was the D-type engine, most of which were rated at 1.5 horsepower at 700 RPM. More than 250,000
    'D' engines were built between 1926 and 1964: they were used for a wide variety of light tasks such as pumping and small-scale
    electricity generation. The Lister 'D' is still one of the most widely seen vintage stationary engines in the UK. Hand-cranked
    Lister diesel engines were used in many early dumpers.

    Listers obtained many other plants over the years to assist with production demand initially in war time Britain, Nympsfield 1942,
    Wotton under Edge 1943 & Cinderford 1944 mainly employed women working on sub-assemblies or packing spares: they continued on until
    (dates req). Marine Mountings near Swindon was purchased from the Admiralty in 1946 and became the home of the D Type production till
    1963 when the SR range became its main product, together with SL and LD models in 1-4 cylinder versions. Marine Mountings was closed in 19??.

    Having survived the Second World War, Listers continued to benefit from its reputation for durable, reliable high-quality engines, and
    its pedigree as an old-established firm. However labour costs in the post-war period made a return to the heyday of the 1920s and 1930s
    impossible. Competition from rivals such as Petter and from overseas were also factors to be contended with, and unauthorized copycat
    engines ("Listeroids") were produced in other countries. In 1965 Listers was acquired by Hawker-Siddeley who had bought
    its old rival Petter in 1957.

    A larger investment was made in 1966 when they bought the old Gresham & Craven plant in Walkden, Lancashire. This plant had a large
    iron foundry, pattern shop and machine shop. It was reorganised to supply diesel engine parts that were previously bought from
    sub-contractors. The plant produced cylinder heads, crankcases, flywheels, gearcases and a multitude of small parts for the parent
    plants. It also assembled moisture extraction units and the SR range of diesel generators employing 200-250 personnel until it was
    closed in 1971 because of a downturn in demand for diesel engines.

    In 1986 Hawker-Siddeley merged the two engineering concerns to form a new company, Lister-Petter, which was now placed to build
    on the strengths of both its predecessors. The economic climate of the 1980s and 90s, however, led to a change in the company's
    fortunes, and Hawker-Siddeley had to sell out. An unstable period followed, and, having narrowly escaped collapse, the company
    was split; part was acquired by Deutz AG but the core part of the business was bought out by venture capital investors who began
    to rebuild its product range.

    In the early years of the 21st century, as in previous decades, small, durable, reliable industrial and marine engines continued
    to be a staple, notably the ALPHA water-cooled industrial and marine engines (2-, 3- or 4-cylinder) and the "T" air-cooled series
    (1-, 2- or 3-cylinder). Although Lister-Petter no longer ran a foundry, engines and diesel generating sets continued to be assembled
    and sold from a factory on the original site in Dursley. The new investors began to extend the product range to include more
    powerful engines and a wider range of generating set specifications. In 2007 a new heavy-duty engine, the OMEGA, offering up to 268 kW,
    was added to the company's product range.

    In 2007 Lister Petter held an exhibition in Dursley to mark its 140th anniversary, which included a group photo of staff on the 60th
    anniversary in 1927. Listers has always had strong family traditions, and one employee who attended this 2007 exhibition was able to
    identify both her maternal grandparents in the 1927 photo.

    In 2009 Lister Shearing (now a separate company) celebrated its centenary.



    Pics:

    Externals

    This place is bloody massive!
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    Round the back of the Admin Block
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    The SS Security Hut
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    Nice little stairway at the back of the site
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    Engine Side

    Still pretty clean considering.
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    On high.
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    Arty nonsense
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    Machinery
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    Not heeded.
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    Sadly empty and broken
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    Bit pokey in here!
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    Nowhere door
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    Breakfast anyone?
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    Diagnostics
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    Nice Fuse Box
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    Above the Boilers
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    One of the many large bathrooms
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    Sheering side

    Staircase and Lift
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    More electrical gubbins
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    Awesome chair
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    Shearing Blade
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    Thanks for looking!
     

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  2. TallRich

    TallRich 28DL Regular User
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    Nice post chap!

    i'm glad i don't have to use those toilets! privacy leaves a bit to be desired!!
     
  3. The Wombat

    The Wombat Mr Wombat
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    pretty good :thumb
     
  4. Oort

    Oort The spice expands consciousness.
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    Cheers, my favourite industrial trip to date.
     
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