Report - - Thyssen Krupp Automotive Chassis Products UK, Bedford - 2005/6 | Industrial Sites | 28DaysLater.co.uk

Report - Thyssen Krupp Automotive Chassis Products UK, Bedford - 2005/6


A life backwards
Regular User
One from the archive...


A Mr W.H.A. Robertson formed Lynton Works, Ampthill Road in 1907 with just five employees, making wire forming and nail forming machinery. The factory grew rapidly to accommodate heavy machinary and fitting bays to manufacture very large plant installations including steel rolling mills, shearline equipment, metal forming equipment and presses for the automotive industry. In 1966 the largest installation built at the plant - a Hallden Robertson flying shear weighing over 250 tons and occupying 1,000 feet of factory floor space was built for the Australian Iron and Steel Company in New South Wales. The machine costing £300,000 could cut mild steel three eighths of an inch thick in widths of up to 72 inches at speeds of up to 350 feet a minute.

In 1970 the works became part of the Tool and Die Division of Vauxhall Motors, Luton for the manufacture of automotive press tooling, tool tryouts, jigs, fixtures and multiweld equipment. The factory continued to produce a whole range of body stamping dies for Vauxhall and Bedford vehicles until 1985, when Pre-Star (part of Camford Engineering Group) took over the site.

Pre-Star (later trading as Camford's), concentrating on producing a comprehensive range of fabricated and pressed components and component assembles for the UK and European car market. The range included latch assembles, seat frames, body panels and pillars, brake systems, petrol tanks and axle cases. Ford, Vauxhall, Honda and Rover being their main clients.

Despite extensions to the factory in 1996 and a lucrative deal with Rover (the Rover 200 model), a sharp down turn in the car industry lead to the factory closing in 2001 (with the loss of 300 jobs), with its remaining work and presses transferred to its sister plant in Bourne (Cambridgeshire).

The explore

A local explore meant regular visits, and as in all good explores, there would always be something i hadn't seen before! The photographs were taken mainly, early 2005, before some delinquents (for want of a better word) acting as security complete with free range dogs were the order of the day.


Apologies for the quality of some of the photo's, how i wish i'd taken more care and been bothered to carry that bloody tripod instead of my sandwiches!!!


One of the main bays complete with a 100 ton crane. Note the Schuler presses.


A Robertsons Louden Planer.


Vari-form, a process using hydroforming developed by Krupp Camford, resulting in lighter, lower cost components.


Fire alarm test, on a Sunday, whatever next?


One of the press pit areas.


Job tooooooooooo boring?





Is there any factory or office premises free from banana stickers?


Schuler press bed.


A chemical bath with heating element.


An oily reflection.



Yes, it really was the end.


A look outside, shows (far left) the bright grey/blue new extension of 1996 together with the just visable 'Test House' (former Canteen) in front; main bays and (right) the original brick built workshop and offices.


To the other end of the site (a good half mile) and the area that housed that 100 ton crane and the press pits (refer to earlier photo's). The Technical Centre can be just seen far left. This was a relatively new building, leased out to Southern Railway after the factory's demise.


The same building in March, 2006. The factory was one year short of celebrating one hundred years.



The Schuler presses were the last items to be dismantled. The site remains wasteland to this day.

Thanks for looking.


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