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English Electric Company (EE), founded in 1918, was a British industrial manufacturer, initially of electric motors and transformers, later of railway locomotives, aircraft and computers. It was acquired by GEC in 1968.


  • 1917: Dick, Kerr & Co. acquired the United Electric Car Company, who made trams in Preston.
  • 1918: The English Electric Company was formed.
  • 1918 & 1919: EE took over Dick, Kerr & Co. of Preston (England), Willans & Robinson of Rugby, and the Phoenix Dynamo Manufacturing Company of Bradford. It also bought the Stafford works of Siemens Bros, Dynamo Works Ltd. Dick, Kerr & Co.'s traction activities were concentrated in Preston and continued there until 1930. Also included was Coventry Ordnance Works Ltd.
  • 1926: The aircraft department closed after the last English Electric Kingston flying boat was built.
  • 1930: The manufacture of electrical equipment was moved to Bradford (tram, bus body and rolling stock production stayed at Preston.
  • Late 1920s: EE was in a parlous financial state. A complex financial reorganisation, apparently backed by American Westinghouse interests, was needed to save it.
  • 1930: The man most associated with EE, George Nelson, became managing director.
  • 1930s: EE supplied equipment for the electrification of the English Southern Railway system, which gave it a strong position in the traction market.
  • 1939: EE constructed a "shadow factory" at Samlesbury Aerodrome in Lancashire to build the Handley Page Hampden and Handley Page Halifax bombers.
  • 1939-1945: EE made a substantial contribution to the British World War II war effort.
  • 1942: EE took over Napier & Son, an aero-engine company, and this helped establish the company's Aircraft Division. Company factories were converted to build the Handley-Page Halifax heavy bomber.
  • 1945 and after: EE invested heavily in aircraft design, leading to major successes in the 1950s with the Lightning interceptor and Canberra tactical bomber, which in 2005 was still flying in reconnaissance and other roles with many air forces, including the RAF.
  • 1946: EE took over the Marconi Company. This was a foray into domestic markets.
  • 1947: Expansion of and Design office moves to former RAF Warton
  • 1955: EE took over Vulcan Foundry and Robert Stephenson and Hawthorns, both with substantial railway engineering pedigrees. EE also made steam turbines.
  • 1958: EE's aviation business was set up separately as English Electric Aviation Ltd.
  • 1960: EE tried to take over one of the other major British electrical companies, the General Electric Company (GEC).
  • 1960: Under government pressure EE's aircraft division became part of the new British Aircraft Corporation (BAC), with English Electric having a 40% stake.
  • 1963: EE and J. Lyons and Co. formed the jointly-owned English Electric LEO company to manufacture the LEO Computer developed by Lyons.
  • 1963: EE's guided weapons division added to BAC.
  • 1964: EE took over J. Lyons and Co.'s half-stake in English Electric LEO and merged it with Marconi's computer interests to form English Electric Leo Marconi (EELM).
  • 1967: English Electric Leo Marconi (EELM) merged with Elliott Automation and International Computers and Tabulators (ICT) to form International Computers Limited (ICL).
  • 1967: GEC took over Associated Electrical Industries.
  • 1967 or 1968: Failed bid for EE by Plessey.
  • 1968, January 6 one of the English Electric Company's 120-ton transformers was the cause of the Hixon rail crash as it was being transported at Template:Convert/mph across the level crossing at Hixon, Staffordshire.[1]
  • 1968: The new GEC conglomerate took over EE.

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United Electric Car was the builder of the second generation cars from Hong Kong Tramways from 1912 to 1918. The company was acquired by rival English Electric, which was the builder of the third Generation cars for Hong Kong Tramways from 1918 to 1930s.

See alsoEdit



  1. Ministry of Transport (1968). Report of the Public Inquiry into the Accident at Hixon Level Crossing on January 6th, 1968. HMSO. ISBN 0-10-137060-1. 

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