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Bradford Armature Winding Co. Ltd arose from humble beginnings in 1919, in the heart of West Yorkshire.
In the late 1910’s, the main founder, Mr John Lawn, was working as a Winding Shop Foreman at an electrical engineering firm in Bradford. After becoming discontent with the procedures and manufacturing, he sought better opportunities in industry and noticed that there was to be a great expansion in the use of electric motors. From this, he envisioned a profitable future in the service and repair of these motors and in 1919, with the support of his colleague and good friend, Mr Frank Smith, he decided to capitalise upon this growing industry and the Bradford Armature Winding Co. was born.
In the beginning, due to size limitations of their first workshop, they would service small motors up to around 10HP. They had bought a small motorcycle with a sidecar in order to expand their coverage to the outer reaches of Bradford and despite both Mr Lawn and Mr Smith never having a formal agreement together, they were aligned in ensuring the customer received the best service possible. During the years 1919 to 1925, there continued to be a steady increase in trade and as such by 1925, the amount of work had exceeded the limitations imposed by their first premises and so in 1925, they made their first move to 59 Newall Street, just a hundred yards down the road from their original workshop.
With a larger workshop, came the capacity for more work and bigger vehicles in which to transport the work. Maintaining the founding philosophy that consistent quality and service was essential for repeat custom, the business continued to grow from strength to strength and on the 12th May 1935 the Bradford Armature Winding Co. moved to an even larger workshop, this time back on to Manchester Road, in an attempt to receive more passing trade, where it remained during the course of the war through to 1968.
CRITICAL SERVICES THROUGHOUT WW2
During World War Two, BAWCo provided key services and electromotive equipment to critical industries throughout Britain. With Armature Winders classed as key workers through the war, engineers were spared life on the frontline in order to support the war effort back home. The Bradford Armature Winding Company faced ever increasing demand for their services throughout this time, which in turn, led to increased profitability and by 1941, the Bradford Armature Winding Company should became incorporated and was registered as a limited company.
POST WAR EXPANSION
In 1966, under the supervision of the then managing director, Jeffrey Lawn and his brothers Alfred and Alan – sons of founder John Lawn – our current premises ‘SMILAW Works’ was finally completed, following 3 years of planning, demolition and reconstruction. Replacing the derelict soap works that stood before, a new workshop, custom-designed for our industry was constructed, allowing for an increase in productivity as well as output capacity.
With a newer and larger premises, we were in a much better position to hold and sell greater amounts of new motor stock. With this came the start of the relationship with one of the largest and most respected motor manufacturers in the world, the company that has now come to be known by the name of Brook Crompton. This relationship was forged in the 1970s and our strong relationship continues to this day.
Following our success in the 1970s, came the inception of our transformer department; using our technical expertise and knowledge of the industry, we recognised an opportunity in the manufacture and repair of bespoke, industry transformers. This department has produced tens of thousands of transformers over the course of its 50 year history and our transformers have been used in a variety of applications across the globe, ensuring high quality every step of the way. The head of our transformer department, Peter, has over 30 years experience in this field alone and continues to provide the same dedicated service to this day.
TURN OF THE 21st CENTURY
In 1994, Jeffrey Lawn eventually handed the reigns of managing director over to Mike Lawn, after almost 40 years of service. Mike continued to build steady but strong progress through the turn of the century and was constantly exploring new ideas and ways of improving BAWCo’s quality of service. This saw the continued growth of BAWCo’s success and following his retirement in 2002, Chris Lawn, son of Jeffrey, assumed the role of managing director, alongside close friend and colleague Chris Grogan as Sales Director and Keith Harrison, one of the longest-serving members of staff with a great deal of technical expertise, asTechnical Director. With three new directors at the helm, the company sought new business ventures in wider areas of the UK and identified the northeast as a hot spot for such opportunities. From this came close relationships with many large multi-national companies operating in the North East and the relationships forged there remain strong to this day.
LOOKING TO THE FUTURE
We are always looking to expand our operations and diversify our portfolio here at BAWCo. With the increase of electrification on the horizon and vital new technologies appearing in the renewables sector, we are seeking to foster relationships with innovative companies and hope to be a key part of the UK’s drive for a green and sustainable future.