Updated 25-VII-2015

Preston - Fylde Road

Not a great deal is known about the history of the Fylde Road lampworks, and any additional input would be gratefully received. What is known is that certainly by 1972 it was under the control of Thorn Lighting, who appear to have used this factory to produce moderately special incandescent lamps that were required in medium volumes. Lamps made at Fylde Road can be identified by the letter F on the etch. Around 1981 there was a serious fire at the factory, and it was rebuilt and reopened. Later that year though it was closed down, with its production being transferred to Thorn's nearby factory on Kent Street, and also to Merthyr Tydfil.
Fylde Road Lamp Works, c. 1970

Address Fylde Road, Preston, Lancashire, United Kingdom.
Location 53.7651°N , -2.7144°E
Opened pre-1967
Closed 1981
Products Incandescent GLS medium wattage 150W & 200W, Mushroom, Decorative, Blown Reflector.

Early History
During the 1970s the factory was located in the large building with a black roof in the photograph above. Local historians have cited that the buildings immediately behind this were also occupied by Thorn but no firm evidence has yet been found to support that. That smaller building is known as Canal Foundry, later Stevenson's Foundry. In 1944 it was requisitioned for the war effort and produced aircraft parts under the direction of the nearby English Electric works.

It is not known when lamps were first made at Fylde Road, or which company was first to established the production operations. It may have been opened as a small independent factory, or could have been established by one of the other Preston factories which may have outgrown its original premises. One likely possibility is that Siemens may have established lamp production at Fylde Road as a spinoff of the nearby Strand Road site, perhaps to cater for the production of fluorescent tubes. Fluorescent lamps are known to have been produced at Preston, but it is unclear whether they were produced at Strand Road, or Fylde Road, or both. Since fluorescent lampmaking requires large amounts of space, it is possible that there was insufficient space to take on that new product at Strand Road, and the Fylde Road operation may have come into existence to manufacture that product.

It is considered unlikely that the Fylde Road lampworks would have been established owing to expansion of the nearby Kent Street factory, because the latter was a four-storey building and only the lower two floors there were ever used for lampmaking. Plenty of room was available at Kent Street should that have ever required more production space.

Aerial View c.1940 Aerial View c.1956 Aerial View c.1960s Aerial View c.1960s
English Electric c.1944 Canal Foundry c.20?? Thorn Lighting 1972 Thorn Lighting 1972

1 Private Communication R. Bartlett, Thorn Kent Street Works, May 1995.
2 Preston Digital Archive
3 Preston Historical Society
4 Private Communication C. Jackson relating to c.1967 visit to Fyle Road, July 2015.