Burnley Civic Trust Heritage Image Collection

Company That's Forging Ahead

4 May 1971
Regent Axle Company, Rossendale Road, Burnley

Media Ref: BE71ng47614
Company That's Forging Ahead
Company That's Forging Ahead (1) Company That's Forging Ahead (1) Company That's Forging Ahead (1)

Mr. John Atkinson, from apprentice to foreman in charge of 38 men in less than 10 years, with present apprentice Roy Harvey, who collects - money, old coins.

From the sixteenth of an Express weekly industrial feature "We Can Make It" by Allan Halstead. The series outlines each firm's history and development and tells the story of ordinary people. It was linked with a competition "Unsung Hero '71" with a prize of a holiday in Ireland with a companion. The winner to be announced on 22nd June 1971.

Regent Axle Company was founded about 1928 by Mr. Francis Brierley in his family garage business still operating as a garage at 64 Briercliffe Road. Mr. Anthony Chew was the first non-family member to be employed by the business and, aged 70, is still with the company. He recalls that the firm first worked on cylinder rebores and fitting new pistons when Francis Brierley asked him if he could make a Morris half-shaft and he said he would "have a go". At first the axle production was done on the second floor of the Briercliffe Road Garage but in 1936 the engineering work was moved into Marles Shed, Walshaw Street, Duke Bar. It had been condemned as a cotton mill but Mr. Brierley repaired one bay each year and there was about 12 employees, including apprentices. During WW1 there was a switch to aircraft components work, including parts for Swordfish torpedo planes and after the war a move into crown wheels and pinions. Francis Brierley died in 1950 but his name is still (1971) commemorated through the Brierley Shield competitions for engineering apprentices at the Municipal college.

In 1958 Regent Axle built an ultra modern factory at Rossendale Road and in 1970 an extension to the factory was started and its roof is now being completed. For more information about the extension search our website using the words -Regent Axle- to see previous Burnley Express reports. Regent Axle is now a subsidiary of Kirkstall Forge Engineering of Leeds and about two thirds of the bulk of the Burnley production of axles and gears goes to Kirkstall customers in the heavy motor end of the trade. But Regent retain the production of spares and supply two of the best-known names of the middle-size car manufacturers - the sophisticated Lotus marque and the Reliant three-wheelers which demand a very high standard of gears.

Some interesting advertising posters can be found at https://www.gracesguide.co.uk/Regent_Axle_Co

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