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John Martin & Roy Presland 2007

Central Electrical Company

The factory in Rectory Road built about 1909
The Company was established by a former employee of the Central Machinery Company. When the Co-operative Shoe Factory was built in Rectory Road Rushden, Sammy Scragg came from somewhere in Northern England to work for the Central Machinery Company. He installed its engine and probably did the electrical installation of the factory. He later started a new business - the Central Electrical Company - in Rectory Road about 1909. In 1927 he moved to premises, on the corner of Washbrook Road and Spencer Road, next to Spencer Park Garage, which also had an entrance in Spencer Road. They consisted of a two-storey building next to the Garage and the old stables across the yard, nearer to Spencer Road. The stables on the left of the yard became the workshop and behind it a garage was built. The building on the right side of the yard was a showroom and store with the office on its right. The firm stayed at this site until the early 1950s. There were some problems. Spencer Park Garage often had to take its vehicles through the yard into Spencer Road, so it had to be kept clear. Long items, such as twelve foot conduit had to be taken through Spencer Park Garage workshop to reach the C.E.C. yard. Sammy Scragg was a founder member of Rushden Query Motor Club.

Kelly's Directory - 1928: Central Electrical Company, Washbrook Road, Rushden.  Tel. No. Rushden 247

A planning application or “building notice” was considered, and passed in August 1930, by Rushden Council for a store to be built in Spencer Road.

Bill Timpson
Mr W Timpson - "Bill"
Bill Timpson served an electrical apprenticeship under Sammy Scragg, with the Central Electrical Company. When Sammy retired, Bill Ekins and Bill Timpson became the joint owners. (Bill Timpson was the son of a carpenter, who worked for Cyril Norris, a general engineering firm. During the war he had risen to the rank of a Major, in India, where he had been involved with road-building.)

Kelly's Directory - 1940 & 1948: Central Electrical Co. (W. Timpson & W. Ekins Proprietors.) Speciality: Application of electricity for industrial purposes. Washbrook Road, Rushden Tel. No. 247

In the bad winter of 1947, there were many power cuts. Some shoe factories closed down for two weeks. As a result, the C.E.C. sold 55 kilo-watt diesel generating sets to several factories, including the Ideal Clothiers, and installed them.

In 1950 Bill Ekins and Bill Timpson were still in charge when the business moved its workshop to High Street South.

Jim Timpson
Jim Timpson
The office moved there in about 1953. Bill Ekins retired about then. At its height, the business employed thirty to forty people. Many apprentices were trained there over the years.

Jim, the younger son of Bill Timpson joined the firm in the 1960s and became its head in about 1975. Ray Allen was its Technical Director in the 1960s and 1970s. Several employees gave around fifty years service to the Central Electric Company. Many of the long-standing employees had a leaving party on their retirement.

The factory in Park Road - side view

Around 1980, the firm moved again. This time it bought premises in Park Road, which, before then, had been the Tecnic Children's Shoe Factory. For a short time, both premises were in use. With a larger workshop, more equipment could be housed. One of the firm' specialities was to build large cubical switch panels from their beginnings. The firm’s vehicles were once painted in two tones of blue and in later years they were white.

The front of the factory

Over the years the larger contracts included work for Weetabix Ltd. - at both Burton Latimer and Corby, Allens Engineers of Bedford, Shell Petroleum Labs, at. Egham, Engine Test Beds at London Airport and Coventry, installation of a new plant for Alvis Motors of Coventry, installation of under-floor heating at RAF Wittering, Milton Keynes Development Corporation, cubical switch panels for Bill Switchgear of Birmingham, computerised panels for equipment at Deanshanger Oxide Works and work at both Kettering and Northampton General Hospitals.

In the progress of time the amount of business and the number of its employees reduced and eventually the business closed down. Its final premises were sold for development about 2005.

The Central Electric Company
Factory and Country House Installations
Factory Installations
Knight & Wagstaffe, Earl's Barton
Barker & Sons, Earl's Barton
Byfield Leather, Co, Northampton
Inside the works
Neal & Gates, Raunds.
J. Horrell & Sons, Raunds.
Tebbutt & Hall Bros, Raunds.
Perkins & Bird, Irthlingborough
J. K. Perkins & Sons, Irthlingborough
Sudborough Bros., Wellingborough
Victoria Leather Co. Higham Ferrers
Walker & Gunn, Higham Ferrers
Ideal Clothiers, Ltd. Woodford
Wesley Bros. Ltd., Odell, Beds
W. Hector, Ltd., Stanion
C. W. Horrell, Ltd., Rushden
Mill Chrome Tanning Co., Irthlingboro'
Nene Valley Co., Irthlingborough
K J. Price, Wollaston
From an advert in Northampton Past & Present Magazine 1924
R. B. Sanders & Co., Ilemaston
Sole Agents for the

Midland Counties for Ruston-Hornsby Ltd.
Gas, Oil & Petrol Engines and Producer Plants.
Specialists in complete Factory Installations.
Plans and Estimates submitted Free.

Country House Installations
C. A. K. Green, Esq., Knuston Hall
T. N, Sudborough. Esq, Wilby Grange
W. B. Sanders, Esq, Milton Ernest
B. Measures, Esq. Hemmington
L. Jessop. Esq. Mears Ashby.
J. Harris, Esq. Higham Ferrers
I. Cunnington, Esq. Rushden
J. Adams. Esq., Raunds
E. Loakes, Esq., Thrapston
C. W. Horrell, Esq., Rushden
W. M. Horrell, Rushden
John Pashler, Esq. Thrapston

High Street South
House at the foot of Wymington Road - with Central Electric premises next door. Demolished in 2011.

Memories of Engineering by H Packwood written in 1988:

Another phase of Rushden history was the building of the Local Electric Light Co. in Shirley Road.

Mr. Sammy Scragg and Mr. Sam Bailey arrived in Rushden in 1903 being qualified to do the wiring necessary to wire the factories.

The wiring used was known as capping and casing, the wire being in wood casing.

Mr. Sam Bailey on finishing the wiring etc. at B. Dentons, High Street (now demolished) was offered the position of engineer, which he accepted. This entailed looking after the Gas plant etc. and engines and the small tannery they owned in Rectory Road.

Mr. Sam Scragg then started the Central Electric Co (now in High Street South); he soon had plenty of work especially Government contracts.

On his death the business was transfered to W. Timson and W. Ekins and is now owned by W. Timson junior.

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