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Updated February 2022: Piecing Together The Story of Shalford Engineering Firm Nelco

Published on: 1 Feb, 2022
Updated on: 31 Jan, 2022

By David Rose

The story of Nelco is on-going on The Dragon. New details and memories are posted at the foot of this page. There are some vintage photos added on February 1, 2022 that are from a scrapbook of village life compiled by members of Shalford Women’s Institute in 1950 and a rare enamel lapel badge issued to workers ‘engaged on National Service’ during the Second World War. Take a look further on, but before…..

For over 40 years my dad worked for the electrical engineering firm Nelco, that had a factory on two sites in Station Road, Shalford and another in Farnham.

When I was growing up there was always a lot of talk about the firm in our household. I also had an uncle and cousin (Les and Andrew Brookes) working there at the time. Another uncle (Robert Kings) had once worked there, and my now late dad often talked about his workmates and told stories about the company. Yet all these years later, as far as I’m aware, there’s no written history of this now defunct firm and what it produced.

Over the past few years, I have been attempting to piece together that history – using the stories and bits of information my dad told me, while picking up other occasional facts from relations and family friends, see below.

My dad, Arthur Rose, doing his tap dance routine with Dolly Southern.

My dad, Arthur Rose, doing his tap dance routine with Dolly Southern. More pictures of Nelco’s wartime concert party at the foot of this story.

My dad, Arthur Rose, was a maintenance electrician at Nelco and started work there during the Second World War. He sometimes spoke about its wartime concert party. In it he did a tap dance routine. I still have the metal taps that he attached to his shoes. A few years ago a set of photos of the concert party came to light and these formed a story I wrote for the St Catherine’s Village website shortly before The Guildford Dragon NEWS came into being in 2012.

In 2013, I was contacted by a Guildford resident who had read that story and kindly allowed me to copy some photos of Nelco and its staff.

Nelco's football team 193

Nelco’s football team 1936-37 season. My uncle, Robert Kings, is pictured on the far right of the middle row. Back row on the far left is Keith Gladwell. First on the left middle row (seated on chairs opposite end from Bob Kings) is Charles (Charlie) Hockley. He became the machine-shop foreman. Charlie later left to work at St Dunstan’s School for the blind in Leatherhead, teaching engineering skills to blind youngsters. Next to him is Stan Smith, and then Wally Looseley.

The name Nelco, I have been told, was formed out of the names Nelson and Collins. And it is thought they were possibly the original owners. I have been told its origins were in Slough, Berkshire.

However, Nelco seems to have had connections, by way of senior members staff at least, with another similar business – The Auto Electric Company, that was in Maidenhead in Berkshire.

Nelco was up and running in Shalford by the mid-1930s I believe, as photos of its works football team reveal.

Some of Nelco's staff – date unknown. another uncle of mine, Les Brookes, is pictured

Some of Nelco’s staff – date unknown possibly wartime. Another uncle of mine, Les Brookes, is pictured second from left (towards the back). Next to him at the back is Chris Cumber. Then Sid Cap and Harry Loveland (I think). The man on the left at the front is Maurice (Mo) Ansell. On the front row far right is Donald (Dossy) Coombs. The man in the suit is Cyril ‘Jock’ Eavis, a Nelco director. Any other names would be welcomed.

Nelco made electric motors and associated products. An advertisement I have from a Guildford borough guide from about the 1960s lists its products as FHP motors DC and AC, battery traction motors, DC generators up to 2kw, small rotary transformers 15 to 44 watts, small blower motors, centrifugal motors. At that time the sister factory at Farnham produced moulded commutators and plastic mouldings for the electrical industry.

Putting the names of the unknown Nelson and Collins to one side, there was a man by the name of Dennis Murphy, who was a co-owner or director. It is believed that he was related (possibly a nephew) of Frank Murphy, co-founder of the Murphy radio / wireless firm, founded in 1929.

During the Second World War Nelco made products for the war effort and these included electric motors that were supplied to the Royal Navy.

It also tried its hand at making electric vehicles. I have located advertisements from the British Medical Journal (1947 and 1950) I found on the internet which feature Nelco’s Solocar! I think Nelco also investigated making electric motors for milk floats.

Examples of Nelco's electric Solotron cars, pictured outside the factory in Station Road, Shalford.

Examples of Nelco’s electric Solocars, pictured outside the factory in Station Road, Shalford. Before they left the works they were tested by Geoff Davis. Rob Trigger made the Solocar badges that were fixed to the vehicles. His business was called Trigger’s Transfers.

Advertisement from the British Medical Journal of 1950 for Nelco's Solocar.

Advertisement from the British Medical Journal of 1950 for Nelco’s Solocar.

King George VI and Queen Elizabeth (later the Queen Mother) pictured with a Nelco Solocar. Who is the person in the driving seat?

King George VI and Queen Elizabeth (later the Queen Mother) pictured with a Nelco Solocar. Who is the person in the driving seat?

From my memories of visiting the factory when I was a nipper, the main building in Station Road housed, on the ground floor, the machine shop that I recall as being full of lathes and drills, and so on, a tool room, carpentry shop, maintenance shop, and I think a store. I recall there also being a goods lift to the first floor.

The carpentry shop was in a separate building and, with maintenance shop (attached to the main building), was on the opposite side of the factory – ie on the Kings Road side. There was an entrance here from Kings Road via a passageway between the row of cottages fronting that road.

Cyril 'Jock' Eavis in front of the main building in Station Road, Shalford.

Cyril ‘Jock’ Eavis in front of the main building in Station Road, Shalford. The car seen beyond the lorry is an Austin that was nicknamed ‘Old Faithful’. It was owned by works driver at the time Sam Phillips. Later drivers were Doug Marley, Bill Ramsay and Stan Gilbert.

On the first floor of the main building were offices and the works canteen (a separate partitioned off section for office staff away from the ‘workers’). When computers came in to use in the late 1960s they were housed on this floor – engineering was going through some radical technological changes at the time!

Some of the management? Mr Eavis is on the far right.

Some of the management? Mr Eavis is on the far right. Next to him is believed to Tom Morgan.

Its annex premises on the other side of Station Road, beside the railway line, was where the wire winding or armature winding was done (a number of women were employed doing this), and also the general assembly and testing of the motors and products, and so on, took place here. There was also a paint shop at the back.

A Nelco works party. The venue looks like the Refectory at Milford.

A Nelco works party. The venue looks like the Refectory at Milford.

Nelco's football in the 1950s. Arthur Rose is holding the ball.

Nelco’s football in the 1950s. Arthur Rose is holding the ball. First from left standing: Jim Workman, Bob Austin and then Jack Steer. Standing on the far right Doug Geary. In the middle row are Fred Innenden and Des Stone. Seated at the front: Sandy Standford, Johnny Johnson (my dad’s best mate at the time) and Dossie Combes. Any other names would be welcomed. Picture: David Rose collection.

The company was still in private ownership by the 1960s and was then making motors for fork-lift trucks made by Lancing Bagnall of Basingstoke. At that time the works manager was Bill Green. Sometime in the 1970s, Lansing Bagnall acquired Nelco and production was eventually transferred to its own factory.

I think the Shalford factory had closed by the early 1980s, and at about that time my dad was made redundant. The Farnham factory continued for a few years on from that.

The Shalford premises was then split up into small industrial units and occupied by a number of firms. This also included the annex building on the opposite side of Station Road. There were firms operating as motor mechanics, for example, and also Seymour & Partners, makers of kitchen units.

The factory being demolished in 2007. Picture courtesy of Gordon Bryant.

The factory being demolished in 2007. Picture courtesy of Gordon Bryant.

The premises was empty for a number of years until it was pulled down in 2007. Homes have now been built on the site with any traces of Nelco long gone.

Another view of demolition under way. Picture courtesy of Gordon Bryant.

Another view of demolition under way. Picture courtesy of Gordon Bryant.

Any more details and stories about Nelco and its staff are always welcome. Any corrections to what I have written will be welcomed too. Call me on 01483 838960, or email to

Update, November 2014: Former Nelco maintenance electrician Ivor Davis called and has identified more of those seen in the photos. The captions have now been updated.

Ivor joined Nelco in 1944 from school. After doing his National Service with the army in Egypt between 1948-50, he returned to Nelco and worked there for more than 30 years. He and my dad worked together and spent many happy times there. I knew my dad always took cheese sandwiches to eat during his mid-morning break. But he and Ivor would take an unofficial break at about 9.30am. They’d lock themselves in the electric sub-station in the yard and toast their sandwiches on an upturned electric bar heater. One day they heard someone coming – it was the works manager Bill Green. He tried the door, but of course couldn’t get in. He later spoke to the pair about their antics saying he’d catch them one day, but he never did!

Here are some more photos of the Nelco concert party.

Nelco 08

Nelco 07

Nelco 03

Nelco 04

Nelco 05

Seen standing in this picture on the far left is Ron Deacon, next to him is Ron Stevens. Fifth from left is Ernie Ridgwell and six from left is Reg Froud.

Update, March 2019: from Sarah Coyle, written on behalf of her father Eian Etherington

“I started at Nelco in Shalford in 1947 working through the factory under Bill Green.

“My first job was in mouldings turning 1,000 per day commutators. Next was a job in the assembly shop, and afterwards moulding, and on to armature winding. 

“We were short of armature winders so I approached the management about training new winders. Bill Green said if this was a success he would build a factory, and he was as good as his word (Farnham). 

“I was put in charge of repairs. I trained Maurice, John, and Nerino Giordano, Reg Froud, Chris Arnold, and Jim Wilson.

“I played cricket for the Nelco team when Jack Steer was captain. I also remember annual trips to the Isle of Wight (when I got left behind once!).

“I left Nelco in Farnham in 1973 for a position in Cornwall with EMR. In June this year I shall be 93!”

Sarah Coyle’s response to Susan Anne Booth:

Dating to the early 1960s, one of Nelco’s Christmas parties for children of its employees. Click to enlarge in a new window.

“I remember the Nelco Christmas parties of the early 1960s. In the photo here  I am the girl on the far right, next to my brother Bob.

“My other brother, Chris, is the little boy in the striped jumper also at the front. Are you in this photo Susan? If we can get in touch I can arrange a copy for you. I vaguely recall that Father Christmas gave us propelling pencil and pen sets! 

“I also think we were taken to London at Christmas time to see a pantomime, although the only one I remember was Phil the Fluter.

Update, October 2020: electric motor donated to Guildford Museum

The Nelco motor that has been donated to Guildford Museum. Click to enlarge in a new window.

This electric motor was donated to Guildford Museum by the now late Ronald Stevens, who Guildford Museum say worked at Nelco as an electrical draftsman from the 1930s until 1981. He found it in his shed!

The museum would welcome any details about the motor, such as what it would have powered, and any memories from anyone involved in the assembly of such motors.

Details on the motor’s rating plate read:

Line 1 “NELCO LTD”

Line 2 “London & Shalford”

Line 3 “Type 2E”

Line 4 “Volts 230 250 Capacity 1/8”

Line 5 “RPM 4,000 Ser(ial) No. 482387”

Note RPM = Revs per minute

Size of Motor Body = 16.8cm long + 2.6cm shaft.  Motor Diameter 7.2cm

Weight c. 2.6 kilos

If you can help, please leave a reply in the box below.

Updated, November 2020

Mike Arthur has emailed from New Zealand with some great memories and a copy of a sales brochure that looks to date from the 1960s, and which is reproduced below.

He writes: “I worked at Nelco for a little over 10 years commencing in January 1955 as an apprentice toolmaker working a 48-hour week (8am to 6pm) Monday to Friday for the princely sum of 29 shillings and 6 pence.

“The actual apprenticeship started on my 16th birthday in September 1955 and was completed on my 21st birthday in September 1960. Being an apprentice meant my National Service was deferred.

“I have attached a booklet detailing Nelco of the time and I also have a photo of a group at a Christmas party in about 1963, which for the life of me I cannot find.

“My time at Nelco was, I recall, a happy one with the majority of my time spent in the machine shop, drawing office and toolroom. Finishing in the drawing office as the jig and tool designer.

“Names that stick in my mind are:  managing director Bill Green, Abrahams (secretary), Ted? and Dennis Murphy sales, Bert Peto purchasing, George Davies costings, Durrant accounts, Arthur Copus designer Plannair, Steve designer Lansing Bagnall (and the go-to first-aid man), Ron Deacon drawing office manager and Goblin vacuum cleaners, Joss ? tool designer, Fred Wright, John Sherlock and Derek Purser.

“Also, Jock ? factory manager, Johnny Elms toolroom manager, Charlie Hockley machine-shop foreman, Les Brookes leading hand, Dossy Coombes and his side kick “Smithy” milling, two Polish guys centre grinding, Ken? engraving, I cannot remember the guy on the autos – Rob or Bob?

“Then there was blind Mitch on the small capstan lathe with his fingers right in the cutting area. He was an amazing man. At tea breaks he would often remove his glass eyes and rub them in his handkerchiefs. 

” ‘They get sticky,’ he would say and pop them back into his eye sockets. Somewhat disturbing the first time you saw it.

“There was also the Canadian who looked after the tool store and Jack Steer maintenance. Reg Froud ran the moulding shop.

“I did not have too much to do with the electric guys over the road, but there was Ron Sawyer who worked out of the ‘house’ who did a lot of development work, and who I would work closely with as the tool designer.

“A favourite time was morning tea when those nice fresh bread rolls came round.

“I was fortunate to be able to visit Nelco on one of my overseas trips and to catch up with my old friends, once to Shalford and once to Farnham where I found and an old school mate Vic Rowlings, apparently the manager.”

The 12-page Nelco brochure. Click on images to enlarge in a new window.

The picture below has also been supplied by Mike Arthur and is a Nelco Christmas function from about 1962. Standing: Tony Weller, Mike Arthur, Michael Johnson, Pat Ellis. Seated: name unknown, Valerie Harden, Jennifer Steadman, name unknown.

Nelco Christmas function from about 1962.

Updated, January 2021

These superb pictures of women in what appears to be the armature winding shop have been emailed by Russell Wyld.

Josie Wyld pictured at Nelco in 1953.

The photos were taken in 1953 by R. Austin of Westborough.

Russell’s mother, Josie Wyld, is featured prominently in one photo and can be seen in several of the others, further down the work bench.

He says that every day for six years she would cycle to Shalford and back from her home in Farncombe, a total of five miles.

More photos of the women at Nelco in 1953.

The stamp on the back of one of the photos with the name of the photographer: R. Austin of 9 Hillspur Close, Westborough, Guildford.

Updated February 2021

Kim Jauncey, who has emailed these fantastic photos his father took, writes: “I was fascinated to come across your history of Nelco as it’s where my late father worked and I remember little about it as he changed jobs and we moved to Dorset when I was aged seven.

“My father’s name was Ted (William Edward) Jauncey and he was a draughtsman (jig and tool designer) at Nelco in Shalford.

Ted Jauncey is in the back row, third from left, with black hair and glasses. His son Kim says: “Sadly, he didn’t identify anyone else in the picture other than as friends from Nelco. I’ve no idea where it was taken but I’d imagine an after-work drink in one of the Shalford pubs?

Enjoying their drinks!

“He was also heavily involved in Scouts, leading the Shere and Peaslake troop for many years and a keen photographer and a member of Guildford Photographic Club.

“I’m not sure when he started but he certainly worked in Nelco during the Second World War (tales of working on secret MoD projects involving electric motors) and left in about 1960 to work at DevilBiss in Bournemouth.

Extension to the Nelco factory in 1951.

A visit to the Nelco factory by a Fremlins Brewery horse-drawn dray. The reason is not known.

The Fremlins Brewery dray pictured in Station Road, Shalford.

Kim says: “Sadly my dad passed away in 1983, aged 62, so I didn’t have nearly as much time with him as I would have liked to reminisce and look back over his photo collection.

“Dad was given a camera in 1938 for a scout camp (I have those photos) and he never looked back, he even photographed a few local events (weddings etc) semi-professionally with a plate camera.

“He was obsessed with sunrise/sunset photos (I’ve quite a number!) which may explain his forays on to the Nelco roof as a vantage point.”

A colourful sunrise pictured from the roof of the Nelco factory.

Also up on the roof, a view across to the Chantries and the open space sometimes known locally as “eye ball”.

A sunset from the roof of the Nelco factory.

Like many firms, Nelco staff organised social events for employees and their families. There were coach outings to theatres to see pantomimes and trips to the seaside. Here we see them enjoying some fun and games at Whiteways Lodge on the top of Bury Hill near Arundel in West Sussex.

Note the line of Aldershot & District Buses. Perhaps these were hired for the outing?

Does anyone recognise some of the people here?

Kim says this picture shows someone called Steve, who is pictured at his drawing board in 1943. It is not known if this is actually at Nelco.

And Ted (William Edward) Jauncey, also pictured in 1943.

Updates February 2022

In 1950 members of Shalford Women’s Institute compiled a scrapbook of village life with lots of photos and illustrations. Two pages featured Nelco. I have been fortunate to be able to have copied the whole scrapbook courtesy of current WI member Shirley Wood.

Can anyone name this Nelco worker? Page from Shalford WI’s 1950 scrapbook of village life. Click to enlarge image in a new window.

The first page on Nelco features an illustration of Nelco’s Solocar and a description of the firm. There is also a photo of a member of staff who appears to be testing an electric motor. Can anyone name him?

Can anyone name this women armature winding? Picture from Shalford WI’s 1950 scrapbook. Click on picture to enlarge in a new window.

On the second page there is a superb photo of a woman armature winding. Who is she?

I have a feeling that both these photos were taken by Nelco employee Charlie Hockley – a talented photographer who I know took photos of staff as I have some similar photos he took that I will feature here another time.

Carter’s ‘SQUEEZA’ drinks mixer. From Shalford WI’s 1950 scrapbook. Click on picture to enlarge in a new window.

And also on the second page is a photo of Carter’s ‘SQUEEZA’ drinks mixer. Presumably it was powered by a Nelco motor.

A few years ago, while giving one of my local history talks, I met David Jopson, who was an apprentice at Nelco from 1964. He remembered my dad, uncle Les Brookes and cousin Andy Brookes, among others.

David said he had a wartime lapel badge issued by Nelco to, I guess, younger men to wear to state they were in a reserved occupation on vital war work.

Badges like these were issued to war workers in case people approached them in the street, pub, or at dances, etc, and asked them why they weren’t in the armed forces and doing their bit in the fight against the Nazis.

I knew these Nelco badges existed as the now late Albert Carter of Albury had one and he showed it to me back in 1999. I guess my dad had a similar badge, but had thrown it away after the war.

Second World War ‘Engaged on National Service’ badge issued by Nelco Limited.

David Jopson said he would gladly give me the badge, which was given to him by Nelco worker Jim Workman (a person I recall as my dad knew him well). Trouble was David had to find it!

Well, now he has. We have met again and I am now the proud owner of it!

Additional Nelco details are always welcome. Email David Rose at

See also: Vintage Electric Car Made In Shalford By Nelco Has New Owner

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Responses to Updated February 2022: Piecing Together The Story of Shalford Engineering Firm Nelco

  1. Juan Salgueiro Reply

    September 3, 2013 at 10:47 pm

    My father also worked at Nelco from the 1960s until the early 1980s. You mention several times the Shalford factory as being in Shalford Road. It was in fact on two sites on Station Road with footpath access from the Kings Road. I lived on Station Road about eight houses up from the factory, opposite Buerk’s Pharmaceutical factory.

    [David Rose adds: Yes, you are quite right Nelco had its two factories in Station Road – slip of the keyboard there. I will make changes in the article. I too remember Buerk’s. And when driving through Shalford the other day I noticed that houses are now being built on the site of the main Nelco factory that had been an open space for some years. I have had an email from a cousin of mine (Andrew Brookes) who worked at Nelco and he has identified some of the guys in the photos. I have updated some of the captions now too.]

  2. Julian Felstead Reply

    December 5, 2013 at 2:33 pm

    I visited the Nelco factory in about June 1971.
    I was a 1st year OND engineering student at Brooklands Technical College at Weybridge and was supposed to have a placement starting there.
    When my Royal Enfield motorcycle failed to start that morning I was late and when I arrived about 9.45am I discovered that not only had I been sent along from my college but so had someone else… consequently they had already give the job to the other lad!
    They were, however, very kind and did show me around the whole place.
    Actually I did not think it was for me and was quite glad my bike had packed up!
    Eventually I found a placement at the West Surrey Water Board in Filmer Grove Godalming – funny old place – we called it Colditz Castle.
    I had a great apprenticeship there lots of fun and everything and they went on and sponsored me to go to university.
    So thanks Nelco for only having one place, and thanks to Royal Enfield too that day… but I wonder how life would have been for me if my bike had started… who knows…

  3. Alison Lincoln Reply

    July 16, 2014 at 4:57 am

    I can confirm that Dennis Murphy was the nephew of Frank Murphy of Murphy Radio, as I am a granddaughter of Frank Murphy. Dennis was the son of Harold, one of Frank’s older brothers. Another of Frank’s older brothers, Leonard, was also a managing director at Nelco. Please see the autobiography for Leonard Murphy at This article gives an alternative history on the company name.

    Dennis and his wife Doris lived in Shalford. They had no children. Doris owned two ladies dress shops, one in Guildford and I believe the other was in Godalming. Dennis left Nelco in the early 1970s as a result of the Lansing Bagnall takeover. Doris died in 1980 and Dennis passed away in 1994 at age 78.

  4. Dianne Pickford Reply

    September 1, 2014 at 2:49 pm

    I am absolutely fascinated to find this wonderful account of the Nelco’s History. My parents, Ronald and Vera Wellen (nee Goodchild), I believe knew David Rose’s parents Arthur and Freda Rose very well. I understand Arthur and Freda were my Godparents.

    My parents met in the factory, Ron being an electrician alongside Arthur and Vera in the Wages/Accounts Department. Over the years the friendship was lost although I was always regaled with fond memories of wartime Nelco days.

    My mother, I believe, once drove one of the Solocars up Guildford High Street as part of a demonstration/Carnival event..not sure. I have one photo of Ronald and Arthur together in the workshop which I can get to you if helpful. I was just searching out the history as my mother has just died aged 90 in Aug 2014. Ronald died in 1982.

  5. Ceri Davies Reply

    October 15, 2014 at 3:57 pm

    About 18 years ago I purchased a Nelco Solocar from a lady who was a retired Oxford University lecturer. She has had polio as a child and had used the Solocar as her means of transport. It still has her Iniversity Parks pass on it. It has a registration number and I have the documents she was provided with when she bought it. I presume she purchased it as new, though it wasn’t registered untiil around 1963 – I think that may be on the indroduction of a the Road Traffic Act in 1963 – but I could be wrong. I hope to one day get around to restoring it. I have over the years checked the internet for some information about the company and am pleased to have found this site with information about the company. The last time I searched must have been longer ago than I realised.

  6. David Jenkins Reply

    November 8, 2014 at 7:50 pm

    I have just purchased a Nelco Solocar in a recent auction (only last week).

    If you have any information about it I should be very pleased indeed if you could share it with me. I am planning to restore it – obviously taking photos before, after, and along the way.
    Please get in touch.
    Dai Jenkins, South Wales.

  7. Stuart Rielly Reply

    December 23, 2014 at 11:16 am

    Fascinating article and history!

    Especially as I was a company trainee at Nelco and started work at the Farnham factory in 1984 (aged 16), and if I recall correctly worked there until 1989, and then moved out of the area. I loved that job!

    I joined Nelco after leaving France Hill Secondary school in Camberley.

    I was basically an apprentice and worked in every department of the factory including armature winding, the DIP shop where coils were dipped in varnish and then baked, the commutator line, and eventually chose for my preference the machine shop where they had many manual machines and some very early NC machines (pre runner to CNC) that worked of a ticker tape.

    The company did make all manner of electric motors and in particular I remember they made parts for the spearfish torpedo. I remember that as I recall accidentally scrapping some parts at the time and getting filthy looks from my supervisor. I wasn’t the only one guilty of sending spearfish parts to the bin.

  8. Rick Dean Reply

    November 20, 2015 at 7:50 pm

    I started work at Nelco from 1970 to 1976 as an apprentice and my foreman was Les Brookes, a great man who I owe for making my career a success.

    I knew all the characters Mo Ansal, Dossy Combs, Jack (where’s me Stilsons?) Steer, Arthur Rose, and of course my future foreman Jonny Elms.

    Nelco gave me a great start and during my time I was lucky enough to win the title “national apprentice of the year”.

    The antics we used to get up to looking back are quite frightening, burying fireworks in the forge so when some unsuspecting user lit it, up it went, lighter fuel in the air line to make flame throwers and smouldering rags in the back of machines so it looked like they were on fire.

    I had a great time there and it was with deep sadness when it was demolished.

    [David Rose: There is a further story in preparation about Nelco at Shalford with further memories and some great pictures. Watch this space!]

  9. Brian Slade Reply

    May 10, 2016 at 3:56 pm

    Very good. I worked at Nelco as Engineering Manager from 1973 to 1991, and knew Arthur very well.

    We did make electric motors for cars, and also boats and airships.

  10. Jane Fulton Reply

    September 7, 2016 at 8:42 pm

    I have an old milkshake maker made at Nelco, Shalford, Surrey, with serial number etc.

    My mother who was British ran a popular Good Companions Milk Bar in Timber Street, Pietermaritzburg, South Africa in 1938 with her stepfather after leaving the UK.

    At the time the concept was considered very innovative and possibly the first milk bar in the country.

    As a child I grew up on chocolate milkshakes made in the mixer which still works very well!

    So glad to have been able to trace a bit of the history of the mixer, so thank you for having this website.

  11. Peter Knight Reply

    December 21, 2016 at 7:18 pm

    I worked at Nelco from from 1976 through its split with the ministry side which became Airscrew Howden.

    I remained with the commercial side at Farnham, met my wife Kay Hudson there, we had two boys while there and I have great memories of some of the people.

    These include some of the old school like Doss Coombs, Doug Geary, Henty (Titch) Hill, Sandy Hendy, Pat (last name gone) who became his wife, and the newer ones – Chris Cooper, Dave Standford, Barry Cole (‘more energy Barnett’), John and Roger Holloway, Joan Slingo, Jan Pinnels, Wendy Hudson (Foot), and many more extended family that we all grew up with.

    • Mark Knott Reply

      May 15, 2017 at 5:20 pm

      Bob Heaps and Phil Kirtley have been missed out. I recall that you were our inspection.

      If I remember correctly you were a great goalie for Farnham.

      And don’t forget chippy Chris Cooper’s brother.

      • Jim Fishwick Reply

        August 21, 2018 at 9:37 pm

        Les Hack and the foreman in the assembly side was Jim Holton. I worked with Chippy (Robin) Cooper my name is Jim Fishwick. We should not forget Pat Carrol.

  12. David Hammond Reply

    December 31, 2016 at 12:19 pm

    I worked at Nelco in Shalford as an apprentice from the age of 16 in 1965.

    At this time Bill Green was managing director and “Jock” Eavis was works manager.

    My first year was in the test department under, first, Harry Matthews, and after Harry retired, Bill Williams.

    Second year was in the machine shop underforeman Les Brookes. And it was during this year that Andy Brookes joined who became a friend and drinking companion.

    Also in the machines hop at this time was Dossie Coombes on the milling machines and Les Butler looking after a row of semi-automatic lathes.

    Third year was the assembly shop with Pete Waters, Arthur Roberts and Roy Sherlock.

    Next came the winding shop and then the drawing office headed by Arthur Copus.

    I worked under Ron Stevens and alongside among others were Martin Lunn, Dick Bidwell, Vic Rolands, Christine (who married Vic), and Linda Smith.

    On the opposite side of the road from the main building in the car park was a detached house that was used as an additional test department headed by Mr Davison with Bob Davis and Mr Giles who made among other things an automatic commutator cutting machine which was a joy to behold.

    Fellow apprentices were the aforementioned Andy Brookes, Jon Wotton and Malcolm Denyer.

    I left in early 1973 but still remember my time there and the people I worked with fondly.

  13. Pamela Pickering (nee Deacon) Reply

    February 12, 2018 at 8:19 pm

    My dad was Ron Deacon. My mother was Gladys Ceacon, and she used to wind armatures in the machine shop.

    They moved from Maidenhead and bought a house in Shalford.

    Dad was a draughtsman and his boss was Bill Green.

    He also used to help run the ENSA shows. He was a pianist, and also used to love the comedy.

    It was so nice to see your article about Nelco which was brought to my attention by my neice who was helping her son with homework about WW2 and came across your article.

  14. Mervyn Granshaw Reply

    February 13, 2018 at 2:06 pm

    In the first two images of the Nelco concert party are my father Dennis Granshaw from Shalford.

    In the first image he is in the back row, second from left playing banjo. Next to him, third from left, is Ron Stevens. Dolly Southern is on the left in the front row and next to her Eileen Allen, wife of Fred Allen.

    In the next image my father is playing violin and in pink is his sister Grace.

    My father’s quartet also played at Arthur Rose’s wedding.

  15. Susan Anne Booth Reply

    August 23, 2018 at 5:36 pm

    My dad Norman Booth worked at Nelco in the 50s 60s as an electrical engineer. He met my mum Ena Stevens there and they were married in 1955. Dad always cycled there from Guildford.

    I was born in 1957 and remember the Christmas parties in the early 60s. If anyone has photos of that time I would love to see them or if anyone recognises my parents’ names.

  16. Freda Baird Reply

    September 6, 2018 at 9:52 am

    My Uncle, Sus Majda, worked at Nelco after the war.

    He died a couple of weeks ago aged 93 so I guess there will not be many who will remember him.

    I remember him making a pram for my cousin Paul from off cuts of the material from the Solocar and an old frame he found.

    He was amazing and made a really good job of it!

  17. Manji Kara Reply

    August 30, 2020 at 6:09 pm

    I was quality manager at Polaron Engineering in Watford from 1987 to 2001.

    I think around 1995 Polaron Engineering bought Nelco and brought the production facility to 20 Greenhill Crescent, Watford.

    Products included brushless motors, commutators and traction motors for vehicles.

    Most products were discontinued or sold off but Phil Kirtley and his partner Kathy (King or Knight, name escapes me) continued the production of commutators.

    I revisited the firm around 2010-12. I am not sure if they are still there. I moved to the railway industry in 2001.

  18. Maureen Seville (Workman) Reply

    October 20, 2020 at 12:46 pm

    I am Jim and Evelyn Workman’s daughter.

    Reading this brought back a lot of memories of my childhood. I remember a lot of the people mentioned.

    I remember mum and dad often talked about the concert party during the war. My brother and I used to watch the Nelco cricket team at Shalford on a Sunday and remember the wonderful children’s Christmas parties and summer outings to the coast.

  19. Mick Worsfold Reply

    November 18, 2020 at 10:19 am

    My mum cleaned the Nelco offices in the evenings in the late 50s to early 60s. I can recall hearing many of the names mentioned in the article and comments being mentioned in conversations at home.

    We lived at 28 Station Road in those days and would see many of the Nelco staff go by and those who worked at Premier Cooler as well.

    Premier Cooler was demolished and became Berk Pharmaceuticals which closed in 1983. Some of the staff, including me, relocated to the Eastbourne factory.

  20. Corey J Amidon Reply

    January 17, 2021 at 12:00 am

    Interesting. I have a couple of old 1920s radiator heaters with blowers that both have HER-NEL-cO motors.

    The alternating current motor. They are on the herman nelson hi jet heaters. Marked HI Jet Heater No. 42 220 volts .9 amps 60 cycle 1/8 I’m guessing horse powerr.p.m 1725 860 type HH2 No 723002 the Herman Nelson Corporation, Moline, Illinois.

    These things are beautiful which is why I bought them, they even worked when taken down! I have found no info. Maybe we can help each other out?

    If anyone has any information message or call me at

  21. Kim Jauncey Reply

    February 10, 2021 at 4:34 pm

    My late father, Ted Jauncey, worked at Nelco until the end of 1959. He was a draughtsman (jig and tool designer), local scout leader, keen photographer and we lived in Gomshall.

    Does anyone remember him?

  22. Chris Hodson Reply

    February 17, 2021 at 3:31 pm

    I am looking for help in finding documents for a Hydraulic Test Rig Power Pack A149596 1730-99-206-9056. This was manufactured/ designed by NELCO.

    Thank you in advance to anyone who can help.

  23. Jayne Hall Reply

    February 27, 2021 at 11:00 am

    My father Jack Hutchins worked at Nelco for over 25 years but he unfortunately died in 1981 at the age of 56 so my memories of his time at the factory are very sketchy. But I do remember some of the names already mentioned.

    In the picture of the Christmas party, I am the girl on the right next to Father Christmas who happened to be my Uncle Doug. Two of his children, Theresa and Anthony are also in the picture along with my sister Carol who is at the back on the right next to the tree. I have other pictures of the Christmas party but they are of just the family.

    We also went to the London Palladium to see at least two pantomimes, Cinderella in 1966, starring Cliff Richard and The Shadows and in 1967 Robinson Crusoe starring Englebert Humperdink.

    In the summer, we had a coach outing to Littlehampton and the children were given tickets to use at the funfair and on the way home we would stop at a pub for crisps and a bottle of pop.

  24. Julia Street Reply

    March 23, 2021 at 7:34 am

    Before the old Nelco, in Shalford, was demolished, it was used by a company called ‘TimeTrax’, for some years, I worked part-time there. They were a company that studied soil samples, from all over the world, searching for oil.

  25. Alan Yates Reply

    June 28, 2021 at 2:34 pm

    I was born in Guildford in 1950 and went to Sandfield School in the town and George Abbot School, Burpham.

    I worked at Nelco in Shalford for a fortnight in about 1971/72. I also interviewed to transfer to the Farnham site in that two weeks, both positions in the workshops as machine setter/operator. I resigned. I therefore have little recollection of my own time there, sorry.

    In the pair of photos showing the lads outside an unidentifiable pub, Ted Jauncey is named. Next to him in the back row, the last man on the right with the raised glass, is my Father, Lewis Yates.

    I think the photo must date from 1950-52.

    My Father and Uncle started their own engineering company in Farnham in 1953, Yates Brothers Engineers.

    I have not seen mention in the emails or Nelco story elsewhere, of its possibly most famous employee of immediately prior to the Second World War, John King.

    He left Nelco, went into business, married well and during the war, manufactured parts for armaments in a farm building outside Guildford.

    He became Lord King of Wartnaby, Margaret Thatcher’s favourite business man.

    He prepared British Airways for privatisation.

    Visit YouTube and search Airline 1990 British Airways 2. Nelco makes an appearance about 11 minutes in, Les Brookes is interviewed briefly.


    Good luck with your work on this story of Nelco.

    Guildford, in common with the rest of this country has lost too many worthwhile manufacturing companies like Nelco to overseas industries.

    David Rose replies: Thank you for your kind comments. I have just watched the clip on You Tube and I now remember seeing it when it was first screened on TV. Lovely to see my uncle Les Brookes! Also, my dad (Arthur Rose) used to talk about John King when he was at Nelco. And Bert Evans, who was my dad’s good friend, also knew King as they worked together at Nelco. Bert used to tell a story that King was so hard up then, Bert used to lend him clean shirts when King had a date with his fancy lady friends!

  26. John Allen Reply

    August 1, 2021 at 12:17 am

    I once lived in Shalford but moved to Godalming.

    In the first picture of the Concert Party is my mother Eileen Allen (nee Iddenden). She is second from left in the purple dress playing the banjo mandolin – which I still have. My uncle Fred Iddenden is playing the drums in the background.

    My mother was taught the banjo mandolin by Dennis Granshaw who also taught his son Mervin, who has contributed his own reply I see, and me. Hope that helps.

  27. Mervyn Granshaw Reply

    December 16, 2021 at 7:54 pm

    Hello John, It’s been a while since you boarded an aircraft I was about to fly and wondered whether you had made a wise decision.

    Regrettably, I have no recollection of your mum or of you and I being taught together. Were we? Or were your lessons at another time?

    I still have the violins (apart from one good one which was stolen from school) and the 8-string mandolins (one of which my dad made). Maybe one day they’ll come back into fashion! Hope you are well.

  28. Maureen Maynard (nee Rolland) Reply

    February 2, 2022 at 4:06 pm

    My Brother, Vic Rolland, started at the Nelco as an apprentice at the end of 1956 and was in employment until approximately 1985.

    He went through all the departments on the apprenticeship scheme and eventually became joint managing director.

    I’m sure he could name a lot of the people on the photos that are not named at present.

    If anybody would like to know about the time he was employed there I’m sure he would be pleased to help.

    David Rose replies: Vic is welcome to email me at

  29. Peter Rafano Reply

    February 13, 2022 at 1:43 pm

    My grandfather, Reginald Jarvis, and mother, Ann Jarvis, both worked at Nelco. I recall mum telling me she worked on commutators.

    David Rose replies: Thank you Peter for your comment. Reg Jarvis was good friends with my dad, Arthur Rose, as of course they worked together at Nelco. He was always known as Basil Jarvis to our family. I’m not sure how he got that name, but I remember him well as he often called in to see us, especially after he retired. He served in the First World War in a Devon regiment, as that’s the county where I think he came from originally. He also told a few stories about his time in the trenches in France during the Great War, which fascinated me. He was a lovely man.

  30. Angela Iddenden Reply

    May 13, 2023 at 11:41 am

    My father was Freddy Iddenden he played the drums and was in the 1950’s football team photo.

    My mother worked at Nelco too, her name was Joyce Burchfell.

  31. Andy Stephens Reply

    May 24, 2023 at 8:07 pm

    My grandad Bill Kubica worked there.

  32. Richard West Reply

    December 26, 2023 at 7:34 pm

    My grandfather was Victor (Vic) Dann. He worked at Nelco at Shalford for over 25 years. I have his watch which was presented to him in 1976 for 25 years service. So he would have started there in 1951.

    He had a disability, his right leg was badly injured in a motorcycle accident in 1936 and he therefore drove a mobility car. He lived in Alfold near Cranleigh.

    If anyone has any memories or photos of him I would be delighted to find out. Reading about the history of Nelco here has been very interesting.

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