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Our History & Heritage
LS are one of the UK's oldest electrical machinery manufacturers, starting operations in 1883 with William Harding Scott's dynamo, built to be supplied to Colman's, the famous Norwich mustard and cooking sauces company. Mr Reginald Laurence provided the main financial backing and security of the partnership from 1888 and, with the restraining arm of Mr Cecil Wilson as Company Secretary to hold back the excesses of excellence pursued by Scott the engineer,
Laurence, Scott & Co. flourished in the design and manufacture of electrical generators and motors. The company became involved in all aspects of electrical supply, providing power stations for Norwich and Ipswich, laying distribution mains to consumers and developing the first "off-peak" meter.
However, its real vocation lay in electric motors and the new Gothic Works in Hardy Road was opened in 1896, exclusively devoted to the manufacture of motors and generators. LS still occupies the site at Hardy Road.
Scott was one of the first to recognise that users expected motors to perform solidly, with a minimum of attention in largely unfavourable conditions, and his motors developed into totally enclosed variations with a high degree of mechanical protection for reliable and robust operation. The company had already demonstrated its ability to make motors well able to stand the conditions of use at sea, and soon became very busy with the manufacture of motors for the immediate predecessors of the "Dreadnought". Ammunition hoists and ventilating fan motors were made in quantity, and there was larger and more complicated equipment for windlasses, turret-turning gear, etc.
Recent photographs from submersibles of the Titanic wreck clearly show a Laurence, Scott fan unit, and its twin is clearly visible in the film of the same name behind Kate Winslett during an emotionally charged scene. Further marine involvement came from the design and very successful introduction of electric cargo winches (the "Scott" winch, as they became known), steering gear and other electrical equipment. The Empress of Britain launched in 1920's had 4000 hp (3000kW) of the company's electrical equipment on board.
The years immediately before and during the Great Depression presented mixed fortunes for many companies and electrical supplies utilities were changing from DC to AC, with a consequent shift in Laurence Scott product.
In 1927, Electromotors Ltd of Manchester was amalgamated into the company to become Laurence Scott and Electromotors Ltd.
LS pioneered the development of welded steel-frame construction for AC machines, and soon both Manchester and Norwich became busy operating sites, with small machines made in Manchester and the large machines and 'specials' built in Norwich. Machines made at this time included standard squirrel-cage and slip-ring motors, and also auto-synchronous and hypo-synchronous machines, alternators and generators.
In an idle moment, the Design Dept. developed a mechanism for automatically controlling traffic flow at road junctions, eventually to become "traffic lights" so beloved of drivers and pedestrians all over the world.
Just before the Second World War, the company started the manufacture of a variable speed AC motor (named the N-S) which met the growing demand for a reliable and efficient machine capable of giving step-less speed variation over the desired range, under hand or automatic control. This was supplied in large numbers for the drive of draught fans and other auxiliaries required in the post-war power station building program.
The TRISLOT squirrel-cage machine was a further development, offering high-torque low-current starting, and displaced virtually all slip-ring motors for the majority of applications.
In more recent times, LS has maintained its links with marine and defence applications, providing motor generator sets for both the British Royal Navy and others, electric propulsion motors for the Trident class of submarines and for Tigerfish torpedoes and for numerous commercial ships and off-shore oil & gas rigs. The power generating industry has also been a successful market for LS machines, for example, cooling water circulating pump motors have been supplied to a high proportion of PWR nuclear power plants world-wide.
One distinguished LS motor drove the 8.7m Howden tunneling machine used to dig the UK side of the Channel Tunnel. Pioneering Work carried out by LS:
- Development of a Practical Industrial Motor suitable for Workshop Conditions
- Origination of the use of MICA for Control Gear Insulation
- Development of Marine Electric Motor, as distinct from a superficially modified Standard Industrial Motor
- Development for Totally Enclosed Fan-Cooled Motors, both AC and DC
- Introduction of Fabricated Steel-Frame Construction for Industrial Motors
- Introduction of TRISLOT High-Torque Low-Current Squirrel-Cage Motor
- Development of Water-Cooled Flameproof Motors
- Development of Four Pole Synchronous Machines
- 1883 - Jeremiah Colman commissioned Hammond Electric Light and Power Supply Company of Nottingham to install electric light into the Colman's mustard plant. William Harding Scott and E A Paris came to Colmans and were each paid a salary. Scott's dynamo works and lighting arrives at Colmans. Scott is provided with accommodation by Colmans - a cottage in Bracondale.
- 1884 - Scott rented property at 107 King Street, Norwich on a 21 year lease and the partnership of Paris and Scott began
- 1888 - Reginald Laurence joined Paris and Scott and formed the Limited Company Laurence Paris and Scott. His investment - £6,000! Jeremiah Colman bought shares to the value of £3,000 and the partners all took a total of £3,000 in shares. In this year E R Coote joins the Company - read his personal letter on the 'Norfolk Ancestors' Web Site
- 1890 - Laurence Scott and Co floated in this year. "Norwich Ship Lighter" released into the marine market
- 1896 - New works building began. The land for the new works was bought on the north bank of the Wensum
- 1897 - C Wilson became a Company Director
- 1898 - Transfer of land completed and the new factory was to be called the Gothic Works. The factory space covered at least 7,500 square feet and had 150 employees. - Sisling made Company Director in this year
- 1901 - First motorised crane was installed
- 1905 - Another measure of land was purchased and a New Test Shop was constructed
- 1908 - New Test Shop completed in 1908
- 1912 - Torrential rain flooded parts of the Gothic Workshops and offices - under 2 feet of water. Scott turned his attentions to electrically starting and lighting cars
- 1920 - A large house purchased by Laurence and Scott in Thorpe Road, Norwich, it was converted into offices and control gear works built in the grounds. It became known as "Switchworks"
- 1923 - Death of Laurence. "Switchworks" completed
- 1929 - Formation of Laurence Scott and Electromotors Limited
- 1937 - A further extension was added to the Works - this doubled the Works in size and there were then 3,000 employees
- 1938 - Sadly in this year Scott's youngest son Tom and then Scott himself died within a month of each other
- 1940 - Captain G J Scott, Scott's older son, dies in this year
- 1953- A new building was completed and the most up to date equipment installed, which was designed to cope with all types and sizes of motors envisaged
- 1957 - New office block completed
- 1959 - Laurence and Scott established another facility at Blantyre in Scotland
- 1960 - Enlarged heavy machine Bay completed
- 1980's (Mid) - Plating Shop closed. Doncaster based Mining Supplies Limited take over LS
- 1982 - Mining Supplies Limited moved the Instrument Department from Thorpe Road to Salhouse Road in Norwich. The Switchgear went to the Gothic works and LS (Wolverhampton) Ltd
- 1981 - Dispute and threat of redundancies due to lack of demand for the products at Openshaw
- 1986- Thorpe Road foundry and Wolverhampton, the Salhouse Road Works retained by Mining Supplies as part of LS (Defence Systems) Ltd which later became MSI Defence Systems