In 1893, the great-grandsons of Jacob Perkins, one of the founders of the company, merged the A.M. Perkins & Son Ltd business in London with Werner & Pfleiderer (London) Ltd to form Werner Pfleiderer & Perkins Ltd.
Lacking room to expand the business in London, in 1903, Mr Frederick Charles Ihlee, the MD of WP&P, bought 10 acres of land in Westfield Road, Peterborough from the Church Commissioners for £3040.
In 1904, the first WP&P factory was built on the site.
1913: First talks took place between Werner, Pfleiderer & Perkins and Joseph Baker & Sons
In 1914, following escalating attacks on businesses and people with German sounding names in Peterborough, Westwood Works was formed as a separate company and changed its name to Perkins Engineers Ltd. The Pfleiderer family also changed their name to Pelmore.
By 1918, final negotiations were in place for the merger with Joseph Baker & Sons Ltd. of Willesden – a company originated by the other co-founder of Baker Perkins, Joseph Baker.
1919: The two companies merged to become Joseph Baker Sons & Perkins
Land in Alma Road was purchased in 1919 to create a Sports Ground with a Club House being opened by Mr. F.C. Ihlee in 1938.
On 2nd March 1922, a major fire occurred at Westwood Works. Starting in the paint rooms, it soon spread to the wooden beams and the workshop roofs collapsed. Fortunately, the administration block, with the company's current records, was saved.
In 1923, less than a year later, the factory was back in full production. The Works were rebuilt and additions made at a cost of £9,000 with a further £8,000 being invested in enlarging the office accommodation.
In 1923, the name of the company was changed to ‘Baker Perkins Ltd’.
In 1924, Baker Perkins entered the laundry machinery market with the purchase of Aublet Harry whose factory was also built in 1904 and was situated on the opposite side of Westfield Road.
In 1932, F.C. Ihlee wrote to Peterborough Council seeking approval to the preliminary plans for the first Multi-Storey Office block. Construction was completed in 1933.
In 1933, workers from the Joseph Baker & Sons Ltd Factory in Willesden were transferred to Peterborough. ‘Artisan’ houses were built for them in Willesden Avenue in Walton. Some of the managers were housed in a new development - Brackley Close in Westwood.
The Westwood Works Fire Brigade was formed in 1937 and was equipped with uniforms and a Trailer Pump in 1938. The Works Fire Station was built in the following year.
In 1938, A.I. (later Sir) Ivor Baker, set up a small Apprentice Bay on the ground floor of the first multi-storey office block.
By 1950, the number of apprentices in training was 200 and rising rapidly, and in 1952 it was decided that a purpose-built Apprentice School was needed. Despite the national shortage of building materials after the war, recognition of the importance of apprentice training led to a building licence being issued immediately.
In December 1952, the foundation stone was laid by Mrs Dumbleton and in a cavity beneath the stone the youngest pre-apprentice, Philip Brookbank, deposited a “time capsule” - a copper casket containing coins of the realm, newspapers, company reports, indentures and certificates of apprenticeship, together with a letter signed by Ivor Baker.
On 19th January 1954, the Apprentice School on Westfield Road was officially opened by Harold Watkinson, the Parliamentary Under Secretary to the Minister of Labour.
By 1955, the original 10-acre site had grown to 40. The site now filled virtually the whole of Westfield Road in the south, to Freeman's warehouse in the north and from the railway in the east to the line of Saville Road in the west.
1966: The Holding Company building was opened.
1971: Baker Perkins International moved from Stanhope Gate, London to Peterborough
A second multi-storey office block was built in 1975.
1986: Bakery machinery business moved from Westfield Road to Coningsby Road, Bretton, Peterborough
In 1987, Baker Perkins merged with APV of Crawley and the company took the name of APV Baker.
1989: Bretton site closed following the creation of the Baked Products division.
In 1989, Rockwell bought the Westwood site and printing machinery business.
In the summer of 1991, APV Baker’s food machinery business moved to a new 24-acre site in Paston, Peterborough, leaving only the printing machinery business at Westwood Works.
The Apprentice School, now owned by Rockwell, was closed in June 1991.
Printing machinery production ended at Westwood Works in December 1992, when Rockwell moved its operation to its Preston headquarters.
In April 2003, work began on demolishing the factory and offices - apart from the Holdings Company building and the Apprentice School building,– both of which are still standing in 2009.
Work began on building the new prison – HMP Peterborough - as soon as the demolition of the buildings at the north end of the site began. It today occupies the northern-most end of the site with the outer security wall finishing approximately where the Pattern Shop used to be.
On 4th September 2006, the Deputy Mayor of Peterborough named the landscaped area between the Prison and Westfield Road ‘Baker Park’.
Earlier in 2006, on 1st April, the name of Baker Perkins had been revived when the APV Baker food machinery business at Paston, Peterborough, changed ownership.
The Heritage Timeline
The Timeline below was produced by Mike Heavens and Gabrielle
Abbott for the September 2004 Open Day at APV Baker. It shows some of the significant
landmarks from the past 100 years, showing how the products, corporate identity
and working methods have changed.
Please note that the Timeline is a very large graphic and may
take a while to download. To navigate along the Timeline, use the horizontal
scroll bar at the bottom of the screen or use the left and right arrow keys.