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Westwood Works 1903-2003

The Laboratory and Metallurgical Department

The Laboratory in 1922 Margaret Farrow at work in the Laboratory in 1985.

Existing mainly for the benefit of the Foundry, this rather hidden away part of the Works where, among other activities, tests were carried out on raw materials to determine their suitability for particular applications. In 1928, Barton Baker described the activities of the Laboratory as including:

"The Chemist is responsible for keeping the Foundry stock at the prescribed level (in general three months) and is also responsible for the quality of all foundry supplies requisitioned by him. Weekly analyses are made of the metal used in castings and these are recorded in a book which is passed to the Secretariat for inspection by the Works Manager. The Works Manager has a report of all waste castings and it is the Chemist's business to provide an explanation for such imperfections in order that they may be properly accounted and steps taken to reduce their number to a minimum.

A little research work is done but this is not an important part of the work of the Laboratory and is, therefore, only carried out when routine  work permits and in the main only concerns questions of metallurgy."

Derek Exton, who started his apprenticeship in March 1947 and spent a short time in the Laboratory as part of his training as a Service Engineer, recalls that the Laboratory was situated originally in the main stores overlooking the main railway line and marshalling yards. It was moved later into the new purpose built Heat Treatment Shop adjacent to the Foundry. His first job was working with Ted Beven, the company Metallurgist, as a laboratory assistant before moving, in September of 1947, to the Apprentice Bay Training School.

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