Bletchley's decision to expand brought with it a need for an increase in industry. The town did not have a wide variety of employment choices prior to the 1950's and an increased population would, of course, bring with it greater demand.
Roland Doggett of the 'Bletchley & District Archaeological & Historical Society' talks about Bletchley's early industry.
Text version.
The town's officials were aware of this. On 11th December 1952, the Ministry of Housing and Local Government and members of Bletchley Urban District Council attended a conference at the Board of Trade headquarters in London to discuss the transfer of industries from the city to Bletchley. Originally, Bletchley's 'overspill' negotiations only involved five London Boroughs, but it was proposed at this meeting that the town be linked with 12 other authorities - including Hornsey, Tottenham, Enfield and Finchley. By 1953, these authorities had indeed become involved in Bletchley's scheme. At a meeting on 24th September 1953 at Manor Fields Sports Pavilion in Bletchley, there was discussion as to whether London should send industries with places for specific Londoners , or just send industrial places equivalent to the number of people sent.
Thermal Efficiency Building on Denbigh industrial estate.
By November 1953, the 'Industrial Selection Scheme' was in force. Under the scheme, London local authorities had to inform the Ministry of Labour if they wished to take part, as the Ministry would not consult an authority's list of unemployed when filling expanded town vacancies unless it had registered for Industrial Selection. People who wished to transfer employers to towns such as Bletchley had to obtain a certificate from their exporting authority to prove that they had registered under the scheme and were on the housing waiting list, before a house could be allocated.
By March 1957, an industrial area of 114 acres had been developed to provide employment for 2,382 persons. A further 830 persons were employed by the brickworks, giving total employment for 3,212 people - 2,044 men and 1,168 women.
Dyson Diecasting Co. Building.
This development was the Denbigh industrial estate alongside the A5, which had begun in the early 1950's - opening its first factory, High Precision Equipment Ltd., in December 1954.
Companies that moved to the town from London included - Filtrona Ltd. [engineering], Cigarette Components Ltd. [cigarette filter tips], Acorn Anodising Ltd. [metal finishing], Belsize Engineering Ltd., Dyson & Co.Enfield Ltd. [die-casting], S.S. White Co. Ltd. [dental manufacturing]. One of Bletchley's most famous imported companies is Marshall Amplification. Jim Marshall came to Bletchley in 1966 and currently occupies a factory on Denbigh Road, which has expanded considerably over the years.
Left: Marshall Amplification today.
Bletchley industry was dealt something of a blow in 1961 when its Wipac factory closed down and relocated to Buckingham. The Council turned this to the town's advantage, however, by purchasing the premises in 1962 and creating several units that were then successfully leased to incoming companies. 1963 saw a downturn in the number of companies transferring to Bletchley, so Bletchley Urban District Council and London County Council put renewed vigour into promoting the town to London's local authorities. In 1964, leaflets extolling the benefits of moving to Bletchley were sent to all Ministry of Labour offices in the London area.

Adequate industry was in place as the Lakes estate began to develop in 1968, however. The Greater London Council , London County Council's successor, nominated tenants for the Lakes' homes and they did not always send people as quickly as Bletchley Manufacturers' Association claimed they were needed.

1969 saw Bletchley District Gazette reporting that factories were 'flocking' to Bletchley. The Mount Farm industrial estate was now developing, close to what had been the gravel pits. Compound Sections Ltd., Criterion Graphic Products Ltd. and Grundfos Pumps Ltd. had just moved in.

Bletchley still has several companies that originated in London. These include - Marshall Amplification Plc., Dyson & Co. Ltd. and Belsize Engineering Ltd. Some have left Bletchley, but only moved as far as Milton Keynes. Two of these are Filtrona Ltd. - now at Linford Wood - and the Meat and Livestock Commission - now at Winterhill.

Return to map of Bletchley