Hamworthy reaches 100-year milestone
Poole’s engineering success story Hamworthy, now part of the Wärtsilä Corporation, celebrates its 100th birthday this year, and the occasion was marked by recounting the stories of support and ingenuity of the local community.
The event was opened by broadcaster Fred Dinenage, who spoke about the key changes in Hamworthy’s history prior to 1990, drawing parallels with the changing face of manufacturing in the UK. Other presentations came from Kelvyn Derek, who discussed the challenges and key decisions he faced during his time as CEO of the company, and Joe Thomas, Managing Director, Wärtsilä Water Systems, who reflected on the company’s recent history before looking to the future.
Around 70 guests, which included local people with stories to tell, the Mayor of Poole and of Bournemouth, saw a display comprising a series of posters, equipment and machinery which told the story of the 100-year history. Guests were given a commemorative brochure – containing a century of photographs of people, pumps, compressors and other engineering innovations taken at the original factory on Poole Quay up to the present day Fleets Corner site – to keep as a memento.
The community focus also included younger people, with students from local schools in attendance as Hamworthy looks to inspire the engineers of tomorrow. Hamworthy is providing St Aldhelm’s Academy, Corfe Hills School and Lytchett Minster School each with a donation of £500. The funding will be used to provide annual prizes for students undertaking design- and technology-based projects. Despite organic growth, mergers and acquisitions over the years to achieve global market penetration, Hamworthy’s heritage remains firmly in Poole and its success can be attributed to the support and ingenuity of the local community.
Joe Thomas commented: “From a ‘Class A’ Admiralty-approved establishment producing items such as turret rings for battleships in 1914 to market leading technology including water management systems for commercial vessels today, Hamworthy’s ties with both the Poole community and maritime industry span a century. We wanted to share the stories of Hamworthy’s past and celebrate the contribution of the people of Poole to a UK manufacturing success story that has stood the test of time.”
In collating people’s memories of the company, some incredible stories have been unearthed, providing a wonderful insight into the past of Poole’s community, from a gentleman who used to row the ladies to work every day to two men, both called Mike, who retired last year and clocked 100 years’ service between them. Hamworthy Heating have been running a similar campaign, and both them and John Zink Hamworthy (formally Hamworthy Combustion) who were both part of the original Hamworthy Engineering company, also remain at the Fleets Corner site in Poole.
Thomas concluded: “The company has been part of Poole’s history for 100 years, employing and affecting thousands of local people. Following the traditions of ‘strength and service’ laid down by its founding brothers, Percy Francis Hall and Sidney Zaleski Hall, it’s a fitting time to recognise and thank all those whose own history is closely interwoven with Hamworthy.”
Press Release, July 7, 2014