Administrative / Biographical History
Greenwood and Batley were a large engineering manufacturer with a wide range of products, including armaments, electrical engineering, and printing and milling machinery. They also produced a range of battery-electric railway locomotives under the brand name Greenbat. The works was in Armley, Leeds, UK. Thomas Greenwood and John Batley first set up their business in 1856, both having previously worked at Fairburn's Wellington Foundry in Leeds. Their first premises, the Albion Foundry, was taken over from Thomas W. Lord. The foundry was located on East Street by the River Aire (Aire and Calder Navigation), however this quickly became too small for their needs and in 1859 they constructed the Albion Works in Armley Road, Leeds. In 1885the company branched out into Flour and Oil Milling Machinery as a result of the acquisition of the business of Joseph Whitham, Perseverance Iron Works, Kirkstall Road, Leeds. By 1888 the works covered 11 acres (45,000 m2) and employed around 1600 men. A rail connection with the Great Northern Railway was installed in 1890 to bring in raw materials and to deliver finished products. Greenwood and Batley rapidly became a giant of a company, manufacturing an incredible range of products. Their primary business was military equipment both in terms of machinery to make armaments and the production of components such as bullets and shell cases. They also produced some of the first tanks in the First World War. An early innovation was the installation of their own electricity generating station, completed in 1894. This allowed machine tools to be electrically driven rather than the traditional common shafts driven by steam. This development was to prove profitable in other ways, as the company was able to provide similar generator stations for both public supplies and industrial applications e.g. tramways, as one of its range of products. A further acquisition in 1896 saw Greenwood and Batley take over Smith, Beacock and Tannett, Victoria Foundry, Water Lane, Leeds. This company was the successor to the Murray Round Foundry and was principally involved in the manufacture of Machine Tools. The company became part of the Fairbairn-Lawson Group in the late 1960s; however, trading conditions were not favourable, and in April 1980 the receivers were called in and 480 employees made redundant. The company was bought by Hunslet Holdings for £1.65M who continued to use the Greenbat name for their battery locomotives. By 1984 the work had been transferred to Jack Lane and the Albion Works were mothballed. In 1987 the site was sold and the works demolished.