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Bombardier Newtownards General Engineering factory to close

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smudge:
There have been rumours floating around the town for a few months that the Bombardier factory site on the Crawfordsburn Road had been sold for housing development.  Over the weekend I had confirmation that the site will be closing in April 2016.

It started life as the Shorts Glen Works*, later renamed Light General Engineering Division, and in addition to manufacturing sub-assemblies for the 'big' factories it also produced its own end-products, including: ( Edit: corrected name to General Engineering ).


* The Nobel car
* Metroluk brand carpet sweepers!
* Prototype Shorland APCs, before Queen's Island 'stole' the production
* Integrated rack-mounted airliner seating, which Shorts patented
* Those hair-drying bubbles once so common in hair-dressers
I'm not sure what they produced under the secretive Bombardier regime but from occasional peeks I managed through various external doors it looked like Learjet fuselage frames.

The other Bombardier site in the town is the Hawlmark heavy-pressings facility just around the corner, on Corry Street.  As far as I am aware it will not be affected.


I'll contact Bombardier to see if they'd organise a farewell tour but from previous experience I doubt they'll comply.



* The lower Crawfordsburn Road was originally a combination of an extension of William Street ( the flat lower section ) and the Glen Road ( the steep hill up to Tullynagardy ).

viking9:
Sad news. Do you know how many are employed there?

smudge:
Here is the site as it exists today, looking east courtesy of Bing oblique imagery.

The factory was squeezed into a site formerly occupied by flax bleaching greens, bounded to the north by the river ( now culverted, marked in blue ) and the south by a huge embankment for the B&CDR railway ( now removed and paralleld by the Hardford Link road ).

The little row of terraced houses to the north-east of the site is Red Row, built for the supervisors of the Glen Printing works farther to the north ( see http://www.newtownards.info/glen-print.htm ).

In latter years, the past decade or so, the large buildings to the west of the site ( bottom of photo ) were leased-out to Banner Distribution, formerly HMSO's stationery division and now are occupied by TruLine Delivery, itself the former delivery arm of Banner!  When Shorts occupied the buildings they used to have a series of large skips situated to the lower-right from which the local populace used to avail themselves of many useful-but-discarded materials...

smudge:

--- Quote from: viking9 on January 25, 2016, 08:03:25 AM ---Sad news. Do you know how many are employed there?

--- End quote ---

Good question; I'll count the cars parked there and add on a couple for the valiant cyclists! 

Edit: Looks like about 80 to 120 per shift.

I couldn't find exactly when it was opened but it was well established by 1956 when problems in the British Motor Company resulted in a trance of lay-offs.   In the previous year they were hit by the cancellation of the Supermarine Swift.

Four years later the Nobel car production was reallocated to Fairey.

Things haven't really seemed to improve in the subsequent 60 years...

Dr Draken:
They also manufactured fuel tanks for Stirlings there during WW2.
Or at least put the rubber/fabric self sealing covering on the tanks.

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