Friday, 31 August 2012

Aerlec (Aluminium) Ltd, Birmingham

Bond Street is home to many fashionable and expensive shops. But that's Bond Street, London. In Birmingham, Bond Street runs through a largely unattractive industrial area to the north west of the city center. However for those interested in industrial archeology the area isn't without interest and Constitution Hill nearby has some good examples of Victorian architecture.

Over the years companies have come and gone but some of them have left their marks on the buildings. One of these was Aerlec (Aluminium) Ltd, which was temporarily based in Bond Street.
As the name suggests, it was a manufacturer of aluminium alloy. It also stocked sheets, rods and tubes. The company is first mentioned in 1939 in two journals for the aviation industry. Indeed airplane manufacturers and plane maintenance companies seem to have been its main customers.

(Aluminium) Ltd

Birmingham was heavily bombed during the Second World War and this may have prompted Aerlec (Aluminium) Ltd to relocate to Stoke Wharf, just south of Bromsgrove in Worcestershire. Another reason for the relocation may have been the sale in 1942 by G. S. James, the company's chairman and managing director, of all his shares to British Emulsifiers Ltd for £450,000. The acquisition of Aerlec allowed British Emulsifier Ltd to secure a continuous supply of aluminium alloy.
Aerlec (Aluminium) Ltd continued to trade under its name throughout the second half of the 1940s and most of the 1950s, supplying semi-fabricated aluminium aircraft components. In 1954 the company was sold to Metals & Ores Ltd, which kept the name for another four years but then seems to have dropped it as there are no more mentions of Aerlec in the press after 1958. Metals & Ores moved out of Bromsgrove at some point. The site of the former Aerlec factory is still known as the Metals & Ores trading estate.

This ghost sign must date from the late 1930s as it seems Aerlec (Aluminium) Ltd did not stay in Birmingham for long.

Location: Bond Street / Pictures taken in May 2012

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