The History of Foxboro-Yoxall

  

Most of the information on this page was supplied by Derek Flanagan. See the bottom of this page for more information about Derek plus the Foxboro-Yoxall Reunion Club he still runs and how to contact it.

  
The Company
xxxxxThe history of the Foxboro Company began in 1908 with the establishment of a factory in Foxboro, a small town 20 miles South East of Boston, Mass, USA. Since then process control products bearing the Foxboro trademark have become world-famous and have been manufactured in many countries.
xxxxxMr L.S.Yoxall founded the Yoxall Instrument Company in 1931 and developed close links with The Foxboro Company, USA. A partnership between the two companies began at Merton, London, in 1934 with the building of a factory to manufacture Foxboro instruments for the first time in the UK. Foxboro-Yoxall grew rapidly and was able to produce many of the instruments vital to the needs of British Industry during WW2.
xxxxxIn order to meet the post-war expansion of industry, a second, much larger factory was opened in Kidbrook, London. In 1950 a third factory was opened in Wandsworth, London, which concentrated on the production of electronic instruments and housed the first training centre, where customers' personnel received skilled instruction in the application and maintenance of industrial instruments.
  
The UK and export business continued to increase and an expansion programme was started that culminated in the acquisition of a 52 acre site at Redhill in 1957 and the building of a 126,000 sq. ft. factory upon it for the production of industrial instruments. The new site was formally opened by the Mayor of Reigate & Redhill in 1958. The factory and office floor area was almost doubled in 1963. A new Research & Development and flowmeter Calibration facility were added and, in 1967, the old Wiggie Manor, on the perimeter of the Foxboro-Yoxall site and with links back to the 16th century, was acquired and converted for use by the Training Centre. In 1969 work began on a new office wing and, when opened in 1970, the Training Centre moved to occupy half of its ground floor. The total building floor area ended up at 250,000 sq. ft. by 1971 with around 1,500 people employed.
 Part of the opening ceremony at Foxboro-Yoxall, Wiggie, Redhill, in 1958. The Mayor of Reigate hoists the British and American flags. (Picture courtesy Derek Flanagan)
  
xxxxxIn addition to the manufacturing facility Foxboro-Yoxall had its own extensive sports and social club, with two football pitches*, a cricket pitch, two tennis courts, two 18 hole putting greens and a sports pavilion with changing rooms and showers. Ground staff members Arthur Collins (Head Gardener), Harry Chatfield and Michael Wragg kept the sports facilities, lawns, flower beds, rock gardens and rose beds in top condition, growing over 8,000 plants a year in the greenhouse for planting out into magnificent settings.
*
This was particularly appropriate to the history of the site as sixty years before Foxboro-Yoxall came here this was where Redhill Football Club first played. Formed in 1894 it played at Wiggie and in the 1895/6 season beat Queens Park Rangers 2-0 there. The club moved to the Redhill Sports Ground in 1897/8.
  

The sports field and pavilion. The company name on the highest part of the building would have been a familiar site to commuters passing on the nearby railway line.(Picture courtesy Derek Flanagan)
Wiggie Manor
xxxxxAt the turn of the 20th century the old Wiggie Manor House in Wiggie Lane had famous gardens. When Foxboro-Yoxall was built the house remained on the perimeter of the site and was eventually acquired by Foxboro-Yoxall in 1967. Many of the splendid daffodils continued to flower each year but by March 1977 the house had become infested with woodworm and dry rot and was beyond repair. It was demolished to make way for a new training centre.

Wiggie House (Picture courtesy Derek Flanagan)

Part of the daffodil gardens at Wiggie long before the days of Foxboro-Yoxall, but which continued to flower into the 1950s and 60s

 
An aerial view of the Foxboro-Yoxall site.
Wiggie House is at the extreme bottom centre of picture with the training building behind it.
(picture courtesy Derek Flanagan)
   
A later aerial view; at the bottom of thepicture a building has been added. The picture was sent by Graham Bartlett. His father, John Bartlett,worked for Foxboro from soon after it opened until the 1990s. Graham remembers playing tennis on their courts, and attending the Christmas parties as a child. He says that someone must have had connections with the record industry because they always gave away lots of
'45s' to all the children.

Thanks for the picture and information, Graham.

 

A view from the southern end of the car
park above towards the main buildings

(Picture courtesy Derek Flanagan)
.

Laurence S.Yoxall CBE ( 1901 - 1976) founder of Foxboro-Yoxall Ltd.
xxxxxMr Yoxall was a founder member of the British Industrial Measuring & Control Apparatus Manufacturers Association, and from 1951 to 1952 he held the office of chairman. He was president 1968 - 1970 and in 1971 became vice-president, a position he held until his death in 1976. He was invested with the CBE in 1971 by the Queen in recognition of his outstanding services to Britain's exports. In 1975 the Institute of Measurement & Control was granted its royal charter and conferred an Honorary Fellowship on him. A man who believed in working hard and playing hard, Mr Yoxall was the inspiration for, and one of the founders of the Foxboro-Yoxall Sports & Social Club . He played cricket for Foxboro-Yoxall for many years, joined the swimming group, played golf, table tennis, darts and was a familiar face at the Club's dinner-dances.
Mr and MrsYoxall and their daughter, Sheila, outside Buckingham Palace in 1971 with the CBE (Picture courtesy Derek Flanagan)
 
Memorial Garden
xxxxxIn 1976 it was decided to build a memorial garden on the Foxboro-Yoxall site in memory of the late L.S.Yoxall. The garden measuring 106 ft x 38 ft was built on the east side of the access road where it ran behind the restaurant. The garden was paved with trellises hung with climbing plants. It was furnished with seats and the of the garden featured a sundial as a reflection of Mr Yoxall's interest and skill in horology.
                 

The author of this web page would be delighted to hear from anyone who can add to the historical information above.

CONTACT WEB SITE AUTHOR

     

Foxboro-Yoxall Lives On
Foxboro-Yoxall no longer has a presence in Redhill, its former site now rapidly becoming an industrial park like those at Holmethorpe and Battlebridge, but its spirit, along with that of many of its former employees, is now carried on in its Reunion Club. The following information is about the club, its Chairman, Derek Flanagan and others connected with it, and has been supplied by Derek himself. It includes contact details for those who would like more information as well as a tribute to one of its longest serving committee members, Cliff Bookham.

The Foxboro-Yoxall Reunion Club
xxxxxDerek Flanagan worked at Foxboro-GB Ltd (formerly Foxboro-Yoxall Ltd ) Redhill for 22 years until it  closed in 1991 following acquisition by Siebe Ltd (now called Invensys). When the site closed, Derek, Cliff Bookham and Doreen Green (all 20-year plus employees) decided to keep the Foxboro club running as a reunion club, and  renamed it the L.S. Yoxall club after its founder. Former Foxboro Yoxall Ltd Managing Director, Mr Albert Isaac ( Ike), became the club's chairman from 1990 to 2002 before handing over to Derek in 2002 due to health problems.
xxxxAnnual reunions have been held at St Bedes School  Carlton Road, Redhill, every year since 1990. If anyone wishes to contact any past employees from  Foxboro Derek would be happy to provide the contact details if they are members of the club. During most of his 22 years service Derek was also a committee member on the Foxboro-Yoxall  Sports & Social Club and managed 4 table tennis teams in the Redhill & Reigate District Table  Tennis league. In 1978 he launched "Club News", a monthly Foxboro-Yoxall Sports & Social Club   Magazine, and is still producing and editing it, although since the closure of the Redhill plant it is produced only twice a year and mailed to the club's 400 members. The Foxboro-Yoxall Sports club emblem is shown on the right.
 

A Tribute to Cliff Bookham by Derek Flanagan
xxxxxCliff Bookham was one of the committee members from 1990 to 1998 when he sadly he lost his brave fight against the big “C”. Cliff had over 25 years service at Foxboro Yoxall and was a Sports Club committee members during most of these years. The strength of any Club is in its committee and it was very fortunate to have Cliff as a very extraordinary member. He was the club's longest serving committee member to date and definitely the most active, enthusiastic and committed, with a unique and unequaled contribution to the Club.  In January 1988 he also succeeded Dick Pannell as Honorary Treasurer and continued this role just prior to his death.
xxxxxCliff was the primary organiser of so many Club activities ranging from camping weekends, whist drives, fundays, carnivals, Childrens Christmas parties and the famous Horticultural and Handicraft shows which have provided lasting memories for so many of us. I am sure I have missed many other activities that Cliff was deeply involved in; no doubt many of you will recall such events for us. I can remember when we must have had two or three thousand people on the sports field at one of our Sunday Fundays, and the annual Horticultural show was always one of the major events of the Club calendar which really showed off the many talents of so many of our colleagues. Many of these events organised by Cliff provided enjoyment to all ages - the members and their partners, their children, and grandchildren and even their parents. It was this entertainment across many generations that gave Cliff real satisfaction. Cliff's wife Sylvia was always behind Cliff and the club, providing her support .
xxxxxWhen the Redhill site was closed, it was Cliff who really instigated the continuation of the Club and the annual reunions.  This year we are celebrating our 13th reunion and 25th anniversary of club News and we must thank Cliff who has been the inspiration in the Club and will be deeply missed by us all.

LS Yoxall Club membership
xxxxxAll former employees of Foxboro Yoxall or Foxboro GB Ltd are eligible to join the LS Yoxall club . The cost is only 1.00 per year, and applications should be made to our secretary Doreen Green .

LS Yoxall Club Committee :-
Chairman & Editor - Derek Flanagan - Tel 01342 717754,  Fax 01342 719058, mobile 07767 254820

Contact Derek by e-mail

Secretary - Doreen Green, Tel 01737 769653
Treasurer - Dennis Ruddle, Tel 029 20 616477

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