Dowty Group Services - Royal House

Dowty Royal House – was located in Royal Parade Mews/Montpelier Street, Cheltenham (now The Courtyard)

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Royal House – view from Montpelier Street

This was part of Dowty Group Services and at this establishment (Unit 5), machine tools from all over the Dowty Group would come to be refurbished, in a separate part of the building was the Dowty Printing Press

The biggest challenge was access to the rear of the site where the machines had to be unloaded, both cranes and lorries had to carefully navigate their way under the archway at the entrance to the lane and then it was a tight squeeze down the lane.

Royal Parade Mews Cheltenham

From Centre Lathes, Jig Borers, Milling Machines, Grinders, Capstans, Drills etc… the machines would be completely stripped down, cleaned, repainted and parts would be refurbished or rebuilt with new parts.

Newall Jig Borer

If new parts were not available, they would be manufactured in the Royal House Machine Shop and even tooling had to be made to manufacture some of these parts.

The reconditioned machine beds and slides, would be planed, then scraped flat and true by highly skilled machine tool fitters.

Machine Bed Scraping

Machine Bed Scraping

The machine tools left in pristine condition.

The craftsmen that worked here were some of the most highly skilled in the Dowty Group.

To name a few… Tom Weaver (Manager), Dave Parry (Shop Foreman) with Machine Tool Fitters: Don Hesketh, Eric Brint, Alan Moore, Frank Hopkins, Eric Shrimpton, John Weaver,

Sir George Dowty’s 5th ever employee Ken Cockle worked here as a machinist

Other machinists included: Bill Nivinson, Denis Pennington, Bill Nelder, Bill Partridge, David Hyett

John Redfern ex Dowty Apprentice recalls:

I worked there as an Apprentice and believe that my experience there set me up for my career in engineering… I left Royal House as an Apprentice and transferred to Dowty Group Services Maintenance at Arle Court.

After leaving Dowty, I went to work at ICI Gloucester and was promoted very quickly as Engineering Supervisor and retired as the Site Engineering Construction & Contracts Manager!

Dowty Group Services - Royal House, Montpellier, Cheltenham c.1973
Original photo in the Dowty archive at the Gloucestershire Heritage Hub
Dowty Group Services - Royal House, Printing Press, Montpellier, Cheltenham c.1973
Original photo in the Dowty archive at the Gloucestershire Heritage Hub
Dowty Group Services - Royal House, Montpellier, Cheltenham c.1973
Original photo in the Dowty archive at the Gloucestershire Heritage Hub
Dowty Group Services - Royal House, Montpellier, Cheltenham c.1973
Original photo in the Dowty archive at the Gloucestershire Heritage Hub
Dowty Group Services - Royal House, Montpellier, Cheltenham c.1973
Original photo in the Dowty archive at the Gloucestershire Heritage Hub

Comments about this page

  • I recall Tom Weaver talking about his new car, I believe an old Hillman with ‘drybollick brakes’.

    By Pete Howes (11/03/2019)

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