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