The Factory Age

Aerial view of Newman's Factory, YateAerial view of Newman's Factory, Yate

The building of new factories during World War I had a lasting impact on Yate. The large industrial sites on Station Road re-shaped the old farming landscape.

The success of the Parnalls and Newmans companies during and after World War II helped lure a new community into the area. Modern Yate had arrived!

The Factory Age Begins

World War I brought modern industry to Yate. An Aircraft Repair Depot, RFC camp and Concrete Slab factory all helped to change the feel of the place. In 1925, Parnalls moved into the empty Aircraft Repair Depot, next to the railway station.

Yate had a number of attractions for aircraft production. The railway could transport workers and goods to Yate and the village already had an aerodrome! The inter-war years were not always profitable but Parnalls continued to come up with ingenious new planes.

In 1932, Newmans of Bristol set up a electric motor repair factory on Station Road which also produced engineering tools.

The Blitz comes to Yate!

Bombing Damage of Newman's Factory, YateThe World War Two Bombing of Newman's killed 53 workers

During World War II Parnalls made air frames and hydraulic gun turrets. The factory was enlarged many times.

Newmans became a major employer in Yate and a rival to Parnalls making shell cases and super-strong chains.

With both factories mass-producing war material, Yate became a target during the Bristol Blitz! In February and again in March 1941, a German plane bombed Parnalls and 53 workers died.

Post war industry

Parnalls (and later Jacksons on the same site) produced electrical household appliances after 1945. Meanwhile, Newmans continued producing electric engines and motors.

Parnalls and Newmans provided many social events for their workers. The canteens were a great meeting place and provided varied entertainment. Many of the shops along Station Road served the needs of Parnalls workers, including Mick Lane’s bakery and his famous lardy cake.

In their heyday in the 1960s the factories employed over 1,500 people each.

What remains today?

Parnalls factory still stands on Station Road but is now owned by Indesit (2006) and makes tumble dryers. Newmans left Yate in 1988. Today (2006) the site is home to Morrisons and B & Q.

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Yate Heritage Centre, Church Road, Yate, Bristol BS37 5BG. Tel: 01454 862200

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