Wellworthy Piston Rings Limited / Wellworthy Ltd

Staff outside the entrance to WellWorthy Ltd. Now the roundabout on the Southampton Rd. (A337) and Wellworth Rd. LMGLM 1990-074-10
Author: Gareth Owen

Wellworthy Ltd has its earliest roots before the First World War in a small firm called South Coast Garages of Lymington, which in 1912 came under the ownership of an experienced and dynamic engineer called John Howlett. He diversified into the mass production of piston rings.

In 1919 the name of the Company was changed to Wellworthy with the Company going public as Wellworthy Piston Rings Limited in 1936. The company also had a site at Ringwood.

During WWII the company was an aircraft industry supplier. In 1939 the site on Lyndhurst Road, originally Ampress Farm, was bought. It was 35 acres in size including large sports grounds.

In the difficult period after the Second World War, it was decided to merge with the British Piston Ring Co and with Hepworth and Grandage, to form Associated Engineering Holdings. Manual employees worked a 39 hour week whilst the ‘white collar’ workers did 37 hour week. Most of the workers were local. They employ Spaniards, Asian and Indian workers and had both foreign training schemes and youth apprenticeships. There were 16 apprentices & many female engineers.

In 1961  the company, now just Wellworthy Ltd, manufactured pistons, piston rings, cylinder liners, valve seats, retaining rings and powder handling compressors. The pistons and piston rings, made of aluminium and cast iron, ranged in size from the largest comparable to a pedal bin to as small as a tea cup. Approximately 50,000 are produced a week, supplied to 16 different countries and the company employed 3,300 employees. Also in 1961 the Ampress works were chosen as the site for the research and development unit.


Date: 1937

Your Comment