Westwood Works 1903-2003
In this section we will look at some of the developments which took place following the merger with APV in 1987 and bring the story up to date with a brief look at the acquisitions which resulted in the creation of APV Baker's current parent company – Invensys.
In early 1987, the Baker Perkins Group, marketing process equipment to the "dry foods" industries – biscuit, bakery, chocolate & confectionery makers - merged with APV, Crawley, producers of equipment for the "liquid food" industries – dairies, breweries, etc. APV was a long established process-engineering group, similar in its historic development to Baker Perkins. International competition was, for both companies, keen and growing and the business logic for the merger - the creation of the world's biggest supplier of complete process solutions to the whole of the international food industry – seemed inescapable.
A key strategic post-merger decision was to concentrate most of the new company's development investments on serving the food industry, as a result of which, Baker Perkins' printing business – which could trace its origins back to Jacob Perkins' printing of the Penny Black – was sold to the Rockwell Group in 1989. A substantial part of the Westwood manufacturing facilities, the Apprentice School and the Sports Club were included in the deal.
Food machinery continued to be designed and manufactured at Westwood but it soon became clear that the food machinery business would benefit from being housed in a new, purpose-built facility, rather than continuing as an adjunct to the printing machinery operation. A £35m, 12,500 square metre factory, with 6,500 square metres of office space, was built on the east side of Peterborough at Paston and food machinery production ceased at Westwood in June 1991. (See Leaving Westfield Road).
An inevitable casualty of these developments was the ground-breaking Apprentice School, (see Training) which closed its doors in June 1991. Earlier, in April of the same year, the Sports Club in Alma Road had closed down. (See Sports and Pastimes).
Printing equipment continued to be made at Westwood until the end of 1992, when Rockwell took the decision to move this activity to Preston, Lancashire. The last printing press left Westwood in early 1993 and engineering activity ceased on the site after nearly one hundred years.
However, the traditions of high quality engineering and customer service begun by Joseph Baker and Jacob Perkins are preserved in good hands as APV Baker continues to serve its customers worldwide from its Paston facility.
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