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George Cohen, Sons & Co. Ltd, Town Street

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George Cohen, Sons & Co. Ltd, Town Street
Undated. One of a series of photographs taken during the period of the second World War. George Cohen Sons & Co. Ltd., known at the time as the 'firm of 600', had a depot in Town Street. The business began in 1843 when George Cohen opened a scrap and ship-building business in the south of England. In 1876 it relocated to 600 Commercial Road in East London and the address eventually became part of the name. This depot opened in 1929 on premises and land previously occupied by John Butler & co. Ltd., Iron roof manufacturers, between 118 and 126 Town Street. The image shows two employees heading a 5.5" gun howitser shell in a 200 ton Hydraulic Press. Between 1939 and 1945 bombs and shells were manufactured here by a workforce of over 350. The Stanningley site covered an area of 14 acres and was, in its prime, one of the largest steel stockholders in the country, taking surplus metals from British Steels mills at Bromford, Wednesbury, Clydesdale, Hartlepool and Corby. The machine tool side of the 600 Group closed on the Stanningley site in 1987 however a subsidy of the 600 Group GCS (Steels) Ltd continued to operate there until October 1999. George Cohen Sons & Co. Ltd. had registered as the '600 Group Ltd' in 1975 and has since evolved into the largest machine tool company in the U.K. Many manufacturing companies are part of the group including Colchester Lathes, T.S. Harrison, Crawford Collets, Electrox, Garnet Bearings and Pratt Burnerd International. The Stanningley site is still partially used for the metals trade, albeit only two acres, by Ogden Transteel Ltd when they purchased a large portion of the stocks and equipment during the closure in 1999.

User Comments:

Leone McDermott (nee Drury)

My father, Cuthbert Drury, was working for George Cohen's at this time. He continued until his retirement in the 90's, becoming a Director of the company. He was kept out of the forces during the war, being sent up to Leeds to work, I assume, on makings arms for the war, between 1939-1945. I was born in Leeds, in 1946, just a few weeks before his (and his family's!)return to London. I should dearly love more information on any part of this, I am finding it difficult to get hold of any.




Graham A. Schofield

Does anyone know what is happening here? It appears to be some sort of 'Hot Pressing' operation. Look at the length of those guiding pillars.The piston which is supporting the table must have had quite a stroke. Both the operator, and his mate are showing a high degree of concentration. Are they inserting something, or forming some kind of shape? The mate looks to be waiting to take something away, with his tongs, or has he just put something on to the machine?




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