A blue plaque has been unveiled to mark the heritage of a Magna Holdings development that has been brought back to life.
The Chair of First, Margaret Wood, praised Magna Holdings for 'bringing out the new from the old', as she unveiled the plaque at the Charles Roberts Office Park at Horbury Junction.
The event was also attended by WakeField's Mayor, Cllr Jacqui Williams and local councillors. As Ms Wood unveiled the plaque, commemorating the rich history of the Charles Roberts Office Park, she spoke about how pleased she was that the Former factory was helping to bring entrepreneurial spirit back to Horbury.
From the Central Pier at Blackpool to the Central Line on the London Underground, the fruits of the labour from the Charles Roberts factory could be seen all over the country at one time. The site manufactured the Churchill tanks that helped to win the Second World War, Coronation trams that ferried holidaymakers around Blackpool, and had the sole patent for wooden railway carriages. Local playwright, Stan Barstow was once an employee at the Charles Roberts factory and he recounts how romance blossomed with his wife, while they were both working at the firm, in his autobiography ‘In His Own Good Time’
The factory was taken over by Bombardier in 1990, who refurbished London Underground carriages at the site, until their closure in 2005. When the Bombardier factory closed, 400 local jobs were lost and the site stood silent after more than a century of industry.
But as Mrs Wood pointed out, the event was not only a commemoration of the past but also a celebration of what is shaping up to be a bright future for the Charles Roberts Office Park.
Digby Lovel, development director of Magna Holdings said: “This blue plaque is a great way of celebrating the huge part that the Charles Roberts factory and Bombardier played in our industrial heritage, and Magna Holdings are very proud to have helped bring entrepreneurial spirit back to the site. We have a varied selection of clients, some with international links, who are getting the name of Horbury associated with world-class industry again.”