From the Central Pier at Blackpool, to the Central line on the London Underground there is a little piece of the Charles Roberts Park all over the country.
The site of the Charles Roberts Office Park has played a crucial part in Britain’s history, and it still holds a special place in the hearts of train travellers everywhere. Over the years, the site has helped to win a World War with the Churchill tanks that it manufactured, it’s tram carriages have ferried holidaymakers up and down Blackpool seafront, and busy commuters have ridden around London on tube carriages which were made in Horbury.
The site was the famous home of the Charles Roberts factory - the company which had the sole patent for building wooden railway carriages and manufactured Churchill tanks in World War II.
The factory was also the backdrop to flourishing romances, as illustrated by ex-employee and famous playwright Stan
Barstow, who talks about how his relationship with his future wife blossomed while they were working at the Charles
Roberts factory, in his autobiography, ‘In His Own Good Time’. Stan, who has written a host of critically acclaimed plays including the famous “A Kind of Loving’, is arguably one of the most famous ex-employees of the Charles Roberts factory.
In 1990, the factory was taken over by Bombardier, who refurbished London Underground carriages, and in fact the Bombardier logo can still be seen on some of the carriages on the Underground today.
At one time there were 400 employees at the Horbury factory, so it was a huge blow to the local community when it’s closure was announced in 2005. Hundreds of local workers lost their jobs and the factory, whichhad been a hub of industry for over a century, stood silent. In 2006, the Charles Roberts Office Park was acquired by Magna Holdings Ltd, and it’s renovation began last year.
The spirit of industry has returned to the site, with an influx of tenants who are carrying on the entrepreneurial tradition that Charles Roberts started.