Wickham of Ware

Wickham of Ware logoWickhams were one of the largest employers in Ware, Hertfordshire at one time and established a worldwide reputation for themselves as suppliers to the railway industry. They also built rolling stock for the British Railways Board and had a special arrangement with them to use the St Margarets to Buntingford branch line to test completed trains before delivery.

The company was originally formed by William Wickham in 1882. William was a brewer of Ware pale ale & light bitter, which was supplied to families and Inns in casks & put into cellars. William Wickham's business was located in Ware High St.

By 1890 family member Denis Wickham was manufacturing patent machinery for carbonating & bottling beer & other frothing liquids from workshops at the now named Star Brewery, High Street, Ware, Hertfordshire.

By 1912 the company had become D. Wickham & Co. brewery & general engineers with premises in Viaduct Road, Ware.

And by 1929 the business was described as D. Wickham & Co. Ltd, rail-car engineers with a major works at the Viaduct Rd premises.

In addition to the manufacture of specialist equipment for the brewing industry, early products and services provided by D Wickham & Co included castings (e.g. manhole covers) and car repairs. Wickham built their first railcar, for the 3 ft 6in gauge Taltal Railway in Chile, in April 1922.

Ultimately, the business was a group of three companies: D Wickham & Co. Ltd of Ware & Stevenage (Hertfordshire, UK), Wickham Rail Ltd of Suckley & Bishop's Frome (Worcestershire, UK) and Wickham Rail Cars of Goodyear (Arizona, USA).

The companies range of products included specialt rail vehicles for the UK Government Air Ministry, Ministry of Defence & British Railways; inspection, construction and maintenance vehicles for rail operators worldwide; specialist equipment for the construction industry and specialist brewing and bottling equipment.

The company finally ceased trading in 1991.

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