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A. Reyrolle & Company

A. Reyrolle & Company
Industry Engineering
Fate Acquired
Successor Siemens
Founded 1886
Headquarters Hebburn, UK
Products Switchgear

A. Reyrolle & Company was a British engineering firm based in Hebburn, Tyne and Wear in the North East of England. For many years the company was one of the largest employers on Tyneside.


Example of typical Siemens switchgear

The company was founded by Alphonse Constant Reyrolle,[1] a Frenchman, in 1886 at Fitzroy Square in London to produce scientific instruments.[2] He moved the business to Hebburn on Tyneside in 1901.[3] At its peak it employed 12,000 people[3] and manufactured switchgear for power stations worldwide, including Drax Power Station in North Yorkshire.

The company had its own football team, which evolved into Hebburn Town F.C.

The company merged with C. A. Parsons and Company to form Reyrolle Parsons in 1968.[4] In 1977 Reyrolle Parsons merged with Clarke Chapman to form Northern Engineering Industries plc,[4] which was acquired by Rolls Royce plc in 1989.[4]

The business was acquired in 1998 by VA Technologie AG,[5] which was acquired by the industrial conglomerate, Siemens in 2005, reuniting the company with Parsons under the new owners.[6] Siemens support the Reyrolle installed base on a global basis, with Operations and Protection based at the remaining section of the original Reyrolle Works in Hebburn, although this constitutes only around 10 percent of the original site.[7] The Major Projects division is based at a modern office building on the nearby Monkton Business Park.[8]

The New Zealand division, Reyrolle Pacific, was sold by Siemens AG/VA Tech to a private individual in New Zealand.[9] This included the switchgear factory in Petone, with a staff of about 100.[10] Reyrolle Pacific Switchgear became RPS Switchgear and manufactures retrofit breakers for the original LMT switchgear, and vacuum breakers and panels for 11 kV substations.[11]


Further reading

  • Arcs, Sparks & Engineers: A Centenary History of A. Reyrolle & Co. Ltd. (1901–2001), Alan Wright (ed.), Reyrolle Heritage Trust Press, 2001, ISBN 978-0-9538972-0-9
  • The Reyrolle Story, Robert Owen, Write Good Books, 2007, ISBN 978-1-905295-07-4