Former Laurence, Scott & Electromotors staff invited to July 30 reunion

Laurence Scott Electromotors (L.S.E.) new apprentices, 3 September 1973.

Laurence Scott Electromotors (L.S.E.) new apprentices, 3 September 1973. - Credit: Archant Library

After a break of two years it is reunion time at a world-famous Norwich factory. Derek James reports.

So much has changed across our city and county. One place of work after another has closed over the years as the manufacturing base declined.

Many of the landmark sites have gone and are just a memory. In Norwich Colman’s is no more and the Carrow Works “village” deserted.

Richard Harvey working for Laurence Scott Electromotors at Westminster Bridge in the 1990s.

Richard Harvey working for Laurence Scott Electromotors at Westminster Bridge in the 1990s. - Credit: Laurence Scott Facebook page courtesy of Richard Harvey

But, just next door, there is Laurence, Scott & Electromotors. A proud symbol of Made in Norwich which is respected far and wide.

Thousands of people have worked at LSE over the years and now the first reunion since 2019 is taking place at The Cottage public house, on Thunder Lane at Thorpe, next Friday, July 30.

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Richard Harvey, who has worked at the factory for more than 30 years and runs the Facebook page, says they are hoping to see lots of old friends at the get together.

A rare and faded old photograph of the Laurence Scott football in around 1900.

A rare and faded old photograph of the Laurence Scott football in around 1900. - Credit: Archant Library

LSE has been playing a leading role in Norfolk life since 1883 when William Harding Scott,  came to Norwich to install electricity for Colman’s and later teamed up with Reginald Laurence.

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Scott was an extraordinary man with a vision to light up Norwich and establish a company with an international reputation making a range of huge machinery.

The reunion in 2017.

The Laurence Scott Electromotors reunion in 2017. - Credit: Laurence Scott Facebook page courtesy of Richard Harvey

“Originally manufacturing just generators and motors, the company is now world renowned, being one of the oldest and biggest employers the Fine City of Norwich has ever had,” said Richard.

“Many highly skilled engineers have worked there and many more have done apprenticeships with the company and have fond memories of  the works by the river near Carrow Road,” he adds.

Laurence Scott & Electromotors factory in Norwich.

Laurence Scott & Electromotors factory in Norwich. - Credit: Archant Library

Laurence Scott is a centre of excellence for the manufacture of mid and high voltage induction motors - and is still going strong today with an impressive order book.

They take pride in their unique ability to provide customers with more than 100 years of technical expertise in many diverse fields: processing, manufacturing, oil and gas (both exploration and production), petrochemicals, water, sewage, mining nuclear and defence.

“LSE,” said Richard, “is all about its workforce. Employees, past and present felt and feel part of a family.”

A view of the workshop at Laurence, Scott & Electromotors Ltd, Norwich. Dated: 21st May, 1959. Pictu

A view of the workshop at Laurence, Scott & Electromotors Ltd, Norwich, 21 May 1959. - Credit: Archant Library

Annual reunions started in 2005. The last two have been cancelled because of the pandemic and staff have taken to social media to share stories, photographs and memories of the company.

“A Facebook page started in 2017, now has 647 members, workers and their families who recall time spent working for LSE,” said Richard and it features some of the cricket teams football teams and outings.

Anyone with LSE connections will be made very welcome at the reunion next Friday at The Cottage, from 6.30pm, and in the meantime take a look at their Facebook page at Laurence Scott Ltd.

The impact of LSE over so many years.

  • It made a fan motor for the ill-fated Titanic and their motors have been used in the mining industry across the world. LSE also supplied all the cutting motors for the Channel Tunnel.
  • The country’s first traffic controlled traffic lights were designed by William Scott and were controlled by cars running over special rubber pads on the road. The first set was used at the junction of Unthank and Colman Road in Norwich.
  • The first supply of electricity in Norwich was down to Scott. He installed it at Colman’s and then set up his own portable power plant for the people in Stamp Office Yard at St Andrews.
  • He invented The Norwich Strip-Lighter so electricity could be installed on boats around the world. LSE did a lot of work for the Royal Navy and built switchboards, generators and propulsion motors for the Trident submarines.
  • In the 1990s the company was working on a project with Norcast of Norwich to make replacement railings and improvements to Westminster Bridge.

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