Electroway Heaters Ltd

Electroway Heaters Ltd., was established in 1930[1] in Baxter Gate, Loughborough. However, after struggling for the first six years, they eventually outgrew the site, relocating to Sparrow Hill, close to where Thomas Messenger had his original wood store. At this time, they were manufacturing domestic heating appliances, electric fires, tubular heaters, converters and water heaters, etc.

Electroway Heaters Ltd 1946 Advertimsent

Having acquired the Arora Company and more importantly the site and buildings on Rosebery Street, Electroway Heaters Ltd. wasted little time in moving from their Sparrow Hill site into Arora’s Roseberry Street works.

Electroway continued using Messenger’s heating system at least for a few years, ordering a new No. 59 Quorn boiler in January 1957.

In November 1961, the firm marked their 30th anniversary with a celebratory dinner held at the “Druid’s Arms”, Pinfold Gate, Loughborough, with 60 employees and their guests. At the time Mr. C.E. Bream, one of the four founders, was the Chairman, Mr. W.F. Johnson was the Works Director and Mr. A. Finlayson, the Managing Director[2].

The Rosebery Street premises were enlarged in the late 1950s and early 1960s, tripling the size of the original Arora factory. In 1964[3], they acquired of a further 3,000 sq. yards (2,508 sq. metres) of land adjoining the existing works and added a new office block, built by Messrs. Read and Schepens, of Leopold Street, Loughborough. Whilst the extension was in-line with the recent rapid expansion, it was really targeted at future development, particularly allowing space for additional production capacity. They were, at the time, particularly known for their high-speed counter catering equipment and the country’s largest manufacturer with a range of over 30 separate matching catering units. They also supplied griddles to the Air Ministry. Both the firm and production facilities continued to expand into the 1970s and 1980s.

In September 1962, Electroway was absorbed by Heatrae Ltd. of Norwich, which itself became a subsidiary of Central Mining Investment Co. (CMIC). Today (2017) the original Norwich factory site is part of a small residential estate. Heatrae Sadia, as it now known, is still based in Norwich, trading under the name of Baxi Heating UK Limited.

Electroway Heaters Ltd., were renamed to Heatrae Catering Equipment Ltd. and by the mid-1960’s their Rosebery Street site had diversified into producing industrial heat processing equipment for chemical and allied industries (including The Atomic Energy Authority), aircraft components, hosiery machinery components, dentil processing equipment, ovens, air heater batteries, passenger vehicle components, etc.[4].

In 1993, Heatrae Catering Equipment Ltd., together with other companies in the group[5], went into liquidation[6].

The site was subsequently occupied by Marathon Knitwear (Nott’m) Ltd., who in 1997 was the subject of a £3.5 million management lead buy-out[7]. The firm had for the previous thirty years been owned by Beales Hunter a publicly quoted company. The new owner was Oakland Securities, run by Chief Executive Gavin Bewley and Finance Director Colin Keal. They were joined by the then Managing Director of Marathon, Robert William Edson and two other Directors. The buy-out was secured with the help of £1.5 million of asset-based finance from TSB Commercial Finance, together with a £0.5 million loan from General Guarantee[8].

At the time of the buy-out the Company, established in 1830, had over 140 employees and was one of the top ten sock producers in the UK with sales in excess of £5.5 million[9]. However, in less than four years the new owners managed put the firm, then known as The Sock Machine Ltd.[10], into liquidation[11].

Entrance on the corner of Rosebery Street and Storer Road – 2013

In April 2001, The Sock Machine Ltd., with their agent Mather Jamie Ltd. put forward a successful application[12] for outline planning permission to remove the industrial buildings and replace them with residential properties on the 1.2-hectare site. By October 2002, the site was owned by Gavin Bewley and Colin Keal, this time trading as BK Consultants, based in Oakham[13]. However, less than a month later Persimmon Homes (North Midlands) Ltd., were applying to build 46 houses and 11 flats on the site. This application was apparently subsequently withdrawn and a revised application, which was successful, was submitted in June 2003[14] to erect 57 unremarkable dwellings comprising of 46 houses and 11 flats on the old Arora factory site.



Goods Yard Close, Loughborough, site of Arora Factory

The original factory entrance off Rosebery Street, adjacent to No. 27, was left untouched by the development. A subsequent planning application for flats on the site was rejected and in 2005[15] Persimmon Homes submitted plans for two semi-detached 2-bedroom houses, which was later withdrawn. However, planning approval was subsequent granted for a pair of semi-detached houses, which now stand back from Rosebery Street.


Original Arora Factory Entrance off Rosebery Street – 2013


  1. The Loughborough Echo, 17th November, 1961.
  2. The Loughborough Echo, 17th November, 1961.
  3. The Loughborough Echo, 16th October, 1964.
  4. Borough of Loughborough Official Guide: Loughborough Library Local Studies.
  5. Heaterspares Ltd., Heatrae Sadia Nomines Ltd., Hinckley Products Company Ltd., Hone-Addison Ltd., Lighting Trades & Welshbach Ltd., Lionheart Decorative Hardware Ltd., Little Oak Ltd., Monogram Electric Ltd. and Newhome-Veritas Securities Ltd.
  6. The London Gazette, 27th August, 1993.
  7. Leicester Mercury, 19th November, 1997.
  8. Ibid.
  9. Ibid.
  10. The Sock Machine Limited was founded on 15th October, 1997, with its registered office in Nottingham.
  11. The London Gazette, 5th September, 2001.
  12. Charnwood Borough Council Planning Reference: P/01/0149/2.
  13. Ibid.
  14. Charnwood Borough Council Planning Reference: P/03/1662/2.
  15. Charnwood Borough Council Planning Reference: P/05/0189/2.