A HISTORY OF THE COMPANY - G & R WRENN LTD.
Pre Model Railway Locomotives
The ‘G’ and ‘R’ in the name "G & R Wrenn Limited" represent the names of George and Richard Wrenn, brothers, who started the now famous Company in 1950. A third brother, Cedric, was to join the Company in the late 1950s. The ‘family’ business continued right through until 1992 with the exception of a few years in the late 1960s when G & R Wrenn lost its independent existence and became part of the Lines Brothers Group. In late November 1992 ‘G & R Wrenn Limited’ ceased trading and the name and assets of the company were later bought by David Boyle of Dapol Model Railways.
The ‘George’ and ‘Richard’ Wrenn who signed the Deed of Partnership on 29.11.1950, commencing the original Partnership known as "G. & R. Wrenn" - were George Raymond Wrenn, b. 11.12.1920 and Cyril Richard Wrenn, b. 5.3.1922, brothers. The Partnership was signed for an original period of 5 years. The brothers’ main business was the manufacture of high quality track-work and points for ‘OO’ Gauge model railways and the business premises were at No. 123 Lee Road, Lee Green, Blackheath, London S.E.3. They produced track for both 2 and 3 rail operation in compatible format for use with Farish, Hornby, Tri-ang, Trix, and also a Universal pattern. In 1952 extra staff were taken on as the business expanded, and ‘Ray’ Wrenn (as his family always knew George Raymond) employed his first Secretary, a young girl called Audrey, whom he later married and in 1956 she became Mrs Audrey Doris Wrenn. The Partnership Accounts for the 15 months period, ending 31st March 1953 showed a Trading turnover of £12,562-12s-2d (£9,580-6s-2d after deduction of Purchase Tax) with a profit of £1,713-15s-9d In March 1955, because of continued increase in business and expansion in necessary work-space, the business moved across London to Unit 9, Bowlers Croft which was located in Honywood Road, Basildon. Continued expansion eventually brought in the additional Bowlers Croft Units so as to provide business space at Nos. 7, 9 and 11. Mrs Audrey Wrenn had left employment with the Wrenn business because of the move in 1955 and did not return to work with the Company until 1966, 3 years after the birth of their daughter, Vanessa. Audrey eventually became Company Secretary and she remained a Director of the Company until its final sale in 1993. The next major event for the business was in October 1957 when the ‘Partnership’ was transferred into a Limited Company, G. & R. Wrenn Limited. The original share issue of 10,000 £1 shares, dated 8th January 1958, was divided equally between George and Richard who were both shown as ‘Engineers’ in the Company Articles of Association, George having served his Apprenticeship with Vickers-Armstrong Ltd.
George and Richard were ‘Joint’ Chairmen of the Company and Richard was also Company Secretary. The Partnership Accounts for the period between 1st April 1957 and 31st October 1957 (prepared on the move to Limited Company status) showed a turnover of £32,258-11s-1d (£25,736-7s-11d after deduction of Purchase Tax) with a profit of £5,235-12s-0d. In August 1957, just prior to the founding of the Limited Company, Richard Wrenn wrote formally to his brother Cedric, encouraging him to join the Company ‘as soon as is humanly possible’. The letter recognised that Cedric would need to ‘wind up’ his business interests in Antiques and then continued that the possibility of him starting before September would be very nice, even if he must return to wind matters up finally. The letter does seem to be written in a very formal manner, even for the time of the late 1950s. A hand-written note across the ‘copy’ of the letter found in the Company files suggests a possible reason – "Letter sent to Cedric for the purpose of assisting in the sale of his business possibly as a going concern". Shortly afterwards John Cedric Wrenn joined his brothers in their venture, eventually becoming Sales Director of the Company, a position which he held until his retirement in March 1982.