G.W. Knight & Sons

Malcolm Knight sent in some photographs dating, we believe, from the early part of the 1900s. These show G. W. & Sons Ltd., General Engineers and Machinists, who were based in Market Street, Oldbury - just on the north side of the town centre.

He recalls: ‘The most relevant of these shows my late grandfather, David Knight, who lived at the bottom end of West Bromwich Street, his two elder sons, Cyril Knight and Frank Knight (twins) and others, presumably employees or helpers. My father was James Gilbert Knight, much younger than the twins.

I believe Grandfather founded this small engineering workshop in the area near the top end of West Bromwich Street, in what was once a chapel. I understand that this enterprise was eventually passed in some way to one of his brothers. As a result, I would venture that it was then it became known as  G.W. Knight & Sons Ltd., General Engineers and Machinists, Market Street, Oldbury or its forerunner. I remember being told as a boy that there was some acrimony concerning this transfer between the two brothers but I have a very limited knowledge of what was involved.’

‘The other photographs below show the full exterior of a luxury railway carriage and various interior shots showing the high-class fittings of the time. These coaches were built for use on the Maharaja of Jodhpur's private railway in India. Grandfather worked as an engineer and his brother George as a foreman joiner for the company that manufactured the above items for The Birmingham Carriage and Wagon Co. Ltd. Smethwick. I believe brother George -  (is this the G. Knight who took over the workshop?) - travelled to India to supervise the delivery and installation of the coaches. I do not have any information on dates but I would think this is prior to Grandfather starting his Oldbury workshop.’

Birmingham Carriage and Wagon Co. Ltd were based in Middlemore Row, Smethwick. Their railway stock went to Egypt, India, Iraq, Malaya, Palestine, South Africa and Nigeria. They also manufactured aeroplanes and trolleybuses. These larger factories relied on quality parts supplied from many of the smaller manufacturing and engineering companies locally. Their works closed in the 1960s.

You will find this web page link, featuring The Royal Jodhpur Saloon Heritage Transport Museum, gives some sense of the magnificence of the engineering work undertaken here in the Black Country.


If you are a railway enthusiast, then this web page has information the Jodhpur railway itself.


Made in Oldbury