Lydbrook Cable Works



Lydbrook Cable Works

Tucked away at Lydbrook in The Forest Of Dean lies an abandoned factory which hides an incredible history.

Local Industrialist Harold J Smith

Upper Lydbrook


H.J. Smith & Co., established in 1910 as the Electric Wire & Cable Co. at the Trafalgar Works in the Forest of Dean, Gloucestershire, moved into new premises on the other side of Stowfield Road near the River Wye and adjacent to the then Steam Railway Junction in 1912, to be known as the Lydbrook Cable Works. The Cable Works, during the first World War, 1914/18, employed some 650 people, producing cable for the field telephones, some 15,000 miles of it was made. The factory was then acquired by the Edison Swan Electric Co. in the mid 1920s, then employing some 1200 people, producing Power Line Cables. It closed down in 1965 with the loss of some 840 jobs.

Reed Corrugated Cases Ltd – SCA Packaging Ltd
The factory was taken over the following year by Reed Corrugated Cases Ltd., a manufacturer of boxes and other packaging materials, known from 1991 as SCA Packaging Ltd., and it employed 450 people in 1985 and 270 in 1993.


In 1912 Harold W Smith purchased land at Stowfield and erected The Lydbrook Cable Works. The First World War provided a number of contracts with employee numbers expanding from 40 to 650 with double shilfts being worked. With the end of the War, came a slump in business, and in 1920 the Official Receiver was brought in ending Smiths connection with the Factory.


The business was bought in 1925 by Edison Swan Electric Company. With the greater resources avaialable the plant at Stowfiled further expanded, and was well placed to help with the Second World War possessing one of only four machines for making lead alloy tube needed for P.L.U.T.O. – (Petroleum Lines Under The Ocean), which allowed fuel to be supplied to the Allied invasion force on the Continent from Britain. In the late 1940s.