A Brief History of Marshall Sons & Co. (Video)

For me the history of Marshall’s a local factory in the industrial town of Gainsborough is important on a personal level as my grandfather, great grandfather and generations of my ancestors worked at this multi-complex factory as apprentices rising to more senior positions in the firm. My grandfather, Harold Clarke started his working life at the firm in 1944 as an errand boy in the drawing stores, working as an apprentice in the machine shop training bay before his time as Works Manager for the firm during the 1970s. Harold was awarded an MBE and went with his family to collect his award at Buckingham Palace in 1985. My great grandfather, Charles William Clarke commenced his apprenticeship in Marshall’s Iron Foundry in 1912 and was promoted to Foreman and Apprentice Supervisor of the Foundry. Charles was awarded the British Empire Medal but died due to ill health before he could receive his award in person. The above is but one example as many Gainsborough people were employed at this factory with over 5000 people working there at its highest point in history.

Click on our photo story below to find out more about the history of Marshall’s Sons & Co which employed so many people in Gainsborough area and beyond….


Gemma is currently a Project Researcher working with Serendipity at De Montfort University in Leicester with the Lost Legends Heritage Project researching and celebrating the 30 Anniversary of Black History Month in Leicester. The project’s aims are to create a website, exhibition, film and dedicated publication celebrating the unique voices from the African and African Caribbean communities in Leicester. Gemma has been volunteering with the Heritage Centre for over 4 years publicising the heritage centre in the local press and magazines as well as interviewing many members of the local community in Gainsborough to record their unique memories and stories.



  1. REPLY
    Wendy Granville says

    Hi Gemma my mother worked in Marshalls as a Turner during and after the war. I worked in Mrs Coles office for 2 years and was lucky enough to be able to walk around all the offices and the factory offices every day collecting and delivering the mail. I got to know everyone and saw all the processes. I was absolutely blown away by the foundry it was terrifying the heat and the noise I don’t know how they were able to work in those conditions.

  2. REPLY
    Michael Norton says

    Great video. As an ex-Royal Engineer, I am researching the “Gainsborough” tractor which was produced for the Ministry of Defence in the early 1960s. About 200 were produced by Marshalls. I would be very interested to hear from anyone who worked on the production line for the “Gainsborough” and any information/photos that might be available.
    thanking you in anticipation,
    Mick Norton BEM

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