J A Prestwich Industries Limited

1895-1964, camera manufacturer, engineers

J. A. Prestwich and Co. of Tottenham, Middlesex, was founded in 1895 when John Alfred Prestwich was twenty one, The company was formed to produce scientific instruments and experimental apparatus and for machines for making and showing cinematograph films.

By 1902 he had designed and built his first engine which was produced in 1903, the same year his first motorcycle was shown at the Stanley Show. Motorcycles were built until 1908 when the company stopped the manufacture of motorcycles to concentrate on engines. The engines were used in many famous motorcycle marques and other equipment, such as early aircraft, chainsaws, cultivators such as those produced by Rotovators and light rail maintenance trucks. The motorcycle engines were associated with racing success and were still used in speedway bikes well into the 1960s.

In November 1911, the business moved to Northumberland Park, Tottenham and in World War One they manufactured artillery shells and aeroplane parts. On the 30th May 1918, J.A. Prestwich and Co. incorporated as a private company. As more companies developed their own engines, JAP relied heavily on industrial engine sales in the 1930's.

On April the 23rd 1951 J. A. Prestwich Industries incorporated to acquire J. A. Prestwich and Co. Ltd. and Pencils Ltd. with John Alfred Prestwich as chairman. In 1957 the company merged with Villiers Engineering and in 1962 Engine manufacture moves from Tottenham to Wolverhampton leaving the Tottenham site to concentrate on sub-contract engineering. In September 1963 the closure of the Tottenham works was announced and by 1964 the company was completely absorbed by Villiers.