Dick Kerr & Co Ltd

In 1883 Dick Kerr & Co Ltd was formed with John Kerr to take on the railway and tramway related activities built up by W B Dick & Co Ltd in Kilmarnock (Britannia Works). The company built steam locomotives to haul tramcars; and in 1887 constructed the first section of the cable tramway system in Edinburgh.

In 1897, Dick, Kerr acquired disused premises, later known as East Works, in Preston for the manufacture of electric tramcars and rolling stock under the control of a subsidiary company, the Electric Railway and Tramway Carriage Works Limited (ER&TCW), later known as the United Electric Car Company Limited. The works developed a world market for electric urban tramway systems; however drive machinery for the vehicles had to be imported from the USA. The company provided complete electric coaches for the Waterloo & City Railway in 1899, and in 1904 equipped the first main line in Great Britain to be electrified between Liverpool and Southport.

In 1900, the new works known as West Works were built by the English Electric Manufacturing company on the opposite side of Strand Road to the ER&TCW works, the rear boundary of the site being along the line of the original bank of the river Ribble. The factory was built for the manufacture of electric traction equipments, power station equipments and general engineering. In 1902, these works at Preston were taken over by Dick, Kerr & Co Limited. In 1917 the company acquired Preston based tram maker United Electric Car Company creating Britain's largest tram factory, and also a controlling interest in Willans and Robinson, Rugby. In 1918, Dick, Kerr and Co Ltd became one of the founding companies of the English Electric Co Ltd.