The Historic Armstrong Works factory in Scotswood has reopened, three years after the site was closed and hundreds of jobs were lost.
Once dubbed the world’s first defence factory, the 350,000sqft facility in Scotswood will now be the home of The Reece Group, whose major investment in securing the heritage and future of the factory has also ushered in 100 new jobs.
Reece Group chief executive officer Phil Kite, who is the Chair of EEF Regional Advisory Board said the move to the Armstrong Works site has been two years in the planning.
He said: “Our defence business now has the capability to refurbish, integrate systems and manufacture armoured vehicles and our Responsive Engineering business is now able to offer a complete subcontract manufacturing service with over 40 CNC machine tools, an extensive range of laser, water and plasma cutters and over 200 welders and platers.”
Armstrong Works has played a key role in British engineering for more than 160 years, employing 25,000 people at its peak. The factory has produced cars, trains and aircraft, and even produced the first breech-loading gun for the war in Crimea and Chieftain tanks in the Second World War. Other historic parts produced by the factory include hydraulics for Newcastle’s Swing Bridge and London’s Tower Bridge, parts for the Spitfire fighter plane, and the ‘bouncing bombs’ used by the Dambusters.