How it all Started
The History of Barkley Plastics began back in 1963 when John Barkley placed an advert in the Birmingham Evening Mail that asked for Four toolmakers to help start a new company in Hallam Street in Balsall Heath. This was spotted by four young Lucas toolmakers Maurice Harwood, Bob Fisher, Bob Chittleborough and Tony Challinor. Over the next eighteen months they continued to work at Lucas and then did the evening shift at “John Barkley Plastics”. They concentrated on injection moulding tools as they had done at lucas. They had a lathe and a couple Milling machines and a surface Grinder, they soon realised they needed an injection moulding machine to try the tooling out on. This was the start of things to come.
The tool manufacturing was moving along well so it was decided that another toolmaker was required and as John Barkley was the finance backer and not a toolmaker they decided to recruit John Keogh also from Lucas. They then started to make some money out of the mouldings so they expanded by purchasing another milling machine and two more moulding machines. One of their first products were wheels for shopping trollies which consisted of a polypropylene rim and a polythene tyre.It was now 1965 and it was decided that the company needed full time commitment, so they all left Lucas to pursue their dreams of having their own company, it is now the the official birth of the company.
Over the next three years this was proved to be a good decision and their main customer became LUCAS!. They manufuctured hundreds of tools for lucas mainly for front and rear car lamps from Mini to Rolls Royce some of these tools are still here and produce mouldings for the classic car companies today.
John Barkley’s health declined in 1968 and he died. It was shortly after this it was decided to move to new bigger premises and the Highgate Street premises were purchased. It was decided to change the name of the company but they decided to keep the name Barkley as it appeared on the first page of the telephone book!
During the past 50 years things have just got bigger and better, In 1975 adjacent land was purchased and a warehouse was built, in 1977 the rear land was used for a new car park and a new toolroom was built, In 1980 the premises next door (printing) was purchased to add another 20,000ft mould shop, 1995 a further 9000sqft building purchased in Emily Street to provide further warehousing and in 2005 premises opposite obtained to provide material warehousing.
Today we have 85,000 sqft filled with the latest plastic injection moulding machinery, all from that advert in the Birmingham evening Mail in 1963.