A Brief History of the Cowbridge Site
Records began back in 1284, when Moledin' de Coubridge was built, giving the site its name. By 1440 the house was known as Conbrygge and later, in 1540 the records refer to the Cowbridge mill, which is now the social club.
In 1885, a new house was built on the site by SB Brooke Esquire. After several owners, Cowbridge became the residence of Major Sir Philip Hunloke the royal yachtsman for King George V. Before moving in Sir Philip brought the oak staircase from his previous residence, Wingerworth Hall in Derbyshire, and this can still be seen the 'Old House' today.
Cowbridge's function changed in 1939 when it was bought by EK Cole Ltd to become a 'shadow factory' as their Southend facility was thought to be vulnerable to enemy attack. The company, known as Ekco, built a modern assembly factory on the rose garden and developed and manufactured some of the UK's first radar equipment. After the war Ekco produced car radios and heating appliances, a task that continued when Ekco was taken over by Pye of Cambridge in 1963.
In 1968 the Telephone Manufacturing Company (TMC) owned by Pye was transferred from London and the factory started producing telephone and telephony equipment components. Microchip technology came to Cowbridge in 1971 and this continued after Pye was taken over by Philips in about 1980, by which time TMC was a national leader in the development of small business telephone systems.
In 1984 Philips entered a joint venture with AT&T to create AT&T and Philips Telecommunications, known as APT. Philips gradually transferred its stake in the joint venture to AT&T until 1990, when the company became wholly owned by AT&T. In 1996 AT&T split itself into 3 parts and as part of the manufacturing organisation, the company in Cowbridge found itself part of Lucent Technologies.
A period of rapid expansion followed with Lucent Technologies growing to occupy numerous sites in Wiltshire and its UK headquarters moving to Swindon.
Following the recent decline in telecommunications industry the Cowbridge site is finally closing this year as part of the plan for Lucent Technologies to consolidate on six sites in Swindon. Taken mainly from an article in 'Newsline'