A History of GKN

Volume 2 The Growth of a Business, 1918–45

  • Authors
  • Edgar Jones

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xxxvii
  2. Steel and Coal in South Wales, 1919–39

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 1-1
    2. Edgar Jones
      Pages 13-71
    3. Edgar Jones
      Pages 73-111
    4. Edgar Jones
      Pages 113-163
  3. Engineering in the Midlands, 1918–45

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 165-165
    2. Edgar Jones
      Pages 207-233
    3. Edgar Jones
      Pages 235-237
    4. Edgar Jones
      Pages 275-300
    5. Edgar Jones
      Pages 301-318
  4. GKN Oversm to 1945

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 319-319
    2. Edgar Jones
      Pages 321-343
    3. Edgar Jones
      Pages 345-365
    4. Edgar Jones
      Pages 367-374
  5. Back Matter
    Pages 375-389

About this book


This history of GKN (formerly Guest, Keen & Nettlefolds) shows the dramatic changes which occurred to the group in the 25 years following the end of the first world war. It describes the merger with the steelmakers, John Lysaght, the development by acquisition of its fastener interests and the extension of the business into Australia and India. With the rise of H.Seymour Berry, Lord Buckland and Sir David Llewellyn to the highest ranks of its management, a new strategy for growth was implemented: the takeover of major collieries in South Wales and associated sales and marketing companies. Undertaken in the harsh competitive twenties, the plan foundered on the slump. The thirties saw GKN divest itself of its coal and heavy steel interests to bring the focus back to light engineering in the Midlands. A return to sound profits was interrupted by the Second World War which caused disruption as the group was called upon to manufacture munitions and machinery demanded by the armed forces. Using internal company records, this business history reveals strategic policy decisions, demonstrates the sources of income and assesses the strengths of the management and contribution of the workforce.


Acquisition business coal development growth interest management marketing merger science and technology strategy

Bibliographic information

Industry Sectors
Materials & Steel
Chemical Manufacturing
Finance, Business & Banking
Consumer Packaged Goods
Energy, Utilities & Environment