George Ascham was born in Bradford, Yorkshire in 1920 and spent the early years of his working life in a local woollen mill. During the Second World War he served in the Royal Engineers, during which time his talents were more fully utilised and he emerged from the war with the Distinguished Conduct Medal and the rank of Lieutenant-Colonel. He was obviously unsuited to return to the mills in his hitherto lowly capacity and was offered a job in another company — this time as assistant works manager. Having tasted success, however, he was not satisfied with a minor role and used his undoubted engineering skills to design an automatic knitting and weaving machine. He raised sufficient funds to set up his own company and produced and sold some 80,000 machines between 1955 and 1975, at which time he disposed of 60% of the equity (voting) stock to Broughton Engineering Ltd, a Lancashire-based group specialising in the manufacture of textile machinery. George gave the remaining 40% of the shares in equal parts to his sons Justin and Roger who were also retained as directors. At that time the talk was of expanding production and breaking into new markets. Then came a marked downturn in sales in line with the world-wide economic recession.
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