celebrating 143 years


Preserving our history: Digitising over 140 years of technical drawings and engineering correspondence

W.H Tildesley has been producing drop forged and pressed components at the Clifford Works site, in Willenhall, West Midlands, since 1874. In consequence, we’ve accumulated a vast archive of technical drawings and engineering correspondence spanning an entire century. Flicking through the drawing archive, you can track the rise of the motor car, the break-out of two world wars, the transition from equestrian tools to engine parts, and the forging of engineering empires.

This year, we started the monumental task of digitising over 100 years of paper correspondence, painstakingly collated, leather-bound, and archived by generations of the Tildesley family and their dedicated employees. We intend to preserve the Tildesley name, celebrate its heritage, and tell the untold story of how they played a critical part in the birth of British engineering and manufacturing in the heart of the black country.

WH Tildesley Heritage Engineers Drawing Archive

Partnering with a specialist in document digitisation, the 100+ pattern books were turned into 10’000+ separate scans, and a wealth of engineering knowledge and expertise is now preserved.

WH Tildesley Heritage Engineers Drawing Archive

WH Tildesley Heritage Digital Engineers Drawing Archive

The next task was to digitise our old customer database. Around 4000 customer cards indexed in alphabetical order, 100+ years in the making. The task starts to feel more like archaeology at this point, as we start to piece together the old customer index, matching customer numbers to their drawings and tracking the impossibly complicated set of mergers and take-overs that characterised the second half of the 21st century in terms of British manufacturing.

We’re still peeling back layers of our history to reveal more artefacts from our past, letters, job cards, invoices, and more. Building a complete picture of WH Tildesley’s history, preserving the fragile physical artefacts, the Tildesley name, the heritage it carries, and the history we were a part of.

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