The British Electrical and Manufacturing Company Ltd – Bemco
The British Electrical and Manufacturing Company Limited (Bemco) was established in 1893 in Newcastle upon Tyne. Initially called the Tyneside Electrical Supply Company, its aim was to supply electrical equipment to industrial users in the North East of England. The company also acted as a purchasing company for one of the first organisations in the world to cut coal by electricity, the Electrical Coal Cutting Contract Corporation.In 1902, the original partners were joined by two brothers, Robert and Herbert Barkes, who introduced further capital to expand the company on the distribution side, and started a small manufacturing unit making switch and fuse gear. Branches were opened at Sunderland and London in 1905 and 1907 respectively. In 1908, the company’s name was changed to its present title; The British Electrical and Manufacturing Company, and in 1910 the Barkes brothers became sole owners. In the early years, Bemco supplied a variety of electrical materials, mainly to collieries, shipyards, steel works and railways. These included lamps, signalling equipment specially made to mining and railway requirements, switchgear, black adhesive tape which was imported from America by the ton, knife switches and cables of all types, including the first trailing cables used in the pits.