Plenty’s Eagle Iron Works, founded in 1790 by William Plenty, was for many decades a pre-eminent industrial enterprise in Newbury, located in what is now the southern part of the Kennet Centre. In 1965 it moved to Hambridge Road and in 2001 it became part of SPX Flow Technology, whose products still bear the Plenty brand.
Newbury Town Council is recognising Plenty’s long and distinguished industrial history with a blue plaque. We are very grateful to the Kennet Shopping Centre for agreeing to locate the plaque on a pillar close to Plenty’s former entrance in Cheap Street. It will be unveiled by the Mayor of Newbury at 11.00 on Thursday 19th September. We hope that all those interested in Plenty’s history will come along.
The company was managed by the descendants of William Plenty, including three called Edward Pellew Plenty, until 1949. Its first major product was an efficient iron plough. In 1817 it launched a life boat which was recommended for general use by the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (as it is now called).
In 1865 it diversified into steam engines and boilers for ships, supplied to the Royal Navy and exported across the world. In the 1920’s it adapted to diesel technology for ships, power generators, winches, and compressors. In 1935 it launched a rotary pump and from 1955 it concentrated on fluid processing technology, including pumps, filters and mixers. Other Plenty products over the years have included iron bridges, canal sluices and balloon gas equipment.
This plaque will be the tenth in the Town Council’s programme of blue plaques. Councillor Martin Colston, Leader of the Council, said, “In addition to celebrating Plenty’s history, the plaque recognises the considerable contribution of industrial design and manufacturing to Newbury’s diverse industrial and commercial development. We are very grateful to the Newbury Society for its generous contribution to the plaque’s cost.”