Scope and Content

The records comprise the following series:

9127/1/ VOKES LTD 1922-2012
9127/1/1/ Annual reports 1946-1960
9127/1/2/ Shares 1956-1972
9127/1/3/ Business papers 1928-1962
9127/1/4/ Filters 1930s-1980s
9127/1/5/ Patents 1923-1954
9127/1/6/ Brochures and publications 1930s-1960
9127/1/7/ Photographs 1925-1955
9127/1/8/ Property 1922-2007
9127/1/9/ Aircraft [early 20th cent]-1938
9127/1/10/ Company history c.1944-2012
9127/1/11/ Collected publications 1936-1959

9127/2/ CECIL GORDON VOKES 1891-[c.2000]
9127/2/1/ Family history 1891-1992
9127/2/2/ Education and professional qualifications 1902-1956
9127/2/3/ Personal papers 1918-c.2000
9127/2/4/ Upper Neatham Mill Farm, Holybourne, near Alton, Hampshire 1952-1963
This property was purchased by Cecil Gordon Vokes in 1937.
9127/2/5/ Photographs [late 19th cent]-1954

9127/3/ GORDON HEATHERTON VOKES [c.1930]-2005
9127/3/1/ Education, professional qualifications and employment 1939-2005
9127/3/2/ Photographs [c.1930-1961]

9127/4/ COLLECTED ITEMS [early 20th cent-1950s]

Administrative / Biographical History

Cecil Gordon Vokes was born in 1891. He trained as an engineer at John Thornycroft and Co Ltd, Southampton. From 1916-1921 he was chief engineer at the Alliance Aeroplane Company. He started his own business in 1921. After various inventions applicable to the motor industry, Vokes became interested in filters. He invented a very efficient system of filtration, initially for air, and carried out many of the tests on his own Lagonda car. Vokes Ltd was formed as a public company with share capital in 1936. Property at Alton, Hampshire, was purchased in 1938 to cope with additional demand. The works at Lower Richmond Road, Putney, were demolished by enemy bombing in October 1940 and the company moved to Henley Park, Normandy, near Guildford, in the spring of 1941. Vokes filters were widely fitted to tanks and aircraft and were vital in helping to combat the appalling conditions of sand and dust faced in the deserts of North Africa and the Middle East during World War II. Vokes also devised a flame trap for the exhausts of night fighters which protected them from being spotted. Cecil Gordon Vokes retired from the company in the early 1950s and died in 1961. His son Gordon Heatherton Vokes was born in 1919. From 1937 to 1947 he worked for the Bristol Aeroplane Co Ltd, initially as a student apprentice, and from 1948 to 1963 for Vokes Ltd in development and design. There was no Vokes family link with the company after 1963. By 1969 the holding company was known as Vokes Group Limited, with its registered office at Henley Park, and had two manufacturing divisions. The General Engineering Division manufactured filtration equipment (including air, oil, fuel and water filters) and effluent treatment equipment and other specialised engineering products, including pipe supports and expansion bellows, food and tobacco processing equipment and metal treatment plant. The Orthopaedic Appliances Division manufactured orthopaedic appliances, artificial limbs and related hospital equipment. The Group had 6 factories in England and Scotland, and its overseas operations included subsidiaries in France, Holland and Australia, and an associated company in India. In the early 1970s the company was acquired by Thomas Tilling Group which in turn became a subsidiary of BTR plc in 1983. The company is currently called Vokes Air and is based in Burnley, Lancashire.

Access Information

There are no access restrictions.

Acquisition Information

Presented by Mr M Drakeford, on behalf of Mr GH Vokes, the son of CG Vokes, in January 2013.

Other Finding Aids

An item level description of the archive is available on the Surrey Histor Surrey History Centre online catalogue y Centre online catalogue

Related Material

For papers of Alan Hammond relating to his employment with Vokes Ltd, including brochures, leaflets and photographs, 1944-1978, see 7857/3/-.


Geographical Names