The Varley Story - Part 11

Newcastle's bustling Hunter Street, just around the corner from Varley's Darby Street facility, shortly before the Great Depression in 1929. Source:

The recent new machinery purchases proved to be a short-term success, putting the Company back into profit. This victory granted the additional purchase of a new grinding machine, a bending block, blacksmiths’ forges and a portable compressor.

Business increased again thanks to the Company’s new capabilities, and the finances slowly crept back into the green. G.H. Varley had survived a major economic scare, and worked its way back to success.

While the future seemed much more cause for optimism than had been the case in the early ‘20s, a much larger and more impactful challenge was about to strike the Company – the Great Depression. Businesses and economies around the world were hit hard in the hip pocket, and Varley was no exception. In 1929, a loss of £195 was recorded.

With no knowledge of what lay ahead, the firm continued its thus-far profitable policy of renewing and expanding its machinery and capacity further, so as to service additional ships and collieries. But despite a new air caulking machine, pyrometer and weight testing facility, business fell flat and orders diminished further as the months passed.

The Depression had hit Varley like a storm, and the worst was yet to come…