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Howards Rotavators

Harleston Industries Ltd opened in 1961, with 170 people on the payroll, by 1966 it had leapt to 380 and a new building had to be erected at the rear of the premises to cope with the increase in production. By 1973, 575 people were employed and the business was then known as Howard Rotavators.

As well as providing employment for local people there was also a thriving social club (Harleston Industries Sports and Social Club). This was on a site next to the factory. It later became ‘The Apollo Club’, and is now the site of ‘Waveney Place Retirement Homes’.

The company went into receivership in July 1985. Redundancies were made in both February and May of that year, but this was not enough to save the firm, who blamed ‘declining demand for agricultural machinery particularly overseas’. The premises were then taken over by Dowdswells, also a manufacturer of agricultural machinery, but this closed in 2001. The site is now the ‘Sancroft Square’ housing estate.


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