Updated: Feb 1, 2019
This week we celebrate three years of NOVO Integration at Oxford House, Guiseley.
The move to Guiseley in 2015 marks a significant milestone for NOVO, coming only two years after the establishment of the company in 2013. The team had rapidly grown into double digits and our office in Pudsey soon reached full capacity.
Thus, the quest began for a bigger and better office space. We needed a place to fit everybody in, a place that has pride and truly reflects the esteem of NOVO Integration. A place that would be convenient for those who worked there, and a place that would be convenient for our clients and partners to converge at. A place with history, a talking point, a base.
Shortly after the search began, there was word of a building in Guiseley that met all our needs.
In Kelly’s Directory for the West Riding of Yorkshire (1908), the stone-built property is listed as the home of James Bowling Clabour who established his steam engine and steam-driven vacuum pump manufacturing business in 1874.
Clabour and his family resided in Oxford House, which comprised of hall, dining and drawing rooms, kitchen, scullery, lavatory, cellars, three large and one small bedrooms, bathroom and attics. The adjoining works comprised of 4390 sq ft of floor space, a boiler house, brick garage and wooden store sheds. An emblem of ‘JBC’ sits above the main entrance of the property to this day.
J. B. Clabour produced horizontal steam engines which were usually adapted for powering electric lighting, pumping, brick machinery and grinding mills. He presented his ‘Improved Horizontal Steam Engine’ at the General Trade Exhibition in Leeds in 1885 and exhibited a combined engine and boiler model at the Leeds Exhibition 5 years later. Several of Clabour’s engines can be found in the Bradford Industrial Museum.
In 1908, James Bowling Clabour passed away aged 52 and his son, James Arthur Clabour continued business for a further 20 years. An advertisement for the sale of Oxford House was featured in the Yorkshire Post in 1929.
In the 1930s, 1940s and perhaps 1950s, Oxford House was occupied by Doctor William James Ludlow, who – in 1943 – was declared the “Examining Surgeon of the Guiseley District” in the London Gazette.
He served the people of Guiseley for countless years and there are many kind words to be found about Dr Ludlow in the ‘Guiseley Memories’ Facebook Group.
In 1964, the Guiseley Registry Office opened at Oxford House and saw approximately 300 to 350 couples marry each year. One couple in particular, Michael and Beverley Atkinson, married in Oxford House in 1976. They returned to the premises in 2016 to celebrate their Ruby wedding anniversary, where Michael presented Beverley with an eternity ring.
In 1981 the Guiseley Registry Office permanently closed due to “economic reasons”, but the precious memories live on and many stories and photographs can be found online.
The building had several uses between this time and the present, with its most recent renovation taking place in the early 2000s.
Sunspring Ltd owned the existing works buildings to the rear of Oxford House, which were sold and developed into residential apartments (now Oxford Court Apartments).
Eshton Group acquired Oxford House from Leeds City Council in 2004 after the property had stood empty for approximately two years. Prior to this, it was home to a management training centre operated by the council. Eshton refurbished the property as it’s new head office, completing the works in 2005. This involved sandblasting the soot from the bricks and replacing the windows of the building.
Eshton operated their property development business from the premises for the following 10 years, before expanding and moving into the city centre.
Monday 9th November 2015 was our first day of business in our new, yet historically rich, office.
Three years into our time at Oxford House, our team has doubled in size. We now have a 20-strong team of Electrical, Mechanical, Public Health, CAD and Sustainability Engineers. We offer a plethora of services and our vast collective experience only grows as we do. We have taken on three apprentices and three university students since our space has expanded and we have the capacity to support and invest in the next generation of engineers.
Also this week we have taken on our 1000th project since commencing business in 2013 – yet another huge milestone for everybody at NOVO.
We look forward to what the future may hold for NOVO Integration, and for the treasure that is Oxford House.
Please contact Louise (email@example.com) for any suggested corrections.
Sketch of Oxford House by Grant Pitch, 2006. His wife, Audrey, is the daughter of Dr Ludlow.