Bruce Peebles

Transformer Manufacturers  -  East Pilton, Edinburgh



Bruce Peebles were manufacturers of transformers, motors and generators,  in Edinburgh.

In 1866, the company was founded in a small workshop at Fountainbridge, Edinburgh, to make gas meters.  It was founded when David Bruce Peebles  moved to Edinburgh.  David Bruce Peebles was born in Dundee in 1826.  He died in 1899.

In 1876, the company bought land at Hill-House Field, Bonnington and built  larger premises there, named 'Tay Works'.

In the 1890s, the company was also manufacturing gas engines and in 1898 they began manufacturing electrical equipment, beginning with dynamos.

In 1903, the company moved to new works at East Pilton.  These lay to the east of Pilton Drive and on the north side of the old Caledonian railway line (now a walkway and cycle path).

Manufacture of transformers began in 1925

During World War II, 1939-45, the company turned its attention to the war effort, producing searchlights, minesweeping equipment, anti-aircraft guns,  a multiple rocket projector,  the PIAT mortar and pontoons for Mulberry harbours, used for D-day.

Construction of a large new transformer shop at East Pilton began in 1961.  (This was where the fire occurred in 1999.)

The works were within easy reach of Granton Harbour, through which some of the larger transformers were exported.

Granton Harbour - A load for a power station arrives from Bruce Peebles in the 1960s

In 1967, the company became merged with Reyrolle Parsons of Newcastle to form Parsons Peebles.

In 1977, the company became part of Northern Engineering Industries and in 1984, it was re-named NEI Peebles Ltd.

In 1989, the company was acquired by Rolls Royce.

In 1992, following a merger of NEI and Rolls Royce, the company was re-named Rolls Royce Peebles Electric.

In 1998, the business was sold by Rolls Royce to the Austrian company, VA Technologie AG, and it and became VA TECH Peebles Transformers Ltd.

In April 1999, a major fire at the East Pilton plant prevented further production there, so the company moved to a new factory erected at

A new factory was erected at Bath Road, Leith Docks.  Production of transformers there began in September 2000 and continued until around 2005.

VA Tech Base  -  a former engineering workhouse in the south east corner of Leith Docks

Later in 2005, the company was acquired by Siemens and became Siemens Transmission & Distribution Ltd.  No more transformers are being produced in Leith, but the company continues to look after its transformers already installed and Siemens transformers manufactured overseas, particularly in Germany


Thank you to the following sources of information used to compile the list above:

-  Granton History Group

-  Jim Taylor, Siemens Transmission & Distribution Ltd

-  'The Story of Bruce Peebles:  1866-1954'  (Booklet No 104: Publ.  Bruce Peebles, 1955)


Bruce Peebles

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Factory at East Pilton



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