Home > About Us > History
 

The Searle Story 

The Searle story started in 1921when Searle Radiators was founded in London by the late Mr. Charles Searle, who together with his twelve employees, manufactured radiators and oil coolers for the motor industry. The Second World War brought about a major change and an increased in the variety of products manufactured, the majority of which were used by the Royal Air Force. 

 

 

 1921   Charles Searle had a motor accident in which he damaged his car’s radiator. Frustrated at being unable to get it repaired or replaced easily, he founded “The Searle Radiator Company Limited” in London’s Camden Town and employed 12 people.
     
 1937/8   Increasing demand for aircraft prior to the second world war led Charles Searle to diversify and “Searle Aircraft Sheet Metalwork Limited (London) was formed. The business flourished and was extended in London into 3 other premises and in 1938 a factory was opened in Quay Street,  Fareham, to deal with aircraft radiator repairs.  “Searle Aircraft Radiator Repairs Limited (Fareham)” was formed in this year. It was either a fortuitous or far sighted decision because between 1939 and 1945  the Fareham works was very busy. 
     
 1939   The outbreak of war brought major changes and there was a huge increase in the variety of products manufactured, the majority of which were used by the RAF.  At this time the Company also had a plant in Emsworth.
     
1940 by 1940 “Searle Radiators and Refrigeration Limited” was born.
 

 

 1950   Charles Searle’s Son, Leslie Searle, took over the reins in 1950.  With a good reputation and almost 30 years experience,  Searle diversified into the refrigeration industry  by making parts for domestic refrigerators. 
 
     
 1953    With Searle’s continuing success they won the exclusive rights to manufacture and market Bush Refrigeration equipment throughout Europe and Africa, from Dunham-Bush Inc of West Hartford, USA.
1959/61 1959 the Company changed its name to “Searle Manufacturing Company Limited” and had outgrown the London factory. The  London premises closed and the company consolidated its activities on the 21 acre site south of Fareham where it still  remains. During the 60’s another Bush product range was added.  These were the air handling units for air conditioning which extended Searle’s activities into quite different fields.
1962 Having established the Company’s reputation in the refrigeration industry, the family company was sold to the Hall-Thermotank Group on the 28 December 1962.
     
1970's Searle had now taken the lead in the production of heat exchanger equipment for ‘air side’ products used in the Refrigeration and Air Conditioning industries.  Having become a proven success story, Searle became the target for corporate takeovers.  
1979 On the 12 May 1976, the Company was acquired by Prestcold Limited (a British Leyland Company).
1981 Acquisition of the Parent Company, Prestcold, by Suter plc on 1 April 1981 under the ownership of David Abell.
1996 In August of this year Suter plc was acquired by Ascot plc under the ownership of Howard Dyer
2001/2 The Ascot Group was acquired by Dow Chemicals on 1st June. A year later the Searle company was re-acquired by Howard Dyer.  The name changed to ICG (UK) Limited on the 25 July 2002 but the ‘Searle’ trading name remained. 
2008 Searle was acquired by the GEA Group in December 2008.  The name changed to GEA Searle Ltd with effect fromn 21 December