James White Engineering (JWE) was founded in Reading in 1953, having previously been a coach company. We diversified into engineering due to the shortage of parts to maintain our coaches following the Second World War. The only way to get these parts was to make them in-house! Word got around about our engineering capabilities and a business was born.
In the mid-fifties JWE concentrated on sheet metalwork for the aircraft industry - both military and commercial. Over the decades, thanks to consistent investment and a total commitment to quality, JWE is now a Tier 1 supplier to Aerospace, Defence and Medical.
Approved to AS 9100
We work with aluminium, copper, mild, stainless steels and plastics. Delivery is by our own fleet of vehicles, and we are conveniently situated close to many of the main motorway routes.
We are able to offer our clients a rapid prototype and pre-production service using 3D modelling.
Quality and Efficiency
JWE is able to offer innovative solutions to assist customers in reducing their costs while maintaining quality and efficiency.
JWE is proud to be considered a key strategic supplier of high precision components to the Martin Baker Aircraft Company both in the UK and USA.
James White was born in Reading in 1856. In the mid-1870s, his father William built a substantial property in Castle Street, Reading, including large carriage sheds and stables. This allowed the White family to carry out business as dairymen and flymen (carts for hire with driver). By 1891, James was a Job Master running his own business at the Castle Street site and by 1911 he was running a cab business (horses and motorised). This was a very early date to have motorised vehicles. read more >
By the 1920s the company ran a fleet of charabancs and coaches in addition to cabs and hire cars. The coaches continued until WWII, when they were commandeered by the government. By this time, the company were also motor engineers, able to service and repair motorcycles, cars, light vans and coaches. In addition, they also had the ability to manufacture parts when these were unavailable.
White’s famously completed the manufacture of two or three Aston Martin racing cars, when Aston Martin themselves were strikebound. White’s was now run by James’s youngest son Harry. James died in 1945.
During the war, the company made components in support of the aircraft industry, with Woodley Airfield being on the outskirts of Reading.
James White Ltd gradually directed more resources towards the engineering side of the business after the war and specialised in high specification precision fabrication. In the early 1950s, they gained MOD (Air) certification and outgrew the Castle Street site. Another factory was opened in the South Oxfordshire village of Stoke Row and with the modernisation of Castle Street, served the company until the late 1960s, by which time the taxi business had closed. James White Ltd was one of the first to be able to weld aluminium components successfully and gained a well-deserved reputation for this.
Harry, his wife Daphne, Albert Thorne and George Harding were the original directors of the company. All remained active in the company until their respective deaths.
In 1964, the Castle Street site was compulsorily purchased to make way for the Reading Inner Distribution Road and a purpose built factory was built at Commercial Road. The company moved both sites to the new premises in 1967, where the company still trades to this day. The White family relinquished any day to day involvement with the death of Harry in 1983 and final family links were severed in 2008.