BAXI is a name that started in Bamber Bridge, 3 miles south of Preston. Richard Baxendale had an iron foundry in 1866 and this evolved to BAXI by 1933 when the first heating system was produced. BAXI was a well known name for domestic central heating boilers and the BAXI Bermuda was one of the most successful being launched in 1966.
The factory was fronted on Brownedge Road in Bamber Bridge and had an attractive Edwardian style main office block fronted by a lawn and large pond. The road circumvented the pond and still does to this day creating a double sharp bend. There are now a lot of apartment blocks in the area, mainly on the old railway sidings. Across the road is a large church, St Mary's, and a triangle of grass surrounded by hedges and roads contains a shelter and cross (need to check this, also if the office building is still there).
In 1983 the company was sold to its employees at a low price to form the BAXI Partnership.
In the 1990's under Brian Gray the partnership expanded rapidly. In 2000, the BAXI Partnership sold its boiler and radiator business in a take-over by Newmond, some say merger, who owned names like Potterton. It became the BAXI Group with several factories. The merger led to some local doubt about its future in the area. The HQ is now in Derby and there are factories all over Europe employing around 5000 people.
The Bamber Bridge factory is believed to be making the micro-Combined Heat and Power boiler which enables industrial and domestic consumers to generate their own electricity for use on their premises or sell it back to the grid. BAXI was always a market leader and to-date it still is with the micro-CHP and ground sourced heat boilers.
The name BAXI was on the shirts of PNE in the seasons around the millenium while Bryan Gray, MD of BAXI, was PNE chairman. He resigned from PNE and sponsorship ceased at the BAXI take-over in 2000. Bryan Gray became MD of the merged group. He was well thought of by PNE fans as the team was successful during his spell, with David Moyes as manager.
The BAXI Partnership now works to promote the benefits of employee ownership. Founded by Philip Baxendale in 1983 as stated above.