The Magazine of Lenton Local History Society

Lenton Times Issue 8 - May 1993

Genristo Ltd. has been in business for over sixty years, for most of that time here in Lenton. Even so some readers may be unaware of its existence which is understandable given that Genristo's premises are tucked away in the hinterland between Lenton Boulevard and Willoughby Street. Strictly speaking its address is Prospect Place but, as this is not the easiest of streets for a stranger to find; the company prefers to say it is on Osmaston Street.

The location adequately pinpointed we now turn to the exact nature of the business. It is at this point that readers are most likely to admit their ignorance. The name ’Genristo' doesn't in itself provide any clues unless you're aware that it is an abbreviated form of General Resistors, the original title for the company. Given this you might then 'think electric' — which would indeed be correct. A search for a Genristo label among your domestic appliances, however, is almost certain to prove fruitless as the company's customers all lie within the industrial sector. You might be lucky and spot this Lenton product while on a tour of a factory but in all probability it will be hidden from view within the casing of specific electrical equipment. For Genristo are manufacturers of electric heating components. Within the domestic context we all have experience of such components in electric cookers, kettles and steam irons. At one time Genristo actually supplied a domestic cooker manufacturer with hot plates and provided part of the technical back—up for the electrical repair service once offered by Pearsons Store on Long Row. These instances apart Genristo has resolutely confined itself to the needs of industry.

The view of Genristo's premises from Prospect Road. Photo by Paul Bexon

The company's founder was Frederick William Muncaster. Initially employed by the local electric corporation in Newcastle and later by the equivalent enterprise in Leicester, Mr. Muncaster noticed a possible niche in the market for the manufacture of electric heating elements. He moved to Nottingham in 1930 and set up operations in a property on llkeston Road known as Radford Mill situated close by the White Horse public house. The venture succeeded and in 1936/7 the business moved to larger premises on the present site. At this time the property consisted of one long thin single-storey building, probably erected in the 1830s and largely hidden by housing on both Harley Street and Prospect Place. The easiest way to pinpoint its presence was by the huge chimney visible at the Mettham Street end of Harley Street. The chimney is still with us, although it and the associated boiler house were largely surplus to requirements. The previous occupants of the building, the Victoria Steam Laundry, had put them both to more productive use. After two decades of paying rent the decision was taken to acquire the property and after protracted negotiations with Sir Albert Ball (Nottingham) Ltd. the site became Genristo's. Included in the deal were five house on Prospect Place and these were subsequently demolished in order to permit the construction in 1963/4 of the office block shown in our photograph. The other residential properties adjoining Genristo on Harley Street had been compulsorily purchased by the City Council and following their demolition in 1971 the land was offered to the company. The option was taken up and in 1975/6 the striking red modular building which houses the 'tubular' department was built. A second storey was added in 1979 and this now houses an amenity block. The final addition came in 1982 when the 'engineering' department was erected at the Mettham Street end of the site.

About thirty people are currently employed at Genristo, quite a few of whom have been with the company their entire working careers. In part this is because the specialised nature of the work means the training and knowledge gained are not so easily transferred elsewhere. A more favourable consideration is the relatively high degree of job satisfaction on offer. This arises from the fact that the company is happy to accept very small orders (sometimes as low as one), and as each order may well involve different specifications the workforce is kept on its toes and the tedium associated with assembly line manufacture held in check. Within its specialist field Genristo offers customers an astonishing number of different kinds of heater components. Included in the company's catalogue are a range of air, band, bobbin, cartridge, convector, drum, immersion, knuckle, mantle, mould, panel, punch, reflector, roller, tubular and water heaters. This wide product range allied to a willingness to customise a heater according to a client's individual specifications keeps the orders rolling in. These orders come from all over the country and beyond and include regular customers in the pharmaceutical, plastics and motor industries. And provided they continue to do so Genristo will remain part of the Lenton scene as it endeavours to serve this specialised market to the best of its ability.

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