Our History

  • 1800


    BWT planted it’s roots during a time of innovation and novelty, an era hailed as one of the fascinating chapters in recent UK history.

    The place that made a mark the world over and become the first industrial city was none other than Manchester.

    Textiles and the cotton industry were the driving force behind this evolution and it was 1836 when James William Baxter established our company, initially as a manufacturer’s agency dealing in cotton goods.

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    As the company was going from strength to strength, by 1887 it was joined by two senior members, Robert Woodhouse and John Taylor.

  • 1940


    The second world war was transformative for BWT – similar to many other industries during wartime – and it inevitably paved the way for our pioneering work in aerospace.

    On Christmas Eve 1940, Manchester had its first heavy air raid but BWT fortuitously only suffered minor damage.

    The next day however, the bombers came back again and this time very frequently were as lucky; not only was a large part of Manchester destroyed, BWT’s headquarters were totally ruined. The warehouse, the equipment and the century-old company archive were completely burned down – only two walls were left standing.

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    In 1947 Baxter Woodhouse and Taylor moved to the Woodside Factory in Poynton. By then, BWT had progressed to an esteemed manufacturer of complex equipment for aircraft and industrial applications.

  • 1950



    By the 1950s, the company had already established itself in a variety of applications and was actually rather successful with every venture and business idea it had in its arsenal.

    Linings, clothing, flying suits, waterproof livery – anything to do with protection, padding, cushioning, coating and insulation was BWT’s core expertise. It was inevitable that the company would start producing items for aircraft and soon enough, BWT was manufacturing highly effective, secure and innovative insulation panels, electrical heater mats, lightweight ducting and other products for the aerospace industry.

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  • 1960



    The 1960s was another transformative decade for BWT. Our company had already joined the Society of British Aircraft Companies (SBAC) in the late ‘50s and had started exhibiting products at the Farnborough Air Show.

    A major turning point that propelled our growth, expansion and popularity way forward.

    Under the stewardship of Eric Taylor, BWT became further involved in the development of a full pressure suit and helmet for high altitude flying. Based upon a design by R E Simpson, this pressure suite was being made for experimental purposes at the RAE using the Windak technology..

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  • 1970



    Tides were turning in the 1970s. Following the previous decades’ aerospace boom then came a period of recession, therefore the ‘Star Wars’ era saw the termination of various older projects but also the introduction of exciting new technologies.

    The discontinuation of the Windak electric blanket, a product that was insofar considered one of BWT’s most popular – perhaps even iconic – marked the end of an era for our company. However, in line with the technological advances that were taking place during the time, BWT further developed its range of aircraft technologies.

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  • 1980


    The global airline industry was vastly different in the 1980s from what it is today.

    There was a variety of fleets, passengers had more allowances (including smoking), you could carry bottles of liquids on board and a dress code was required from first class ticket holders – suffice to say it was a very different era for air travel, heavily defined by speed, affluence and largesse.

    For BWT however, it was business as usual. From our new facilities in Adlington, our local, dutiful, hard-working UK team kept on honing its skills, streamlining its processes, perfecting its range of products and coming up with newer and better solutions for ducting systems.

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    Our famous Windak heated flying suit made an appearance in Star Wars, as worn by bounty hunter Bossk in ‘The Empire Strikes Back’.

  • 1990



    During the 1990s BWT further stepped up its game. By 1992, our company had received the Queen’s Award for Export

    (nowadays known as Queen’s Awards for Enterprise), an awards programme for British businesses who excel in technological innovation and international trade.

    In 1996, our company changed hands and was sold to Cork Industries.

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    In 1999, Cork Industries sold their aerospace ducting division to Senior plc, our parent company to this day, thus proudly becoming known as Senior Aerospace BWT.

  • 2000



    In April 2002, BWT relocated to a new 85,000 ft2 purpose-built facility in Adlington, Macclesfield.

    Since then, our company has kept on evolving and innovating to nowadays be considered an industry-leading company in designing and manufacturing aerospace air distribution systems.

  • 2010



    In February 2013, Senior plc acquired Atlas Composites, one of the UK’s most accredited and trusted composite manufacturers, leading the way in design and manufacture of composite components and tooling for aerospace, defence and motor sport.

    By 2016, BWT was a beneficiary of the UK government’s ‘Sharing in Growth’ Business Transformation programme with a focus on new automated manufacturing techniques, lean production, removal of waste, increased efficiency and lower end cost to the customer.


    By 2016, Atlas Composites were integrated into the BWT team further helping the growth of our presence and financial strength, while also providing a strong platform for future growth.

  • 2020



    2020 is the year that no one will forget but it’s also the year when BWT, in response to the critical shortage of PPE for front line workers in the UK, used their capability in additive processes to produce full face visors..

    ..for local NHS hospitals, surgeries, care homes and local police forces, all free of charge.

    Also, following customer demand (and as a throwback to our retail history), we also launched a new online shop, Baxter Collection, which featured a range of visors and face masks for commercial use.

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    In January 2021, we launched our new Additive Manufacturing facilities after five years of preparation.