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Birmingham, Longbridge, West Works

At Longbridge, Herbert Austin introduced mass production and the factory. In the three years 1914-7, the number of employees rose from 2,638 to over 20,000. In 1914 the original factory on Lickey Road south of the Midland railway line to Halesowen was expanded with a new stamp shop and extensions to the power house. Then in 1916 Austin started, first, the North Works between the Halesowen line and Longbridge Lane, and then the West Works on the west side of Bristol Road. Finally in 1917 more new shops were added to the original factory, now called the South Works, to accommodate aeroplane production.

The period after the First World War was difficult for the motor industry. Austin went temporarily into receivership in 1920 but prudent management kept the firm going and the famous Austin Seven started production in 1922. Only in 1926-7, however, did Austin start to build again, with a new administration block and despatch room fronting Lickey Road and designed by S.N. Cooke.