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In 1867 the great uncle of Phillip of Sussex John H Oakley began a business casting manhole covers for the growing needs of the larger cities. The business flourished and expanded to include all manner of circular objects. One of the more successful items were locomotive wheels for the expanding railways. By 1886 John H was ready to pass the reins of the company over to Phillip who was a more adventurous member of the family, Phillip had big ambitions and was determined to expand the company to include the design and construction of locomotives and rolling stock.

Phillip had been doing his homework and was following the pioneering work of larger locomotive builders, he was not really interested in competing with them but rather settled on the narrow gauge industrial locomotives. This proved to be a wise move and the orders for light industrial locomotives was brisk. Within a few short years Phillip needed larger facilities. There was a site that looked promising adjacent to the Great Western main line about 5 miles west of Paddington the busy London terminus of the Great Western Railway. This was ideal because it would be easy to ship the new locomotives to the mines in the west country and also for the potential miniature tourist railways springing up along the coastal holiday resorts. The new site was located in the north part of Acton just east of the Scrap yard that was located next to Acton Central Station, also close by was the large shunting yard between Horn lane and Twyford Avenue.

So in 1893 Phillip named the firm Acton Locomotive Works & Foundry, the management at Acton was dynamic and innovative and filed quite a few firsts at the patent office.

When the 19th century came to a close the company was doing very well however there was a problem with another local firm that was also in the manufacturing business the problem was that their names were similar as was their main work, the other firm being the Acton Locomotive Foundry & Shops. The decision was made to change the name to Macton Locomotive Works & foundry this was a simple change and required the least changes to all the nameplates and moulds stationary etc. but was enough to make the distinction clear between the two firms. Later Phillip's nephew Bertrand was employed at Macton and became the caretaker of the little works loco Mercury