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Laurence Sydney Yoxall

(1901-1976), Businessman

Sitter in 1 portrait

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Graham Cox

06 January 2021, 16:45

Laurence Yoxall's wife was my mother's sister so he was my uncle. He was an inspiration to everyone and someone for a smal boy to look up to. As a family we celebeated Christmas Day at our house in Wimbledon and Boxing Day at his house in Coombe Hill or the other way round. He had a big car, possibly an Armstrong Siddeley, and my brother and I were allowed to stand on the front seat and put our heads out of the sunroof, which was great fun. We all went on holiday togwther most summers to Rustington.
In 1959 he bought an Aston Martin Mk 3 DHC. There were five of these cars made and David Brown, the boss of AM, had the first and Uncle Laurie had one of the others. A few weeks after he got it my brother aged 16 and i aged 13 cycled to hs house one Sunday afternoon - he always played golf on Sunday morning. We asked him to take us out in his new car, to which he readily agreed. The car was a two door two seater with a shelf behind the seata. I sat on the shelf and my brother was in the passenger seat. We went down the A3 Kingston-by-pass and went 100 MPH under the Ace=of=Spades underpass turned round at the next junction then did the same on the way back. What a thrill for two boys but that was just what Unclw Laurie was like. He sold the car after a few years and bought a BD5 but was never quite sure that it was an improvement on his BD3 FHC.
His car is now owned by a Austrian gentleman and it was considered to be so important that it was one of 100 cars on the Aston Martin Centenary Timeline at Kensington Gardens in 2013.
I have a photograph of Uncle Laurie at his company day out at Brighton, between the two wars, with him carrying a large hamper of sandwiches which he was giving out to his staff. That was the kind of chap that he was. both admired and respected by everyone who worked for him.

John Disher

25 January 2018, 10:11

Just a comment but I thought Fox-Yox was bought by Cibie, a French company (I'm only querying the spelling and I think the 'e' should have an acute accent (ague) but I'm not sure how to do that on my keyboard.

John Disher

25 January 2018, 09:49

My Dad was his partner in the company. It originated as General Precision Instruments Ltd. Dad got dismissed from an employer, marched angrily out the drive and knocked Yoxall over. It was lunchtime so Dad took Yox to a pub by way of apology. They talked and Dad said he was an engineer and now unemployed and Yox wasn't doing much so they decided to try starting a company (GPI). As the company became stable Yox started going to America looking for possible business contacts and found the Foxboro Company. The idea was that, as they were in similar lines of business, they would market each other's products in the other country.
John Disher (son of Harold Thomas Disher, Yoxall's partner).

They used to refer to each other as 'Yox' and 'Dish'.
Yox died about six months after my Dad (as often happens in close long-term business relationships like this).


09 August 2017, 17:35

Laurie Yoxall was born in 1901. He founded an instrument-making company, under his own name, in the late 1920s which later merged with the US Foxboro company to form Foxboro-Yoxall. The company (based in Reigate and Redhill) was a pioneer in instrument electronics and process control equipment, with a number of important patents, and the company was an important supplier during WW2. By all accounts, Laurie was a sensitive and much admired boss. Foxboro-Yoxall went into a steep decline after his death, and was eventually acquired by Siebe plc (now Invensys).

He was appointed CBE in the Queen's Birthday Honours of 1971, for services to export. Although extremely wealthy, he was a man of simple tastes whose only indulgence was luxury cars; he commissioned a new Rolls-Royce coupé every 2 years, which was then sent to Hoopers to be painted in his particular shade of light blue. He and his wife, Rene (née Cocking), had one daughter (Sheila). They lived in a fine house with extensive gardens outside Kingston-upon-Thames. Always full of life and enthusiasm, he was tall with a mischievous sense of humour. A keen sportsman throughout his life, he died quite suddenly in March 1976, aged 74.

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