The rise of Valeport manufacturing

Valeport's Totnes facility. Credit: Valeport

When Charles Quartley bought loss-making British maritime instrumentation manufacturer Valeport in 1985, his first painful decision was to lay off half the workforce. But in 2019, the company celebrated its 50th anniversary by expanding its Devon premises

Valeport was founded in 1969 by engineer Jim Stephens who developed the Braystoke flow meter (BFM001) for the Thames Barrier project in London. Stephens owned a machining firm that supplied the aerospace industry, but he saw potential in the maritime market and established Valeport Developments in Dartmouth, Devon.

Building on BFM001’s popularity, Valeport developed a range of flow meters and accessories. When Stephens retired in 1981, the company was bought by marine survey group Oceonics. That company, whose brands included Geofix and Seatronics, was about to go public and looking to expand its portfolio; Valeport was a natural fit. It was at this point that Charles Quartley came on scene.

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