L. Gardner and Sons Ltd was a well-known British builder of diesel engines for stationary, marine, road and rail applications. The company was founded in Hulme Manchester England in 1868. They started building engines around 1895. The firm of L. Gardner & Sons ceased engine production in the mid 1990s.


About 1868 Lawrence Gardner set up as a sewing machine maker in Upper Duke Street, Stretford Road, Hulme, Manchester. Lawrence Gardner died in 1890 but the business was continued by his sons under the name L. Gardner & Sons Ltd.

Gas and diesel enginesEdit

From about 1895 the company was building gas engines and, in 1899 it moved into Barton Hall Engine Works, Patricroft, Manchester.

In 1903 it became a limited company, L Gardner and Sons Ltd. Norris and Henty Ltd, of London, were appointed as sales agents.

Diesel engine production began in around 1903. In 1912 a new sales subsidiary, Norris, Henty and Gardners Ltd, was formed.

During World War I (1914-1918) the company made munitions and parts for heavy guns and engines for tanks.

Automotive enginesEdit

During the 1920s there was rapid development in the design of diesel engines. In 1929 a Gardner "4L2" marine engine was fitted into a Lancia bus. This conversion was successful and prompted Gardner to introduce the "LW" series of diesel engines, designed especially for road vehicles but later modified and supplied as a total marine engine including factory fitted bilge pumps.

During World War II (1939-1945) Gardner's war work consisted mainly of building diesel engines of their own design.

Post-war dieselsEdit

Gardner engine 6LW of 1961 (sectioned) - IMG 2583

A Sectioned 6LW of 1961 at the Anson Engine Museum from a Bristol Commercial Vehicles bus.

After the war the 'LW' diesel engine continued to be built in large numbers for lorries and buses and was later supplemented by the more modern 'LX'. The larger '6L3' and '8L3' engines were used in railway locomotives, such as British Rail Class 01 and British Rail Class 04 and also in vessels of up to 120 feet such as MV Havengore, and the famous maxi yachts Condor & Condor of Bermuda, and others.

The supply of remanufactured Gardner engines and genuine Gardner partsEdit

L. Gardner and Sons ceased production of new engines in the early 1990s. The introduction of emissions regulations for road-going Gardner diesels would have required the development of significantly modified or totally new engine designs, and in the marine market there was a shift away from big, low-speed, high-torque engines such as Gardners towards adapted high-speed automotive turbodiesels. Two spin-off firms from the original company are still in existence. Gardner Marine Diesels [1] overhauls, re-manufactures and installs a wide range of marine-spec Gardners and both they and Gardner Parts Limited[2] supply genuine Gardner engine parts for all types of engine worldwide. Another firm Gardner Enthusiast Ltd are manufacturing piston rings, engine valves and major engine castings, including marine manifolds for the 8LXB. Gardner Enthusiast Ltd also supply engine casting to Gardner Parts Ltd.[3]


The Anson Engine Museum has an extensive collection of historic Gardner engines.



  • Smith, Donald H., The Modern Diesel, pp 151–154, published by Iliffe & Sons, London, 13th edition 1959

Further readingEdit

  • L. Gardner & Sons Limited: Legendary Engineering Excellence by Graham Edge (ISBN 1902356160)

External linksEdit

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