Product Catalogue Marine Catalogue

History & Heritage



Many engineering companies claim quality and service are in their DNA. But for us, it’s literally true. Four generations of the Austin family have directed our company, with a single purpose: to help our customers ensure safety and legislative compliance.

Our founders, William and Harold Austin, established the company in 1937 to provide the lifting equipment tesabout_us-smallts and inspections demanded by the new Factories Act. In a sense, we still do the same.

The Austin brothers’ guiding principles were simple: high-quality engineering, dealing openly with customers, and charging an honest price. And although the company has grown into new sectors – working all over the world – that same approach has always served us well.

It seems popular with our customers, too. Some of the companies William and Harold served in those early days are still clients today.

Reaching the world from the South of England

That’s not to say we’ve stayed still; far from it. We quickly outgrew our first workshop in Poole, Dorset, and moved to Bournemouth. Word-of-mouth recommendations kept arriving, and in 1978 we opened a branch office in Cornwall, broadening our reach across the South of England – and later the world.

In 1988, we developed our Lifting Equipment Management System, LEMS, to help our clients track the inspections status of their lifting gear. Again, focusing on our customers has given us great results: LEMS is now the leading system of its kind, and used on 80% of the world’s cruise liners.

The legislation changes; our approach stays the same

Throughout our journey, we’ve found new ways to help our customers comply with complex and changing legislation.

In 1989, we established our industrial door division, and in 1990 we extended our testing and inspection services into the marine sector. Height safety and training services soon followed, along with our defence division – helping military buyers to save budget by finding off-the-shelf lifting parts complying with NATO procurement codes.

We hope William and Harold would be impressed by the way we’ve grown – and by the way we’ve retained their values; plain speaking, honest pricing, and doing what we say, when we say.

Like them, we work hard to make safety compliance easy – earning busy customers’ trust, so they have one less thing to worry about.

Contact us now:
Dorset: +44 (0) 1202 828700
Cornwall: +44 (0) 1208 264162




1937 Austin & McLean founded in Poole by Harold and William Austin


1944 Joined the Chain Testers Association Membership No. 3 (LEEA)


1978 Bodmin branch established


1988 Creation of LEMS


1989 Industrial Door Division established


1990 Services to Shipping Division established


1995 Company quality assured to BS5750 Pt1 (now ISO9001)


2003 Height Safety Division established


2004 Training services established


2009 AM Defence & Marine Services established

Bournemouth: +44 (0) 1202 828700 Bodmin: +44 (0) 1208 264162