David Scott

DAVID Scott, who founded his own manufacturing business from humble beginnings in a building once used as a debtors’ prison and transformed the venture into a worldwide enterprise, has died aged 78.

He was also a talented water colour artist whose work has been exhibited and some of which hangs in Oakwell Hall, Kirklees. He was also noted for his paintings of Wharfedale.

David Anthony Scott was born in Birkenshaw, West Yorkshire, the only son and the elder of the two children of Raymond and Kathleen Scott. His father worked at the local wire works.

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He was educated firstly at the local school before going to Batley Junior College of Art for his secondary education. From there, he went to work for the manufacturing company Jonas Woodhead as a draughtsman. During this time, he studied at night school for 10 years and gained his Higher National Certificate in engineering.

After working for a number of other companies, he identified a niche market for centrifugal fans and set up his own business, Halifax Fan Manufacturing Co Ltd, in 1965.

Initially it was to serve the local area but the quality, design and reliability of the products were so good he was soon expanding worldwide as it became recognised as a leading player in the design and manufacture of such fans.

The business began in Halifax debtors’ prison because, having been standing empty and neglected for many years, it was not too expensive for the new company to buy.

They had to first clean it and cleared out thousands of oyster shells which, in the 1880s, were bought from the pub across the road to feed the prisoners because they were cheap.

Two years later the firm moved to Boothtown and a new factory was built at Salterhebble in 1972.

Mr Scott sold the business in 1996 and for a short time continued as a technical consultant. The factory was later sold by the new owners and the firm moved to Brighouse.

Under Mr Scott’s direction the company always had an apprentice and as part of their training they were sent to KITS, the independent training organisation at Brighouse. When he retired, he became a member of their board of governors and continued to help with training for 20 years, only standing down earlier this year because of 

Mr Scott, who was a Fellow of the Institute of Directors, is remembered for his innovation and entrepreneurial spirit.

In retirement, he was able to give more time to his other interests of water colour painting, for which he had a natural talent, and fly fishing.

He was a member of Roberttown Art Club, Kilnsey Angling Club and Wharfedale Piscatorial Club.

He took a keen interest in politics as a member of Batley and Spen Conservative Association for whom he canvassed and leafleted for local and national elections, particularly when Elizabeth Peacock was the local MP from 1983 to 1997.

Mr Scott is survived by Mary, his wife of 55 years, sons Timothy and Jonathan and his younger sister Anne.

A funeral service will be held on Monday, August 11, at St Paul’s Church, Birkenshaw, at 11.30am.