The Clarke Instruments Story

The company was formed in May 1969 by entrepreneur, designer and engineer Dr Walter Clarke and operated initially from a caravan in the garden of the family home. Dr Clarke’s love of problem solving and designing solutions was the catalyst for the founding and evolution of Clarke Instruments into the company we are today.

The fledgling company quickly out grew its small, somewhat temporary ‘office’ and moved into larger premises in Camberley, followed by a further relocation a few years later to 91a High Street Camberley. At that time the company was one of the major manufacturers of spare parts for the MOD and this ran in tandem with the development of the first patented Distance locking system (Distloc) and electronic coded access control system (Combalarm) for the security industry which was still in its infancy. (Dr Clarke was still indulging his love of problem solving!)

The defence sector moratorium in the early 1980’s effectively closed the factory as the company shrank from a work force of 50 with a nine month order book to a team of eight and a two-week order book, surviving on what was, in essence, Dr Clarke’s hobby of inventions for the security and access control industry. Selling the premises in Camberley financed the move west and the company relocated to Salisbury at the height of the recession in the 1980’s.

Since then the company has concentrated on security and access control. The old Distloc range is largely like the typewriter – obsolete in favour of software and computers. However the electro-mechanical design, manufacture and installation side of the business slowly grew and Clarke Instruments has today become synonymous with high quality British designed and manufactured products for the electro-mechanical locking of doors and gates, as well as automatic barriers, gate drives and turnstiles.

Dr Clarke retired and emigrated to Australia in 2001 and sadly passed away in October 2015 but his influence on the company is still very much in evidence in the number of bespoke products that have been designed to solve clients’ problems over the years, an area in which we still excel today.

Over the past 45 years, Clarke Instruments equipment has been installed and maintained in palaces and prisons, and most places in between. “Can you do?” was the starting point of many product designs, some of which are still in manufacture some 30-40 years later, and clients with 20 year old equipment are delighted to find we still have the same range in manufacture, when we are asked to provide a replacement. Old products can often be serviced or repaired instead of scrapped, meeting todays cost conscious market with the need for sustainability and throughout its history, Clarke Instruments is proud to be known as a manufacturer of robust products which have been designed and engineered to last.

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