People I Science I Business: Oxford Instruments

Celebrating the extraordinary story of Oxford Instruments to mark 60 years since its foundation. 

Oxford Instruments began in 1959 as a husband and wife partnership. Sir Martin and Lady Audrey Wood combined technical skills and business flair to create a company whose first focus was on building powerful magnets. Starting in their own garden shed, the company moved between a succession of Oxford premises, from a former abattoir to a boat house. The company of two would grow to dozens and eventually hundreds of employees.

By 1983 the combination of technical innovation and business strategy led to a successful flotation on the London stock market, providing the funds to develop the huge opportunity of MRI magnets.

Oxford Instruments remains a successful and dynamic company, providing high technology products and services to industry and science across the world. We now take for granted that research in universities will lead to commercial development and spinout companies but when Oxford Instruments began this was not a widely shared view. The company's culture has enabled it to move rapidly, adapt and remain a market leader: a global team of 1600 people who share Martin and Audrey's vision.

Open until 1 March 2020

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