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Amazing Thames Valley Companies: Oxford Instruments


As any home inventor will tell you, the best companies start in a shed, in a garden, behind your house.


This week’s amazing Thames Valley company is no exception, beginning life in a humble common-or-garden shed belonging to Sir Martin Wood in North Oxford in 1959.


It is of course, Oxford Instruments!


Oxford Instruments was one of the first spin-out companies from the University of Oxford and is still one of the most successful - so in effect it’s a 60 year old tech start up!


From such humble beginnings the company was listed just 24 years later in 1983 on the London Stock Exchange, is now headquartered in Abingdon, has current market capitalisation of over £650million and employs over 1500 people across the world!


Not afraid to get his hands (literally) dirty, Sir Martin began his national service in 1945 by mining for coal, first in Wales and then in the Midlands, so he’s built the company from the (under) ground up!


From 1955 to 1969, he was a Senior Research Officer at the Clarendon Laboratory at the University of Oxford and he used the knowledge he gained there about high field magnets to create the company. Since then the company has built all manner of amazing things such as X-Ray machines and the world’s first ever commercial MRI scanner at their former Osney Mead site in 1980.


More recently, the company’s NanoAnalysis division won the prestigious Queen’s Award for Enterprise 2019 for the Ultim® Extreme detector system.


But it doesn’t end there. Away from work Sir Martin also founded the Earth Trust to promote nature conservation at Little Wittenham and Wittenham Clumps, The Oxford Trust for the promotion of scientific education and science-based enterprise, and the Sylva Foundation to support sustainable forest management.


So an all round amazing company, founded by an amazing person: Oxford Instruments, from everyone here at Selective Recruitment, we salute you!

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