Looking Back 50 Years

Norman and Kevin Roper

Norman Leonard Roper founded N.L Roper & Sons Ltd after starting his career as an engineer apprentice, and later worked at Perkins Diesel in Peterborough. He later worked as a technical sales representative within the lapping industry for over 10 years, where he gained a wider busines view of the industry and saw an opportunity to establish his own business. In 1970 Norman relocated from Bedford to Norfolk with his family to set up a small lapping business with a previous colleague. Together they worked from a business premises in Hempnall. However, the new demands of the business meant that Norman relocated the business to Harleston, where he could be closer to family life and work.

Norman Roper at Work

In 1971 N.L. Roper & Sons Ltd became a registered company in the Market Place, Harleston, where Norman and Jeane steadily built the business. In 1978 a newly built premises became available on the developing Harleston Industrial Estate which was occupied by the company for several years.
Kevin, Norman and Jeane’s son, had a keen interest in engineering, he trained on a 4-year engineering apprenticeship at the RAE in Bedford, upon completion of this training, Kevin joined the family business.
In 1985 the business restructured after Norman passed and after Jeane decided to step down as Company Secretary.

Kevin Roper at work

By 1987 the business had expanded, and land became available for purchase on the Harleston Industrial Estate. Kevin made the executive decision to invest in the company’s expansion at this site. Over 18 months the original factory premises were constructed and soon after the machines were moved in allowing NLR to expand the capacity and output for our customers. During the time in thew original factory, NLR continued to expand machinery with loyal customers who would seek out precision engineering. In 1999 Kevin’s wife joined the growing team as Company Secretary and remains involved this day.

Original Building

In the early 2000’s NLR made the decision to attain more workshop space to support their growing clientele. At this time Ian, Wendy and Kevin’s son took a natural interest in engineering and joined the family business on completion of his apprenticeship at City College, Norwich.
Kevin is now enjoying being semi-retired and able to take an active interest in guiding his son Ian and the company forward.

New Building with Extension

Ian enjoys working together with his customers to develop tailor made solutions, ensuring excellence in service and Quality. This is a vital part of the business and we take pride in assisting our customers, offering a service for large- and small-scale manufacturing.

Kevin & Ian Roper

Now in our 50th year of trading Ian takes NLR into the third generation of Ropers who are proud to serve their industry and strive to achieve the best in customer care.  We have a fully trained and time served team of operators who support each other and work closely to satisfy all our customer needs.