The Lister Family

The firm started by Robert Ashton Lister in 1867 was fortunate in being managed by successive generations of a family who shared many of his qualities. Strong leadership, a willingness to work hard and a good sense of judgment all played a part in taking the company from its humble roots in 1867 to one which was a world leader in its marketplace and the major employer in the town. To a lesser extent, in 2003, it still is.

Sir Ashton had four sons, Edward, Charles, Austin and Stewart who all played a part in the running of the company. Later on, Charles' five sons, George, Robert, Percy, Frank and Cecil continued the family role until the company was taken over by the Hawker Siddeley Group in 1965. Even then, Sir Percy continued as Chairman and Managing Director and a fourth generation represented by Richard, son of Cecil, and James, son of Percy, went on to join the company.

  Picture Gallery (Click on picture for larger view)

George Lister (senior)
(14th March 1790 - 25th March 1870) It was George Lister who started it all when he moved to Dursley from Yorkshire in 1817. With an inheritance from his father, he bought Rivers Mill on Uley Road in 1822 and set up in business as a card maker and wire drawer. George went on to have 12 children by two wives. The most famous, Robert Ashton, George's 10th child, went on to found the firm of R.A. Lister & Co. which became Dursley's dominant employer.
(courtesy David Evans)

    Sir Robert Ashton Lister
(4th February 1845 - 6th December 1929) Robert Ashton was born at The Rivers, Dursley on February 4th 1845 although his father was a native of Yorkshire. He started the firm of R.A.Lister & Co. in 1867 and worked hard to build it up to be one of the foremost manufacturers of diesel engines and agricultural machinery in the world. He was also a great philanthropist and cared greatly for his workers, building social housing and leisure and health facilities. In 1911 he was knighted in recognition of his public service and many celebrations were held in the town in his honour.
(January 20th 1910 - courtesy Richard Buffrey)
    Sir Robert Ashton Lister
(4th February 1845 - 6th December 1929) In the later years of Sir Ashton's life he devoted much time to leisure interests. He travelled widely, particularly around Europe. He was a keen horse-ride and a supporter of the Boy Scouts Movement and took a keen interest in his Church, The Dursley Tabernacle of which he became a Trustee after his son Edward's death in 1895. In 1918 he was voted in as a Member of Parliament, a post he held for four years. Sir Robert Ashton Lister saw out his days at The Towers which he had built in 1894. He died on December 6th 1929 and was buried in a simple grave at Dursley Tabernacle alongside his wife, Frances.
(1920's - courtesy Richard Buffrey)
    Charles Ashton Lister
(1871 - 27 March 1965) Charles was Sir Ashton's second son, his first Edward, having died at the age of 27 in 1895. Charles worked closely with his father and largely ran the company after Edward's death. It was Charles who was responsible for purchasing the Priory at the bottom of Long Street which became his home until it was transferred to R.A.Lister & Co. in 1906 after which it became offices. He travelled widely for Lister's in America, Australia and South Africa. During WW1 Charles became Chairman of the Ministry of Munitions and played a big role in overseeing the crisis in the production of ammunition. He also became a member of the Ministry of Reconstruction after the end of hostilities and was appointed CBE in 1918 in recognition of his war work. Charles eventually became Managing Director of Lister's but left the company in 1925 after a disagreement.
(The Lister Standard, June 1928 - courtesy Richard Buffrey)
    Austin Ashton Lister
(17th August 1873 - 31st October 1934) The third son of Sir Ashton Lister and Chairman of R.A.Lister & Co. after his father's death. During his time he travelled much, particularly in Canada where he also managed the branch offices. He is now buried in the family plot in the Dursley Tabernacle cemetery along with his father and mother and his brother Edward.
(The Lister Standard, No.2 Vol XI - courtesy Richard Buffrey)
    Edward Ashton Lister
(21st January 1895 - 2nd July 1915) Edward Ashton was a grandson of Robert Ashton Lister. Edward's father, also called Edward, was Robert's first son but sadly Edward senior died within four weeks of his son's birth. Edward junior also died at an early age as he was killed on active service in a flying accident in France on 2nd July 1915 whilst serving as an Air Mechanic 2nd Class with the Royal Flying Corps.
(Dursley, Berkeley and Sharpness Gazette, July 10th 1915 - courtesy Mickey Mellerup)
    George Ashton Lister
(12th January 1893 - 26th August 1973) George was the eldest of five brothers, son of Charles and grandson of Sir Ashton. He was an officer in the 5th Battalion, The Gloucestershire Regiment during the Great War and served until wounded in 1917. After the war he rejoined the family business and took charge of the Canadian branch before returning to Dursley and becoming a member of the board of directors. After World War II he took charge of the Wroughton factory and its subsidiaries.
(The Lister Standard, June 1927 - courtesy Richard Buffrey)
    Robert Browning Lister
(23rd March 1894 - 28th March 1975) Second son of Charles, Robert studied engineering in Glasgow before joining R.A.Lister & Co. Like his brother George he was also an officer in the 5th Battalion, The Gloucestershire Regiment and after spending time at the front during World War I he returned to Dursley and became joint Works Manager with A.E.Mellerup, taking charge of the cream separator department and later the autotruck and marine engine departments.
(The Lister Standard, June 1925 - courtesy Richard Buffrey)
    Sir Charles Percy Lister
(15th July 1897 - 7th March 1983) Charles Percy Lister joined his grandfather's company after World War I after spending time in France and Germany. He became Sales Director in 1922 and then Managing Director in 1925. He travelled far and wide, working hard to promote the company's products and spending time visiting the foreign subsidiaries, the sales representatives and their customers.
(The Lister Standard, March 1930 - courtesy Richard Buffrey)
    Frank Herbert Lister
(23rd September 1898 - 31st May 1988) Frank joined the R.A.Lister company in 1919 and spent some time gaining experience in the workshops. He then became company buyer and then a director in 1922 and company secretary the following year. Later in his career he became Works director for the Dursley and Cinderford factories.
(The Lister Standard, December 1924 - courtesy Richard Buffrey)
    Ashton Cecil Lister
(31st January 1905 - 12th March 1987) Cecil Lister was the youngest of Charles' sons and joined the R.A.Lister company in 1926 to work on commercial activities. He became Home Sales Manager and took responsibility for home, agricultural, and marine engine sales.
(The Lister Standard, June 1928 - courtesy Richard Buffrey)