About John Lilley & Gillie Ltd

In 1812, John Lilley, aged 24, founded John Lilley and Son in London. John Lilley is recorded as being an optician and the company manufactured nautical instruments, magnetic compasses, sextants and telescopes. In 1885 John Wilson Gillie founded Wilson & Gillie in North Shields as Admiralty chart agents and magnetic compass and nautical instrument makers. Over the years John Wilson Gillie patented many improvements to the magnetic compass and binnacle. 

In 1913 the two companies merged, and in 1943 were renamed as John Lilley & Gillie Ltd. After over 200 years in business, John Lilley & Gillie Ltd have consolidated our position as the UK’s pre-eminent manufacturer of magnetic compass outfits. We have moved into larger, more modern warehouse and office premises to better serve our international customer base.

Lilley & Gillie Royal Visit Image 1On the 2nd of July 2012 to mark our bicentenary we had the very great honour of hosting a visit to our North Shields head office from Her Royal Highness The Princess Royal. Her Royal Highness toured our premises accompanied by Glenn Heathcote, our Managing Director, and met with a wide variety of our staff, including our Chairman and our Chief Executive, (and other main Board Directors), team members from our equipment warehouse, our magnetic compass testing/calibration technicians, sales and sales administration staff, electronic equipment service engineers and our IT departments. 

Lilley & Gillie Royal Visit Image 2During her tour Her Royal Highness saw demonstrations of our latest, state of the art, fully Type Approved electronic navigation equipment, including our NAVMASTER Electronic Chart Display Information System, (ECDIS), our Bridge Navigation Watch Alarm System, (BNWAS) and our new Intelligent Wind Alarm System, (IWAS). She also saw a prototype of our brand new SESTREL NAVIGATOR compass, which is soon to begin Type Approval testing.


Latest News

2016 SMM

SMM has come to a close.


This was a very successful for Lilley and Gillie with a phenomenally busy stand. 


We wish to put a big thank you out to all of our existing distributors that came to visit, as well as the many new people who came to see us. 



SMM 2016

Lilley and Gillie are proud to announce that our sales and service team we will be attending SMM once again in September of 2016.  

SMM is the biggest maritime show in the entire world, and we are honoured to be a part of it, and to share the experience with all other nations attending.

We first exhibited in 2004 and have been attending ever since. 


P296 Service Bulletin

John Lilley and Gillie Ltd : Service Bulletin – July 2016

Wind speed and direction masthead units – Customer Modifications of sensor / Voiding the warranty.

There have been a small number of warranty claims in recent months regarding the P296 cup and vane style sensors.  This bulletin will be addressing what to do in the event of any similar problem occurring and the correct procedure to follow.

In the unlikely event of a unit developing a defect please note that we operate a “return to base” warranty procedure, which is outlined in our terms and conditions of sale.  


Navmaster Training in Plymouth

Advanced training on the Navmaster ECDIS was held in Plymouth at the PC Maritime office.


Attendees included Bogerd Martin Shanghai's John Yang and John Lilley and Gillies Far East Sales Manager Daniel Lim.