Grace's Guide To British Industrial History

Registered UK Charity (No. 115342)

Grace's Guide is the leading source of historical information on industry and manufacturing in Britain. This web publication contains 163,469 pages of information and 245,911 images on early companies, their products and the people who designed and built them.

Grace's Guide is the leading source of historical information on industry and manufacturing in Britain. This web publication contains 147,919 pages of information and 233,587 images on early companies, their products and the people who designed and built them.

Dennis Brothers

From Graces Guide
January 1903.
May 1903.
June 1909.
March 1911. An Ambulance for Liverpool Corporation.
March 1912.
November 1912.
September 1925.
August 1928.
August 1928.
January 1948.
1950. Exhibit at Vintage Vehicles Shildon.
Trailer fire pump. Model TP. Exhibit at the Snibston Discovery Museum.

of Onslow Street, Guildford, Surrey

See also -

1885 John Dennis commenced building cycles

1898 Brought his younger brother Raymond in to the business. Produced motorcycles called Speed Kings.

1895 Company founded.

1895 Built their first car.[1]

1901 The company was registered on 1 July, and carries on the business of motor vehicle manufacturers. [2] John Corsey and Raymond Dennis are the founders and now the directors of the company. Planning an 8-hp car.[3]

1904 Dennis Brothers of Guildford produced their first commercial vehicle.

1905 Advertising a worm-driven chassis suitable for a 34-seater bus body.

1905 Advert (and image) of 20 hp Laudaulette for £735. [4]

1906 Produced 14 (Two models), 20 and 24-30 h.p. cars with Aster engines and shaft-drive. [5]

1907 Producing a 40 hp four-cylinder model used for charabancs.

1908 First fire engine produced.

1913 Public company formed as Dennis Brothers (1913) Ltd.

1913-1917 For a list of the models and prices of Marine Motors see the 1917 Red Book

1913-1917 For a list of the models and prices of Petrol Motor Commercial Vehicles see the 1917 Red Book

1913-1917 For a list of the models and prices of Cars see the 1917 Red Book

1913 At the Olympia show the company exhibited the 'subsidy' model based on the 3-ton commercial chassis but for the omnibus market.

1914 Patentees of the overhead worm gear.

1914 Patentees of the overhead worm gear and claim to be first concern successfully to adapt the turbine pump to fire engines.

1914 Motor and fire engine engineers. Specialities: commercial motor vehicles, pumping plants, fire engines, pleasure cars, municipal wagons. Employees 699. [6]

WW1 Around 7,000 of the Model A, a 3.5-ton subsidy lorry were produced in large numbers for the War Department.

1919 On 5th November, Dennis Brothers purchased the Coventry engine manufacturer White and Poppe by exchange of shares to the value of £204,365.

1931 Introduced their first diesel engine for road vehicles.

1936 Introduced a Direct Injection Diesel engine.

1937 Manufacturers of motor mowers. [7]

1938 Name changed.

WW2 Produced a large number of trailer fire pumps and other vehicles, as well as lorries and light armoured vehicles for the War Office.

1946 Production resumed with Max and Pax 3 ton, plus a new 12 ton six-wheeler called the Jubilant.

1954 Produced a new design of 3 ton payload van with an underfloor engine called the Stork.

1957 The Max replaced by the Hefty and the Centaur by the Condor.

1961 Commercial vehicle manufacturers specialising in motor fire engines; motor coaches; omnibuses; municipal vehicles including refuse collectors, gully emptiers, cesspool emptiers, ambulances, tractors and motor lawn mowers. 1,300 employees. [8]

1964 Acquired Mercury Truck and Tractor, Mercury Airfield Equipment and Mercury Snow Control[9]

1964. T. H. Sharman the current MD is appointed chairman after Charles Westlake. [10]

1969 Dennis Brothers (Motors) Ltd was removed from the register of companies[11]

1970 Incorporation of D. B. Executives Ltd which was then renamed Dennis Brothers Ltd

1972 Dennis was purchased by the Hestair Group. The Mercury Truck and Tractor and Mercury Airfield Equipment businesses were then sold to Marshalls (Halifax), also makers of aircraft ground support and airfield tractors[12] Resumed bus production with the rear-engined Dominator chassis. Also supplied the rugged, front-engined Jubilant to Hong Kong before a three-axle version of the Dominator emerged as the Dragon and Condor models, designed to cope with extreme peak loadings of up to 172 passengers

1973 Dennis Brothers Ltd was renamed Dennis Motors Ltd

1977 Dennis Motors Ltd was renamed Hestair Dennis Ltd

1985 Hestair Dennis Ltd was renamed Dennis Specialist Vehicles Ltd

1986 Dennis Specialist Vehicles was renamed Hestair Specialist Vehicles Ltd

1989 Management buy-out of Hestair's engineering businesses including Dennis; the new parent was Trinity Holdings[13].

1989 Hestair Specialist Vehicles Ltd was renamed Specialist Vehicles Ltd

Dennis Vehicles had 3 subsidiary companies[14]:

  • Specialist Vehicles, maker of fire engines
  • Dennis Eagle, maker of refuse carts
  • another company making buses (the maker of the DART bus).

1990 Dennis opened a new factory at Slyfield on the outskirts of Guildford to replace its ageing manufacturing plant.

By 1992 Trinity Holdings had acquired Reliance-Mercury, maker of airport tractors.

1997 Trinity Holdings planned to rename itself Dennis Group[15]

1998 Dennis Group's products included buses, coaches, airport vehicles, dustcarts, fire engines. It withdrew from its loss-making Malaysian joint venture in buses[16]

1998 Acquired by Mayflower Corporation after a battle with Henlys[17]

2007 The last fire engine was built at Slyfield; the site continued to be the centre of bus chassis manufacturing for Alexander Dennis.

See Also


Sources of Information

  1. The Autocar 1910/04/16
  2. The Stock Exchange Year Book 1908
  3. The Autocar 1901/08/03
  4. Autocar 9th September 1905
  5. The Automobile Vol. III. Edited by Paul N. Hasluck and published by Cassell in 1906.
  6. 1914 Whitakers Red Book
  7. 1937 The Aeroplane Directory of the Aviation and Allied Industries
  8. 1961 Dun and Bradstreet KBE
  9. The Times Apr. 8, 1964
  10. The Times, Friday, Oct 16, 1964
  11. The London Gazette 23 September 1969
  12. The Times, Sep 18, 1972
  13. The Times, October 07, 1992
  14. The Times, May 08, 1990
  15. The Times, Oct. 3, 1997
  16. The Times Apr. 24, 1998
  17. The Times, Oct. 21, 1998
  • The British Motorcycle Directory - Over 1,100 Marques from 1888 - by Roy Bacon and Ken Hallworth. Pub: The Crowood Press 2004 ISBN 1 86126 674 X
  • British Lorries 1900-1992 by S. W. Stevens-Stratten. Pub. Ian Allen Publishing
  • Buses and Trolleybuses before 1919 by David Kaye. Published 1972
  • Ian Allan - British Buses Since 1900 - Aldridge and Morris
  • The Modern Diesel edited by Geoffrey Smith. Published by Iliffe & Sons 1944
  • A Brief History of Dennis Bros of Guildford. by the Dennis Society.