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.

Leyland Motors

From Graces Guide
1910. Tramcar with petrol engine supplied to Morecambe.
WWI. 8-cylinder aero-engine designed by Parry Thomas.
January 1920. 36-40 hp.
January 1920.
January 1920.
February 1921.
March 1922.
September 1925.
1930. First of the calendars.
1933. 110 B.H.P. Petrol Engine and Torque Convertor.
1933. 39-60 B.H.P. Light Six Oil Engine.
1936. Railcar built by New Zealand Railways.
1940 Leyland Cub FK6 Fire-engine 4,730cc 6-cylinder. Exhibit at World of Country Life


February 1947.
November 1947.
November 1947.
1951. Diesel Unit.
1952. Chassis Assembly Lines.
September 1954.
February 1959.
Leyland Straight-eight car.
July 1962.
Sept 1962.
Sept 1963.
Sept 1963.
1968 Share Certificate.
1973. Leyland L60 Tank Engine. 856 hp.

Leyland Motors Co of Leyland, Chorley and Farington was a manufacturer of commercial vehicles.

See also -

The company began life as J. Sumner at a smithy in Leyland.

1896 After developing steam-powered vehicles and lawnmowers, the company name was changed to Lancashire Steam Motor Co.

1907 Name changed to Leyland Motors. Three generations of Spurriers controlled Leyland Motors from its foundation until the retirement of Sir Henry Spurrier in the 1960s.

1907 Introduced the X chassis of 35 hp, the U type of 50 hp and the S type of 24 & 30 hp.

1908 Expanded premises at Leyland, opened depot at Liverpool and set up a London office.

1911 Introduced a six-cylinder 150 hp engine

1912 Introduced a six-cylinder 160 hp engine. Only manufacturer to win trials for the war office contract and received orders for 88 vehicles. They later standardised on the 3-ton model and this became the R.A.F. type. This was fitted with a four-cylinder 32 hp (later 36 hp) engine.

1913 25 acres of land purchased at Farington on the north side of Leyland

1913 At the Olympia show they exhibited six vehicles: a 55 hp fire-engine for Shanghai, a 32-seat charabanc for C. B. Armitage of Blackpool, a steam tipping wagon for Bombay Corporation, a furniture van for William Whiteley Ltd, a 40-hp delivery van for E. Lazenby and Sons and a 6-ton steamer with a poppet-valve engine [1] [2]

1913 John Godfrey Parry Thomas appointed Chief Designer

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

1913-1917 For a list of the models and prices of Steam Motor Wagons, Tractors and Ploughs etc. 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

1914 Formed limited company as Leyland Motors (1914) Ltd. Henry Spurrier, Henry Spurrier (1869-1942), Arthur Spurrier, James Sumner and Charles Basil Nixon. Employs 1,500 persons

1914 Manufacturers of commercial motors. Employees 1,000. [3]

1914 August. Up to the outbreak of WWI they had produced 2,092 petrol vehicles in addition to steam ones. Around 1,500 employees.

1914 August onward. Produced 259 vehicles for the War Office

1915 Produced 1,260 vehicles for the War Office

1916 Built an experimental 18-cylinder aero engine with three banks of cylinders but never went in to production

1916 Produced 1,694 vehicles for the War Office

1917 Reid Railton joins the design team working with Parry Thomas

1917 Produced 1,469 vehicles for the War Office

c1917 Employing around 3,000 people

1917 Commissioned Parry-Thomas tp design a luxury car to rival Rolls-Royce

1918 Produced 1,250 vehicles for the War Office

1919 James Sumner retires.

1919 Oct. Became a public company to take over Leyland Motors (1914) Ltd. The directors are listed as Henry Spurrier of Stype Grange, Hungerford (Chairman and MD), Arthur Spurrier of Sussex Grove, Putney Park Avenue, London, Charles Basil Nixon of Westfield, Leyland (General Manager), Gerard Lee Bevan, Peter Haig-Thomas, Clarence C. Hatry and W. T. Thorold. [4]

1919 Open branches in Wellington, New Zealand and Sydney, Australia

1920 June. Have factories at Leyland and Chorley and have recently purchased the Sopwith factory on Ham Common. [5]

1920 Employ 3,600 persons

1920 Launched the luxury Leyland Eight car but it was discontinued in 1923 after just eighteen cars were made

1920-26 The Ham Common (Kingston-upon-Thames) factory bought back ex-WD vehicles and re-conditioned them. Over the six years of this programme some 3,000 vehicles were overhauled.

1921 The Trojan model designed by L. H. Hounsfield was produced at Kingston with a 10-hp 4-cylinder two-stroke engine

1922 John H. Toulmin was appointed to the board.

1924 Toulmin was appointed chairman, a position he held for 18 years.

1925 At the Olympia Commercial Motor Show they introduced the L-type models. These were three passenger vehicles: the forward-control single-deck Lion bus, The bonneted Lioness coach and the Leviathan double-decker.

1926 December: Leyland Motors disposed of the steam wagon portion of its business to the Atkinson Walker Wagons, of Frenchwood Works, Preston, which took over all existing stocks of components and units. [6]

1927 Introduced the Titan double-decker with a sunken gangway on each floor making the vehicle less than 13 feet high and able to pass under low bridges. The Tiger was its single-deck counterpart and there was a six-axle model called the Titanic.

1927 Introduced the 10-ton long-frame SWQ six-wheeler lorry.

1928 9th AGM. John H. Toulmin is Chairman, Henry Spurrier (II) is MD. Mentions 'Lion' and the new 'Tiger' and 'Titan' models. [7]

1928 Introduced the six-wheel Terrier and the War Department passed as eligible for subsidy.

1928 by the end of the year over 2,500 vehicles of the Lion class had been delivered

1929 At the Olympia show they introduced the T-type units with the Bison, Buffalo, Bull and Hippo models

1929 Harold Firth Haworth appointed chief engineer

1930 Bought out the first of the 'Leyland - She's a Lady' calendars and the country-wide roadside clocks. These were the ideas of A. Whalesby Windsor who died the following year.

1931 Introduced their first direct-injection diesel engine at Manchester show.

1931 At Olympia they introduced the Leyland Cub rated at 2-tons and 20-seats. Also showed the six-wheel Rhino with an oil engine

1933 The direct-injection oil engine goes in to production and Scottish Motor Traction Co ordered 250 followed by another 100.

1934 The first steel-framed body shown and composite bodies ceased to be made

1934 The Octopus with a 14.5 ton payload introduced

1935 Introduced 4.7 litre six-cylinder diesel engine for their lighter range known as the Leyland Cub.

1935 Introduced the Cheetah Light-Six capable of carrying 32 passengers

1936 Built a small number of rail-cars in conjunction with New Zealand Government Railways and later with the LMS railway.

1937 The semi-forward control Lynx range introduced weighing less than 50 cwt but able to carry a 6-ton load.

1938 Opened new engine shop covering 3.5 acres at Farington

1939 20th AGM. J. H. Toulmin wss Chairman. 'Lynx' is new model. [8]

WWII Built Matilda, Covenanter and Churchill tanks. Employed 11,000 persons

1942 Henry Spurrier (II) died and was replaced as MD by Aylmer Augustus Liardet. Spurrier's son, Henry III, was promoted to general manager and took personal charge of Leyland's tank production for the war effort.

1943 Commenced the design of the Comet tank and the first were delivered just fourteen months later

1944 Producing 5.7 and 8.6 litre diesel engines.

1945 John Ambler appointed director

1946 18th Feb. Aylmer Augustus Liardet the MD dies

1946. 26th AGM. C. B. Nixon was Chairman; Stanley Markland, the Chief Engineer, and Walter West, the foundries manager, were appointed as Directors [9]

1946 Employ 9,000 persons

1946 AEC and Leyland Motors formed British United Traction

1948 Factory at Kingston-upon-Thames sold and the work transferred to Farington.

1948 Leyland and the MCW sales organisation concluded a twenty-year agreement that they would exclusively collaborate on integral designs and favour one another with body-on-chassis business. Their idea was that an underframe comprising durable Leyland engines and other mechanical units would be permanently attached to a similarly heavy-duty body structure. This idea became the Leyland-MCW Olympic which was built in three series from 1949.

1949. 30th AGM. C. B. Nixon is Chairman. Henry Spurrier (III) appointed director. [10]

1950 31st AGM. C. B. Nixon is Chairman. Henry Spurrier (III) is MD. Office and laboratory block at Farington and the self-contained main service block at Chorley are completed. New under-floor integral vehicles, produced in conjunction with Metro-Cammell Carriage and Wagon Co under the name 'Olympic', had secured substantial orders. A chassis with under-floor engine, the 'Royal Tiger' was introduced. [11]

1951 32nd AGM. [12]

1951 Acquired Albion Motor Co.

1954. 35th AGM. C. B. Nixon is Chairman. Appointed Sydney Baybutt company accountant, Victor W. Pilkington the general manager of engineering and Donald Stokes the general sales and service manager as directors of the company. Walter West is made assistant MD. Introduced the new light-weight 'Tiger Cub'. Also new 'Royal Tiger' introduced. [13]

1955 June. Acquired Scammell.

1956 John Ambler dies

1956 37th AGM. C. B. Nixon is chairman. [14]

1957 38th AGM. Henry Spurrier (III) became Chairman and MD as C. B. Nixon retired on his 80th birthday. Walter West made vice-chairman. W. E. Pearson of Scammell appointed a director. [15]

1958 39th AGM. Henry Spurrier (III) is Chairman and MD. Have purchased the government owned tank factory at Leyland and named it as the Spurrier Works. [16]

1959. 40th AGM. Henry Spurrier (III) is Chairman and MD. Increased investment in Self-Changing Gears [17]

1960 Acquired Standard-Triumph International, cars, vans and some agricultural machinery interests [18]

1961 Jan. Letter from Henry Spurrier to stockholders warning of heavy losses from Standard-Triumph [19]

1961 April. Deny that they are going to buy Foden [20]

1961 Alick Dick and F. B. Dixon become directors.

1961 Employed 19,000 persons. Parent of seven subsidiaries. Manufacturer of heavy commercial and passenger motor vehicles, trolleybuses, fife engines and heavy oil engines. [21]

1961 Manufacturers of heavy commercial and passenger motor vehicles, trolleybuses, fire engines, and heavy oil engines. 19,000 employees. [22]

1961 Acquired a 'large shareholding' in Foden [23]

1962 January. Announce sharp fall in profits caused by Standard-Triumph. [24] [25]

1962. Acquired Associated Commercial Vehicles (ACV). Henry Spurrier (III) and Donald Stokes join the board of ACV. John Moore-Brabazon and William Black of ACV join Leyland. [26] Company re-formed as Leyland Motors (1962) Ltd

1963 Feb. 44th AGM. Henry Spurrier is chairman. Propose that the company is renamed the Leyland Motor Corporation Ltd but to continue the manufacture of commercial vehicles under Leyland Motors Ltd. V. W. Pilkington resigns from the board on his retirement. [27]

1963 June. Henry Spurrier resigns as chairman on reaching 65 and is succeeded by William Black. [28]

1964 Donald Stokes took over as head of the company

1965 Acquired a 25 percent stake in Bristol Commercial Vehicles and Eastern Coach Works from the Transport Holding Co; in exchange received just under 30 percent of Park Royal Vehicles; the agreement allowed Bristol and Eastern to make products for other customers than their holding companies or other transport boards[29]

1967 Acquired Rover and Alvis.

1967 Acquired Aveling-Barford.

1968 Announced the new 500 diesel engine to be made at the Spurrier Works at 600 per week. Also announced the new V8 3.5 litre engine for Rover; the AEC V8 diesel and the Standard Triumph 1.7 litre ohc.

1968 Merged with British Motor Holdings to become the British Leyland Motor Corporation.

Leyland Motors' companies in 1968
These companies were owned by Leyland Motors at the time of the merger with British Motor Holdings

See Also


Sources of Information

  1. The First Fifty Years. Leyland Motors Ltd. Published 1946
  2. The Engineer of 25th July 1913 p96
  3. 1914 Whitakers Red Book
  4. The Times, Monday, Oct 13, 1919
  5. The Times, Tuesday, Jun 29, 1920
  6. The Engineer 1926/12/17
  7. The Times, Thursday, Mar 01, 1928
  8. The Times, Thursday, Jan 26, 1939
  9. The Times, Friday, Jun 07, 1946
  10. The Times, Monday, Apr 04, 1949
  11. The Times, Thursday, Apr 20, 1950
  12. The Times, Tuesday, Mar 27, 1951
  13. The Times Wednesday, Mar 31, 1954
  14. The Times, Thursday, Mar 29, 1956
  15. The Times, Thursday, Mar 28, 1957
  16. The Times, Thursday, Mar 27, 1958
  17. The Times, Thursday, Mar 19, 1959
  18. The Times, Wednesday, Dec 07, 1960
  19. The Times, Tuesday, Jan 31, 1961
  20. The Times, Tuesday, Apr 18, 1961
  21. 1961 Guide to Key British Enterprises: Motor, Motor-Cycle and Commercial Vehicle Manufacturers
  22. 1961 Dun and Bradstreet KBE
  23. The Times, Wednesday, Jul 26, 1961
  24. The Times, Thursday, Jan 11, 1962
  25. The Times, Thursday, Feb 15, 1962
  26. The Times, Friday, Sep 14, 1962
  27. The Times, Thursday, Feb 21, 1963
  28. The Times, Thursday, Jun 20, 1963
  29. The Times July 28, 1965
  • The First Fifty Years. Leyland Motors Ltd. Published 1946
  • 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
  • [1] History World