Grace's Guide

British Industrial History

Grace's Guide is the leading source of historical information on industry and manufacturing in Britain. This web publication contains 142,918 pages of information and 228,821 images on early companies, their products and the people who designed and built them.

Swallow Sidecar Co

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of Blackpool

of Coventry

1922 The Swallow Sidecar Co was founded in Blackpool by two motorcycle enthusiasts, William Lyons and William Walmsley, who built sidecars in Walmsley's parent's garage.

They began to produce sidecars in a 2-storey building in Bloomfield Road, with 8 employees. Space soon became a problem and two other factory buildings were acquired, one in Woodfield Road, and another in John Street.

They decided to extend their product range to include car bodies, which meant that a much larger factory was needed, which need was met by moving to a modern purpose-built coachbuilding factory at 41 Cocker Street.

1926 the company vacated their other premises and moved into the building, which was ideal for their purpose.

1927 the company name was changed to The Swallow Sidecar and Coach Building Company.

One of Swallow's suppliers was AJS of Wolverhampton, who sold sidecars under the C. W. Hayward name, later changed to Graiseley. Swallow was one of that company's best sidecar customers.

Swallow began to produce the Austin Seven Swallow car, built on a standard Austin chassis. After receiving an order for 500, and only being able to produce two a day, the decision was taken to move to a larger factory in order to expand.

1928 The company moved to Coventry to be at the heart of the British motor industry.

1928 The business moved to an old ammunition factory at Foleshill in Coventry, where there was plenty of space, a large skilled workforce and proximity to the suppliers. The move was led by Arthur Whittaker, one of the founder employees. Among the thirty employees that moved were Harry Teather, Cyril Marshall, Cyril Holland, Jack Beardsley, Harry Gill, Richard Binns, Arnold Hollis, Jim Greenwood, Joe Yates, Fred Gibson, Wilfred Webb, Jack Chandler and the Marshall brothers of Wolverhampton.[1]

The move was made late in 1928, and production increased to around 50 cars a week. Although the company still made sidecars, the name was changed yet again, to the Swallow Coachbuilding Co. Several new models followed, and the company began to build complete cars.

See Also


Sources of Information

  1. Coventry’s Motorcar Heritage by Damien Kimberley. 2012. ISBN 978 0 7524 5448 1