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 143,030 pages of information and 229,415 images on early companies, their products and the people who designed and built them.


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August 1923.
May 1925.
December 1929.
January 1930.
June 1930.


October 1933
October 1933
October 1933
November 1935.
November 1935.
April 1936.
July 1936.
October 1936
October 1936
October 1936
April 1952
October 1957.

Cycle sidecars of Birmingham.

1912 Private company.

1913 Name changed.

1931 Name changed.

1956 Acquired the Swallow Coachbuilding Company (1935) Limited.

1961 Motor-cycle sidecar manufacturers. 200 employees. [1]

1966 See Watsonian: 1966 Brochure

Watsonian was a motorcycle produced in 1950.

The prototype had a 996 cc V-twin JAP engine. This had side valves and alloy heads and barrels which made it lighter. The engine was coupled to a Burman gearbox by a chain in an oil-bath case.

Dunlop telescopic forks were used at the front and, at the front and rear, large alloy hubs were used so that the motorcycle could stop quickly. The brakes were massive 9-inch drum.

The large battery was fitted behind the rear cylinder underneath the dualseat. The engine had coil ignition. Further to the rear was the oil tank situated between the right-hand chainstays.

It was an excellent sidecar machine but had limited appeal to the 1950s market and as JAP were not particularly interested in supplying engines to the project for this reason, the idea was not pursued. Only one machine was ever built. The company then returned its attention to the production of sidecars.

Note: The Watsonian Squire group can trace its history back to 1912, when Mr Watson made his first sidecar, making it one of the longest surviving businesses in the British motorcycle industry. In 1984 they merged with the young Squire company to create the UK’s biggest sidecar operation based in Blockley in Gloucestershire.

See Also


Sources of Information

  • British Motorcycles of the 1940s and 1950s by Roy Bacon ISBN 0-85045-856-0
  • 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
  • [1] Ian Chadwick's motorcycle web site
  • [2] Watsonian Squire Sidecars