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Down memory lane - Lower Ford Street

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Down memory lane - Lower Ford Street

Post  FB vincent on Mon Nov 21, 2011 5:57 pm

Last weekend we visited the excellent Coventry Transport Museum, which has a number of Francis Barnett machines on display.

Since Lower Ford Street is not far from the museum, I decided to look for the spiritual home of my two FB’s. I know that the inner ring road and subsequent development of the area has resulted in the destruction of the works, but can anyone identify the location of the site for me? None of the FB sales material includes the street number.

And while I am on this subject, do any of the other workshops survive? We know from Arthur Gent’s book of Osborne Road (development and testing), Priory Street (service, spares and competition) and Clarendon Pressings at Clarendon Street, Earlsdon.

Any information would be gratefully received, Sandy Ross




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Works

Post  Guest on Mon Nov 21, 2011 7:20 pm

Sandy
At the AGM two years ago there was a model of the works made by one of our members ( can't give you a name ) but I am sure that one of the Commitee perhaps SUE would be able to help.

Regards

Graham (tbird)

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model of the works

Post  piston 197 on Mon Nov 21, 2011 7:52 pm

Model was made by Colin Dean (ex factory tester) and his son,JH
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Model of the works

Post  bessybarnett on Mon Nov 21, 2011 9:04 pm

Model on show at 2010 AGM

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Works

Post  Guest on Tue Nov 22, 2011 8:54 am

Hi All
Looking at the factory site map and the model, I would say the eng works on the corner of Hood street and Lower ford street would have been the F/B factory.
Look at the shape of the buildings and then the map.

Graham (tbird)

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40's Brochure

Post  bessybarnett on Tue Nov 22, 2011 9:46 am

Is this extract from a 40's brochure any help?



Last edited by bessybarnett on Tue Nov 22, 2011 1:16 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : photo resized.)
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Location

Post  fulmar88 on Tue Nov 22, 2011 12:13 pm

Chaps, I'm a Coventry boy and I'm sure I have seen or was told that the factory was actually at the end of Lower Ford Street where the three roads converge, Alma St, Lower Ford St, and Raglan Street. If you look slightly to the right of Cox Street there is a gap between the buildings. This is the entrance I'm pretty sure. The shape of Lower Ford Street at this point fits also, as does the position of the ring road which lies just to the south. Incidentally, the dot where the 3 roads converge is a public toilet (long since removed).

Steve.
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Clarendon Street

Post  fulmar88 on Tue Nov 22, 2011 12:46 pm

Sandy, I'm pretty sure that the Clarendon pressings buildings still survive. I can't remember why or who told me. If you look on google maps there is a very likely candidate still in existence. (Clarendon Street, Earlsdon, Coventry).

Steve.
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Location

Post  mn757 on Thu Nov 24, 2011 6:51 pm

I am also from Coventry and was keen to find the exact location. The map below is from 1948 and shows 'Motor Cycle Works' at the far left of the road




go to old-maps.co.uk and enter the coordinates 434010, 279200 then select the 1948 map to see the above.



Last edited by mn757 on Thu Nov 24, 2011 6:51 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : spelling)

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Works Location

Post  MoscowFlyer on Fri Nov 25, 2011 9:48 am

I've been watching this post with interest, within just a few days, we not only know where the factory was, we know what it looked like. Well done guys, the power of the internet yet again. Having looked on Multimap, it is clear to see the site is now a car park. What a place to have a meeting? right where the bikes were made. Mike

Click on the address below, then click Bird's Eye, then Zoom in. It's the corner of Cox street and Lower Ford Street.

http://www.bing.com/maps/?FORM=MMREDR#JnE9Lkxvd2VyJTJiRm9yZCUyYlN0JTJiJTJiQ294JTJiU3QlMmJDb3ZlbnRyeSU3ZXNzdC4wJTdlcGcuMSZiYj01Mi40MTM5Nzc1MzM1MDI5JTdlLTEuNDg1MDgwOTIwNTMyMjMlN2U1Mi40MDI5ODIxMTk1NDMzJTdlLTEuNTEyMzc1MDc5NDY3Nzg=
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Re: Down memory lane - Lower Ford Street

Post  Malfisher on Fri Nov 25, 2011 10:07 am

yes i agree with Mike, very interesting topic thanks to all! Cool
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Lower Ford Street

Post  FB vincent on Sat Nov 26, 2011 9:55 am

Thank you all for your help in identifying the location of the FB factory. The houses, shops and pubs in Lower Ford Street are basically unchanged from fifty years ago, but the once busy industrial premises are all gone. The occupiers of the houses are now largely students from the nearby college rather than the artisans of days gone by. Last weekend I did I did manage to speak to a local resident who has lived there since 1964, but she could not locate the FB works. Early trade gazettes list FB and their predecessors in the street, but once again ‘Excelsior Works’ does not help with the location.

James (who built our FB’s from 1963 to 1966) did not seem to be so reticent with the identification of their factory at Greet, since there are many surviving interior and exterior photos; the front of the building survives to this day although the brickwork has been covered in a plastic material.

So here are a couple of thoughts:

Should the FBOC, possibly in conjunction with the Coventry Transport Museum, provide some sort of identification on Lower Ford Street of the site of the works? Since there are no surviving buildings this would probably have to be some sort of vandal resistant display board or perhaps a steel silhouette of a FB bike with the Francis Barnett name included.

And why not hold the FBOC AGM at the museum and organise a road run to Lower Ford Street, then on to the James factory at Greet?

Sandy Ross

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The correct location

Post  Matchle55 on Thu Dec 01, 2011 8:02 pm

As a former F/B owner and "Coventry kid" to boot I,ve followed the topics on the forum with interest, however as I was brought up in the shadows of the factory I feel that I should make a few corrections lest what has already been incorrectly said becomes cast in stone.
To correct my good friend the "RUSSIAN FLYER", the factory did not sit on the corner of Cox st and Lower Ford st. Until it,s demolition in1971 there stood on this site a large Victorian pub/ music hall called the "Sydenham Palace". There were at least two more properties between this building and the factory.
This area was littered with motor manufacturers in the early part of the last century.
Opposite the factory on the map there is shown a "glass factory", this site is now occupied by a Vauxhall dealer, one Walter Brandish of TT fame.
Finally, the site put forward as the F/B factory site on the corner of Hood st and Lower ford st was the site of the Magneto manufacturers "British Thompson Houston" "BTH".
If anyone has any more queries I,ll gladly help if I can.
RussianFlyer wrote:I've been watching this post with interest, within just a few days, we not only know where the factory was, we know what it looked like. Well done guys, the power of the internet yet again. Having looked on Multimap, it is clear to see the site is now a car park. What a place to have a meeting? right where the bikes were made. Mike

Click on the address below, then click Bird's Eye, then Zoom in. It's the corner of Cox street and Lower Ford Street.

http://www.bing.com/maps/?FORM=MMREDR#JnE9Lkxvd2VyJTJiRm9yZCUyYlN0JTJiJTJiQ294JTJiU3QlMmJDb3ZlbnRyeSU3ZXNzdC4wJTdlcGcuMSZiYj01Mi40MTM5Nzc1MzM1MDI5JTdlLTEuNDg1MDgwOTIwNTMyMjMlN2U1Mi40MDI5ODIxMTk1NDMzJTdlLTEuNTEyMzc1MDc5NDY3Nzg=

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Works Location

Post  MoscowFlyer on Fri Dec 02, 2011 4:43 pm

I've been looking on this website run by Coventry City Council, there are thousands of old photos of Coventry. I've been looking at streets in and around Lower ford Street, but have had no look finding a photo of the factory. I did find a pub called The Elastic Inn, on the corner of Cox St and Lower Ford St. I think it needs the local lads to have a look. There are some photos of F/B bikes, a nice one of 1920 on a snow covered bridge, riding with no hands. If you put francis and barnett in the bottom search you'll get more. Mike
http://www.picturesofcoventry.co.uk/index.php
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F/B Site

Post  Guest on Fri Dec 02, 2011 8:47 pm

So Matchle55 where exactly is (sorry was) the factory site please.????

Graham (tbird)

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Photo of the Works

Post  MoscowFlyer on Fri Dec 02, 2011 10:25 pm

Hi, I think I've found a photo of the works. It's a rear shot, with the water tower clearly visible, it was taken from the Telephone Works next door.
Find it on the website below under, Telephone-Works. Mike
http://www.picturesofcoventry.co.uk/index.php

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Photo of the Works

Post  bessybarnett on Sat Dec 03, 2011 9:33 am

Interesting photo Mike - could well be the FB Works.

I wish I had kept some old 1:1250 scale Ordnance Survey maps of Birmingham. They were in the loft and I must have dumped them when we had a mass clear out!!. As a Cartographer working for the Department of the Environment years ago I was involved in going out and updating commercial/industrial property street linear maps. They were hand drawn and loosely based on OS base maps. I think they were called 'Goad Maps'. I am sure they kept originals for record purposes. A Mr Goad originally produced them for all the larger cities in England. I will see if I can track some down.
Pete
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Photo of Works

Post  MoscowFlyer on Sat Dec 03, 2011 4:37 pm

Hi Pete, I just happened to find this Ordnance Survey map, BUT, it's next to where we need to be. If you look at the road under the first N, in the word Ordnance, I'm sure that is Lower Ford Street. It would show us so much if we could find the next photo. Mike
http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205022260


Last edited by RussianFlyer on Sun Dec 04, 2011 8:32 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Factory location

Post  Matchle55 on Sun Dec 04, 2011 5:14 pm

[Graham, the factory was as shown in the map posted by mn757.
My post was to correct any ideas that the factory extended to the junction of Cox st and Lower Ford st which it didnt.
If you look at the aerial view on the map page posted by Mick (The Russian Flyer) you will see a row of shops and then there is a chapel, I would say that the factory started opposite this point and moved away from the junction.
Incidentally the Elastic pub is at the other end of the row of shops opposite where the Sydenham palace used to stand.
Just one other point, the model of the factory was built not by Colin Dean but by his son John, Colin has asked me to point out.
quote="tbird"]So Matchle55 where exactly is (sorry was) the factory site please.????

Graham (tbird)[/quote]

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F/B site

Post  Guest on Sun Dec 04, 2011 5:26 pm

Thanks Matchle55 I can now see where the site was.

Graham (tbird)

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Factory Photo

Post  MoscowFlyer on Sun Dec 04, 2011 6:08 pm

Here is another aerial photo, in this one you can see the junction with Lower Ford St and Alma St, Raglan St, Vine St, and Perkins St. The photo is not that clear, but if you paid the £23 for a copy, I'm sure it would be!
The photo was taken some time between 1947-1950. It looks like a large part of the factory roof has been replaced, maybe as a result of the bombing in the war. Mike
http://www.ukaerialphotos.com/viewer.asp?x=433927&y=279269


Last edited by RussianFlyer on Sun Dec 04, 2011 8:40 pm; edited 1 time in total
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factory location

Post  Matchle55 on Sun Dec 04, 2011 6:54 pm

Mick, sorry mate that is the other end of Lower Ford st.
RussianFlyer wrote:Hi Pete, I just happened to find this Ordnance Servey map, BUT, it's next to where we need to be. If you look at the road under the first N, in the word Ordnance Servey, I'm sure that is Lower Ford Street. It would show us so much. Mike
http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205022260

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F/B Site

Post  Guest on Mon Dec 05, 2011 9:32 am

Hi
Russian Flyers map is the one I would go by, you can see the corrugated roof.
I wouldn't say it was war damaged looks like the model. so it is where the car park is now, I think thats the spot. what an interesting topic.

Graham (tbird)

Mind you my three F/B's weren't made there anyway the earliest is 59, I think they were all made elsewhere by then, am I correct.????


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Factory

Post  fulmar88 on Mon Dec 05, 2011 12:11 pm

Chaps, I have a contact with English Heritage and they are looking for me to see what pics they have of the factory from the many aerial survey photos they hold. I have obtained copies from them of other locations in the past. Hopefully I will get something in the next few days. I will scan the images and post them here.

Tbird, I believe the factory closed in '62 or '63.

Steve.
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works location

Post  Matchle55 on Mon Dec 05, 2011 5:44 pm




Mick , sorry to be a wet blanket, the "Peel -Connor " works is the site of the old GEC works about 2 miles east of the F/B works.



RussianFlyer wrote:Hi, I think I've found a photo of the works. It's a rear shot, with the water tower clearly visible, it was taken from the Telephone Works next door.
Find it on the website below under, Telephone-Works. Mike
http://www.picturesofcoventry.co.uk/index.php


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Re: Down memory lane - Lower Ford Street

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