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Down memory lane - Lower Ford Street

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Re: Down memory lane - Lower Ford Street

Post  emlyn evans on Sun Feb 19, 2012 10:17 am

Thanks Steve. Thanks to these aerial photographs I now have a much better idea of the location of the various FB and Clarendon buildings.

There were not many motorcycle manufacturers in the UK that produced so much of the original equipment themselves.

Em

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Lower Ford Street and Clarendon Works

Post  FB vincent on Wed Mar 07, 2012 9:26 am

I recently heard from Arthur Gent on this subject. He understands that the Clarendon Street site is now a furniture store - is any local member able to confirm this? Sandy Ross

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Clarendon Works

Post  fulmar88 on Wed Mar 07, 2012 10:01 am

Sandy, If you look on google maps, search Clarendon Street, then drag the yellow man from the zoom button area onto the street (the street goes blue). This action launches google streetview and you can then see it is indeed a furniture store. You can spin around, look up and down the street etc. It's a fantastic tool for having a nose around.

Steve.
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Clarendon Works

Post  FB vincent on Wed Mar 07, 2012 10:22 am

This photo shows what I presume was the works, Sandy Ross


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Clarendon Works

Post  MoscowFlyer on Wed Mar 07, 2012 11:23 am

Here is some history on the Clarendon Works. Mike
http://earlsdon.org.uk/history/bell.html
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Clarendon Pressings

Post  FB vincent on Wed Mar 07, 2012 12:01 pm

RussianFlyer wrote:Here is some history on the Clarendon Works. Mike
http://earlsdon.org.uk/history/bell.html

Yes, some fascinating and additional information in this link, although I think that the last line of the penultimate paragraph may be incorrect; it should read something like this: Clarendon Pressings were a subsidiary of Francis Barnett Ltd, Old Ford Street, Coventry, who (like James Motorcycles of Greet, Birmingham) were owned by Associated Motorcycles Ltd. The activities of Francis Barnett Ltd were transferred to the James factory in Greet in 1962, and at this time the Clarendon Pressings works would have been disposed of. Both Francis Barnett and James were closed in 1966 when AMC went into receivership.

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Clarendon Works

Post  MoscowFlyer on Wed Mar 07, 2012 3:18 pm

Some info on Caesar Cycle Co and W Jones. Mike
http://www.gracesguide.co.uk/Caesar_Cycle_Co
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Clarendon Works

Post  MoscowFlyer on Sat Mar 10, 2012 9:37 am

Further information on the Earlsdon online website, is that the Clarendon Works site on Clarendon Street Coventry, is to be (or already has been) redeveloped for residential use. Mike


Last edited by RussianFlyer on Sun Mar 11, 2012 1:27 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : I hit the wrong keys. I'm now in receipt of my new spectacles, long overdue!!!)
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Clarendon Works

Post  MoscowFlyer on Mon Apr 02, 2012 12:00 pm

As I was in the Coventry area yesterday, I thought I would visit Clarendon St to see what was happening there. As you can see from the photo I took, the old factory buildings have long gone and the foundations for new dwellings are being dug. Mike

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FB history

Post  FB vincent on Thu Apr 05, 2012 9:31 am

RussianFlyer wrote:As I was in the Coventry area yesterday, I thought I would visit Clarendon St to see what was happening there. As you can see from the photo I took, the old factory buildings have long gone and the foundations for new dwellings are being dug. Mike


Thanks for this update. So sadly none of the many buildings that Francis Barnett used in Coventry still survive. As discussed earlier, it would be appropriate for some sort of reminder or plaque to be located in Lower Ford Street - perhaps the FBOC can take this proposal on board???? Sandy Ross

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Lower Ford Street

Post  MoscowFlyer on Fri Nov 23, 2012 9:10 am

Here is a picture of an old bike shop, this was in Lower Ford St, but I don't know whereabouts. Mike



Last edited by MoscowFlyer on Fri Nov 23, 2012 11:14 am; edited 1 time in total
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T.L. Prentice Lower Ford Street

Post  FB vincent on Fri Nov 23, 2012 9:30 am

According to Spennell's Annual Directory of Coventry and District, 1912-13, T. L. Prentice were located at 145 Lower Ford Street. Hopefully FBOC members with local knowledge can add to this. Sandy Ross

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Lower Ford Street

Post  MoscowFlyer on Mon Nov 26, 2012 10:13 am

Yet another map of Coventry, it shows Lea Francis Works as being in Much Park Street. Mike

http://www.british-history.ac.uk/image.aspx?compid=16005&filename=fig03.gif&pubid=49

This website explains all.

http://www.lfoc.org/history/

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ztF6I3SFrRw
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Lower Ford Street

Post  MoscowFlyer on Wed Dec 12, 2012 4:11 pm

I believe what you see to the right of this picture, is the Francis Barnett works Lower Ford Street, not a very good result. Mike

http://www.picturesofcoventry.co.uk/cgi-bin/coventry.pl?_cgifunction=form&_layout=coventry&keyval=coventry.image_no=c04832
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Lower Ford Street

Post  MoscowFlyer on Sat Dec 15, 2012 3:19 pm

Here is the stone to show where the Triumph factory once stood, wouldn't it be nice to have the same for Francis Barnett? The Sculptress who did this work is Frances Firth, who lives just north of Coventry at Arley. Mike

http://www.fedrotriple.it/agg_mag2007/pietra_ricordo_meriden.jpg
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Lower Ford Street - the FB heritage

Post  FB vincent on Sun Dec 14, 2014 10:16 am

Some time ago in this thread I suggested that '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'.

I understand that the FBOC has recently been the recipient of a bequest from a late member. Perhaps this is the opportunity to provide some permanent identification of the site of the FB factory (and also perhaps the name of the late contributor).

What do you think? - the FBOC seeks to keep alive the Francis Barnett memory and this project would fall within it's constitution.

Sandy Ross

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Re: Lower Ford Street-FB heritage

Post  MoscowFlyer on Sun Dec 14, 2014 1:00 pm

I think this is an excellent idea Sandy, it's the one I would go along with out of all the ideas put forward so far. The old Triumph factory site at Meriden has one, and what is good enough for Triumph should be good enough for Francis Barnett too. See below. Mike

http://www.triumphmeriden.org.uk/triumphplaq.html
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RE: LOWER FORD STREET-FB HERITAGE

Post  myquest on Sun Dec 14, 2014 1:57 pm

I understand that the FBOC has recently been the recipient of a bequest from a late member. Perhaps this is the opportunity to provide some permanent identification of the site of the FB factory (and also perhaps the name of the late contributor).

Yes - me too! A very good idea. I'd vote that in.
Mike West
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Clarendon Works

Post  MoscowFlyer on Sat Mar 21, 2015 9:32 am

Sorry for duplicating this, I put it in the wrong place.

Here is some more history of the Clarendon Pressing and Welding Co by Mary Montes, and some photos of the old works building. Now a new housing development, they have called the road into the site Bell Walk, so no reference to Francis Barnett or Clarendon Pressing ever being there. Mike.

Earlsdon Heritage Trail by Mary Montes

'Can you tell me the present address of the Harrington Tubular Bell Foundry?' Such is a query that has been made even in recent years about a product made in Earlsdon some 90 years ago. That the bells, after many years of constant use are now only in need of some repair or attention, is proof indeed of the quality of their manufacture.

The Harringtons started making bells in the Butts in the 1890s, moving to new, more spacious premises on Clarendon Street, Earlsdon, in 1900. They made bells suitable for all purposes, varying in size from large ones suitable for churches, to small ones for use as door bells or dinner gongs. According to their advertisements the bells consisted of a series of metal tubes suspended from a wooden frame. 'They are harmoniously tuned, and, when struck, give forth notes of marvellous purity and sweetness of tone, the larger ones comparable with church bells of very high quality.' The most important factor, of course, was that they cost a fraction of the price of conventional bells.

They had to be thoroughly tested and of course meticulously tuned to give an harmonious carillon, probably only enjoyed by a few of their Clarendon Street neighbours. Harry Weston, some time Mayor of the city, machine tool manufacturer, philanthropist and outstanding personality, remembered hearing them with pleasure to the end of his life. He had been born on the opposite side of Clarendon Street and spent his early childhood there.

The first world war had its effect on Harringtons as it did on so many businesses, and by 1920 the firm had moved to smaller premises on Hearsall Common corner and we hear no more of their tubular bells. Their Clarendon Street premises were soon taken over by manufacturers of a then more popular commodity - bicycles, and the Trade Directory of 1920 tells us that the site is now shared by the Caesar Cycle Co Ltd, W. Jones, Cycle and Motor Exporter and the Stelfen Belt Co Ltd.

As the cycle boom was by now well and truly over, however, they were not there for long and soon moved on, either to other premises or possibly to the wall. Their place was soon taken by the Clarendon Pressing and Welding Company Ltd.

The Clarendon had among its directors A. Barnett as chairman with G.I. Francis as Joint Managing Director, both better known as makers of the more famous Francis Barnett motor cycles. Naturally therefore, the Clarendon made parts for motor cycles, sheet metal for mud guards and petrol tanks and tubular parts for luggage racks and so on. Increasingly they also made parts for the now booming motor car industry and for the textile company, Courtaulds.

Their advertising leaflet of the early 1930s states: ' We shall be glad to submit a quotation on receipt of blue-prints or samples, or we would call and discuss any sheet metal problem you may have for solution'. Their trucks turning in and out of their premises became a common sight on Clarendon Street, not always welcome by the neighbours, although the fact that they employed a small army of men and women slightly mitigated their dislike.

By 1962 after 31 years, it was time for the Clarendon Press to move on. They joined the Associated Group of James Motor Cycles of Pershore and the premises were vacant once again. The new occupants were to bring a very different line of business to Earlsdon.

The D.B.S. Furniture Company had been founded some years previously by two men, Alfred Holtom and Tom Calland as the Direct Bedding Supply Stores. Starting the business in Kenilworth, they moved first to Broad Street, Coventry before settling in Clarendon Street in 1962. Once there they expanded the business to include furniture for every room in the house, including the nursery. Since the death of the two founders, the store has been run by Alf Holtom's daughter and son-in-law.

It is difficult when standing in the showroom now, surrounded by lounge and dining room suites, bedroom and nursery furniture to picture it as it was 40 or so years ago, filled with huge, noisy presses and welding equipment, let alone a bell making foundry. In common with all the other local businesses it too has moved with the times, and apart from the drawback of enormous delivery trucks ploughing up the little Earlsdon back streets, at least it is cleaner and much, much quieter.















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Arthur Barnett

Post  MoscowFlyer on Mon Feb 01, 2016 10:32 am

It's good to know the whereabouts of Arthur Barnett's grave, anther piece of the history. Mike



Can be found in London Road Cemetery Coventry.
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Francis Barnett Advert Picture

Post  MoscowFlyer on Mon Feb 01, 2016 10:46 am

Does anyone know who this chap is, he appeared in Francis Barnett advertisements. Mike

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Not a Clue

Post  piston 197 on Mon Feb 01, 2016 1:08 pm

Cannot identify the rider, but can suggest a date of 1949/50 , still got the oil tank on the Left that was discontinued after this date
JH
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Memory Lane

Post  peter@dunfordconstruction on Mon Feb 01, 2016 7:34 pm

Very interesting! I lived not not far down the road near the factory for most of the second WW war years
at my grandfather & grandmother's house who are both now buried along with several aunts & uncles in the London Road Cemetery. I believe someone in the family worked in Francis Barnett but I am not sure which one. Must be where I got my interest in the Bikes from! I would like to add my vote for a form of recognition to the F/B by form of plaque or similar.

Peter-2012/12
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FB Factory Location

Post  Excelsior Man on Sat May 21, 2016 10:44 pm

Hi folks this post is a bit late but hopefully the following will be useful: I understand Excelsior moved to 80 Lower Ford Street Coventry in 1880. That was Excelsiors home for 40 years before they moved to Birmingham. The old factory at Lower Ford street came into the hands of a new motorcycle company trading as Frances Barnett. I will post an image of the old Excelsior factory but it looks like it could have been incorporated into the new FB site.


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agreement

Post  piston 197 on Sun May 22, 2016 10:14 am

I agree with the above post , both Excelsior and Bayliss Thomas ( and possibly Monarch m/cycles ?)were manufactured at Lower Ford St. up until 1919 when FB took over the works premises, the first offerings of the FB Co were badge engineered Bayliss Thomas machines with FB names, so presumably they took over existing stock of Bayliss Thomas machines, as well as the factory premises ?? 1919 was the end of Bayliss Thomas machines, but the Excelsior continued up until c1965 at the new Birmingham premises, ironically a similar demise befell FB around the same time !
JH
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Re: Down memory lane - Lower Ford Street

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