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The following are descriptions of the main sites used by the Standard Motor Company in the UK.
Factories Abroad are here
Conduit Yard, rear of Smithford St. Coventry
Premises taken by Reginald Maudsley in 1902. £5000 forwarded by Sir John Woolfe Barry allowed Maudseley to purchase and examine several current one and two cylinder cars on this site, before embarking on his own manufacturing ideas. The company had no name at this time.
Much Park St. Coventry
The company was founded here in 1903 with £400 worth of machine tools and was outgrown by 1905. Alex Craig built the first Standard here in the summer of 1903 but it was never offered for sale. The production run of two three and four cylinder cars was carried out here in 1904. No known car from this era survives.The City Law Courts now occupy the site.
Bishopsgate Green Coventry
The company moved to these premises, now a Coventry City Council depot (CCS) in 1905. These buildings were used solely for coachbuilding after the opening of the nearby Cash's Lane site.
Cash's Lane Coventry
These were formerly the premises of Pridmore and Co. an old elastic weaving firm in a road named after a similar weaving firm. J&J Cash, which still survives elsewhere in Coventry. Standard took on the works in 1908 for chassis assembley and later it was used to build BE12 figther aircraft. After transfer of aircraft production to Canley, the works was used as a machine shop for engine parts. It is now occupied by Kwikfit.
Widdrington Rd. Coventry
Strictly speaking this plant was in Aldbourne Rd, just off Widdrington Rd and was where a repair and servicing department was set up in the early twenties. By 1931 the premises were taken over by Riley next door.
The Brewery, Leamington
One of four workshops in Leamington used by the company during the first world war for the filling of ammunition shells. The work was mostly carried out by women, as the majority of able men were using the ammunition in the trenches of Northern France. Does anyone know where the three other sites were?
The first buildings on this huge greenfield site were established in 1915 with "Ivy Cottage" and a small clutch of assembly buildings. First used for wartime fighter production, the site was rapidly expanded during the twenties and thirties, with moving body assembley established in 1922. The bulk of Standards were built here as were most postwar Triumphs until 1981. A further huge assembley area was built for the Herald , known as the "Rocket range" and opened in 1960. It was later used as Unipart's spares warehouse. After the Leyland takeover, this became the headquarters of the BLMC combine. Sadly, the whole site was demolished in 1995. The adjoining Fletchamstead South works, built on the original works golf club as a shadow factory just off Tile Hill Lane, was used initially to construct "Oxford" traning aircraft but used latterly used as drawing offices and the experimental department. The whole area came into the hands of "Arlington Properties". the British Aerospace subsidiary during BA's reign. The objective was to maximise profits by demolishing the factories and converting the land into commercial and retail units. So it all dissappeared to be replaced by Sainsburys and other new retail outlets. Surviving buildings off the A45 were used by Rover until 1997 when they too were demolished. Only the Standard-
The author was saddened to visit the area in the summer of 1996. Ivy Cottage has gone, along with all traces of this huge site. As far as the eye can see, there are desolate piles of building rubble, crossed by a series of new roads going nowhere. A sad end to such a historic part of British motoring history.
When Ivy Cottage was demolished, the mosaic floor in the entrace hall, in the form of the 20's Standard Radiator badge was lifted (It had been covered by fitted carpet for some years). It is now mounted in a frame and is hung in the upstairs bar at the Gaydon Heritage Motoring Centre. The only part of Ivy Cottage to survive
Banner Lane Coventry
Wartime shadow factory built by Standard starting in 1939. Bristol Aero engine manufacture was centered here during the war.and over 20,000 were produced. From 1946, the site was used to produce "Little Grey" Ferguson tractors. Eventually however, Standard sold out their tractor building interests to the Massey Harris company of Canada in 1958. Much expanded subsequently, Tractor Production continues on the site to this day and hopefully long into the future. The money raised enabled Standard to buy Fisher and Ludlow, Beans and to finance the Herald plant at Canley.
Another Standard Shadow works and used for the final assembly of Mosquito aircraft from 1943. The Standard built Mosquito fighter bombers were built at Canley and then transported to Ansty. Over 1000 entered service with the RAF and other airforces. Do any survive?
Additional reporting supplied by Robin Penrice
Fisher and Ludlow, Tile Hill
Purpose built by Fisher and Ludlow in 1938 to build the Flying 8 bodyshells for delivery to Canley. Also used to build Vanguard and 8/10 bodies in the post war period. Standard purchased Fisher and Ludlow in 1958 with the proceeds of the Ferguson sale and the Site was used to build Herald body parts. At one point Standard planned to construct a moving conveyor along the railway that connects the site to Canley two miles away, but planning permission was never achieved. The site is now the spares department for Peugeot.
Beans Industries, Tipton
Was a large foundry which had grown from the original Bean Car company, (far more profitable than Morris) which if memory serves correct, went bust following take over by the Hadfield company who modified an extremely good product out of its existing market during the recession of the twenties and thirties. There is a well established Car Club for Beans, with quite a few left running and I think they were mass produced in some quite remarkable ways. Club is at Wendy Cooksey, Springfield, 14 Albert Road, Wokingham, Berkshire RG40-
I would be pleased to hear from anyone with information about this factory. Please send me an email. Phil Homer
Speke No1 Plant, Liverpool
Built in the sixties to bring additional employment to Merseyside, this was lastly used for TR7 production, until closed by a disastrous strike in the late 70's, causing car building to be abandoned. Now used by a Transport company (must be a pretty big one)I would be pleased to hear from anyone with information about this factory. Please send me an email. Phil Homer
Postscript added June 2005:
This factory is used for several purposes. It is a massive structure and still standing. It is mainly a retail park with different tenants like B&Q. There are some smaller suppliers and retail outlets. You can rent as much or as little space as you wish. Yes even as a trade union supporter myself I feel that the strike was madcap. I was only 15 at the time and i aspired to owning TR7 when I grew up. Of course by the time I could afford to buy a car the model was ancient history.
The strike from Aug 77 to April 78 was about manning levels -
Having said that look at the way the car industry has gone. We are no longer a volume car producer (british owned that is) and maybe Triumph Speke would have closed down sooner rather than later due to globalisation.
I am aware that there are other cars and information that could be added to this site to make it more comprehensive, so if you have material and photographs, please let me know. Please send me, Phil Homer, a message at: Phil Homer