Grace's Guide To British Industrial History

Registered UK Charity (No. 115342)

Grace's Guide is the leading source of historical information on industry and manufacturing in Britain. This web publication contains 162,508 pages of information and 244,521 images on early companies, their products and the people who designed and built them.

Grace's Guide is the leading source of historical information on industry and manufacturing in Britain. This web publication contains 147,919 pages of information and 233,587 images on early companies, their products and the people who designed and built them.

Belsize Motors

From Graces Guide
1901 Marshall at the Hull Street Life Museum
February 1904. 6 h.p. model.
February 1904. Three-cylinder.
1904. 6 hp car.
1904. 3 cylinder car.
December 1904.
February 1905 18-24 h.p. Three-cylinder.
September 1905.
July 1906.
1906 Q4. Thrupp and Maberly body.


1906. 60hp 6-cylinder chassis.
1906 Q4. 60hp 6-cylinder.
1906 Q4. 60hp 6-cylinder.
November 1907. 28 h.p.
July 1908. Advert for 20-30 h.p.
July 1908. Mrs. A. E. Riley in her 14-16 h.p. Belsize.
November 1908. Oiling system.
November 1908. Oil pump.
November 1908. Detail.
June 1909.
November 1909.
November 1909.
November 1909.
July 1910.
July 1910.
June 1912. Belsize Motors 30-cwt can for John Mark and Co.
May 1913.
February 1914. Belsize Motors delivery van for the Latchford Steam Laundry.
January 1915. 3 ton truck.
March 1916.
January 1920.
January 1920.
January 1920.
January 1920.
May 1921.
November 1922.
October 1923.
October 1923. Models, prices and specifications.

of Belsize Works, Clayton, Manchester

The first cars were made in 1897 but were called Marshalls and were very similar to the French Hurtu, itself a Benz replica. Agencies were established in London and Dublin and the car gained a Gold Medal for efficiency at the 1899 London exhibition. A new more modern four seat model appeared in 1901 with twin cylinder engine made by Buchet and was the first to carry the Belsize name as the "Marshall Belsize".

1901 Belsize Motors formed and was based in Clayton, Manchester. The company was founded in 1896 by Marshall and Co and took its name from the Belsize Works where bicycles had been made by the Manchester Cycle Manufacturing Co until 1898. The Belsize factory was located near the southern end of Clayton Lane, on the west side of the road. [1]

1902 February. Details of the 12-hp Belsize car made by Marshall and Co.[2]

1903 The company name was changed to Belsize Motors and Engineering.

1905 January. Details of their 6 hp, 18-24 hp cars.[3][4]

1905 January. Details of the 18-hp car.[5]

1906 This changed again to Belsize Motors Ltd. The company was registered on 20 April, to acquire the undertaking of the Belsize Motor and Engineering Co. [6] Directors were: George Pilkington Dawson, Chairman; James Barber; Gerald Higginbotham; John Whitehead; Colin Mather; and James Hoyle Smith, Managing Director.[7]

1906 Produced 12, 18-24 (2 models), 24-30 and 30-40 h.p. models with shaft-drive and vertical engines. [8]

1906 Advert says details can be obtained from W. Bath and Son of London and King's Lynn.

1906 March. Details of the six-cylinder car.[9]

1911 September. Details of the 14-16hp (four-cylinder) and 18-22hp (six-cylinder) cars and the new 10-12hp car for 1912.[10]

1912 January. Details of the 10-12hp four-cylinder car.[11]

1912 November. Details of the new 15.9hp car.[12]

1913 November. Details of the 10-12hp 15.9hp and 18-22hp cars.[13]

1913-1917 For a list of the models and prices of Cars see the 1917 Red Book

1913-1917 For a list of the models and prices of Petrol Motor Commercial Vehicles see the 1917 Red Book

1914 Motor car manufacturers. Specialities: motor cars and motor taxi cabs, commercial vehicles. Employees 1,500. [14]

1914 Directors: Jas. Hoyle Smith (Managing Director), G. P. Dawson (Chairman), John Whitehead, Colin Mather, Gerald Higginbotham. Staff: 1500.

1914 October. Details of the three models; new 10hp, the 12hp and 15.9hp.[15]

Before World War I they were a major player in the UK motor industry employing 1,200 people and making up to fifty vehicles a week. A bewildering range of models were made including taxis, commercial vehicles and fire engines with engines of up to 14.5 litre capacity.

After the First World War they followed a single model policy at first with the 15 hp of 2,798 cc but this was joined in 1921 by the Belsize-Bradshaw with a 9 hp 1,294 cc V-twin engine made by Dorman and designed by Granville Bradshaw that was partly air and partly oil cooled. This gained a reputation for being unreliable and was dropped in 1924. It was replaced by a 1,250 cc conventional 4 cylinder model, the 10/20 or RM, and a 1,696 cc six the 14/30. The latter was at last an up to date car with overhead valves, four wheel brakes and a four speed gearbox but at £415 to £650 it was expensive when compared with the opposition. It was, however, too late and the company which had been in the hands of the receiver since 1923 ceased trading in late 1925.

1920 November. Belsize Motors of Manchester exhibited at the Motor Car Show at Olympia and the White City with cars having a 20.1 hp rating. [16]

The company also tried to build a 2,496 cc, straight eight engine but this probably never got past the prototype stage although it was advertised at £1,050.

1923 Petition to wind up the company by S. Wolf and Co and Gordon Richards, of S. R. O. Ball Bearing Co, both of 115 Southwark Street, London[17]

Commercial Vehicles

1911 Commenced building lorries with a 3-ton model

1914 Produced a 1.5-ton model

Factory Location

The 1905 O.S. map[18] shows the factory on Clayton Lane, mostly housed in a single building measuring approx 290 ft by 150 ft., with an attached narrow building abour 20 ft wide and 180 ft long fronting onto Clayton Lane.

By 1911 the factory was over 7 acres in extent and employed over 1200 people in busy times. Part of the new extension consisted of 'that huge building formerly known as the Old Trafford Ice Skating Rink', re-erected at Clayton for building car and taxi bodies.[19]

1929 Aerial photo here shows part of Belsize Works.[20]

Note: The business evidently took over the Belsize Works formally occupied by the Manchester Cycle Manufacturing Co, but this could not have happened before July 1898, when the factory was advertised for sale.

See Also


Sources of Information

  1. The Godfrey Edition map: Lancashire Sheet 104.12: Openshaw 1905 [1]
  2. The Autocar 1902/02/08
  3. Automotor Journal 1905/01/28
  4. Automotor Journal 1905/02/04
  5. The Autocar 1905/01/28
  6. The Stock Exchange Year Book 1908
  7. Manchester Courier and Lancashire General Advertiser - Saturday 28 April 1906
  8. The Automobile Vol. III. Edited by Paul N. Hasluck and published by Cassell in 1906.
  9. The Autocar 1906/03/17
  10. The Autocar 1911/09/30
  11. The Autocar 1912/01/13
  12. The Autocar 1912/11/09
  13. The Autocar 1913/11/01
  14. 1914 Whitakers Red Book
  15. The Autocar 1914/10/17
  16. The Engineer of 19th November 1920 p498
  17. London Gazette 13 April 1923
  18. Alan Godfrey Maps Lancashire Sheet 104.12 Openshaw 1905
  19. Manchester Courier and Lancashire General Advertiser - Wednesday 25 October 1911
  20. [2] 1929 aerial photo dominated by the steelworks of Armstrong Whitworth, with part of the Belsize Works visible at the extreme top of the photo, to left of centre. Manchester City Council local images collection
  • British Lorries 1900-1992 by S. W. Stevens-Stratten. Pub. Ian Allen Publishing
  • [3] Wikipedia