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British Industrial History

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Charles McRobie Turrell

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Charles McRobie Turrell (1875-1923), pioneer of the light car. Produced the Turrell engine and later teamed up to form Accles-Turrell. [1]

1875 Born the son of William M. Turrell, a Schoolmaster, and his wife Caroline A.

1896 August. 'Wednesday the Margate magistrates were engaged in hearing a summons against Mr. Charles M. Turrell for driving a motor car in dangerous manner. For the defence it was contended that the new Act allowed motor carriages to be driven in the public streets at a reasonable rate, and the summons was dismissed.'[2]

1897 Charles McRobie Turrell, General Manager at the Coventry Motor Co took out a patent for motorcycle starting cranks which allowed the foot pedals to be used for starting and then repositioned to be used as a foot rest.

1899 Married at Coventry to Marian Jones

1899 June. Left the British Motor Co and set up in partnership with J. G. Accles at Holford Works, Perry Barr, Birmingham. [3]

1911 Living at 16 Elgin Court, Elgin Avenue, Maida Vale: Charles McRobie Turrell (age 37 born Wick, Warwickshire), Consulting Engineer. With his wife Marion Turrell (age 32 born Coventry) and their three children; Richard Turrell (age 11 born Erdington, Wark.); Alison McRobie Turrell (age 8 born Ashton-under-Lyne); and Brenda McRobie Turrell (age 5 born Paddington). One servant.[4]


1923/24 Obituary [5]

Charles McRobie Turrell was born in 1875, and served his apprenticeship with the firm of J. K. Starley and Co, and the Coventry Gas and Electrical Engineering Co.

He then entered the employ of the British Motor Syndicate, where he had charge of cars for demonstration purposes, among others for the Brighton run on "Emancipation Day" in 1896.

After acting as works manager to the Coventry Motor Co, he designed and manufactured the Turrell light car first at Accles-Turrell, then as the Autocar Construction Co.

Since 1904 he had been in practice in London as consulting engineer and claims assessor.

He died in October, 1923, at the age of 48.

He was elected a Member of the Institution of Automobile Engineers in 1907.



See Also

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Sources of Information

  1. The Light Car by C. F. Caunter. Published in 1970. ISBN 11 290003 8
  2. Cheltenham Chronicle - Saturday 22 August 1896
  3. The Autocar 1899/06/17
  4. 1911 Census
  5. 1923/24 Institution of Automobile Engineers: Obituaries