Grace's Guide

British Industrial History

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George William Hands

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George William Hands (1871-1938) of the Calthorpe Motor Co and G. W. Hands Motor Co

1871 10th April. Born in Bridgeport, USA[1]

1881 Living at 85 Wattville Street, Handsworth, Birmingham: John Hands (age 43 born Birmingham), Engine Fitter. With his wife Sarah Hands (age 35 born Birmingham), Dressmaker, and their seven children; Ada Florence Hands (age 15 born Birkenhead), Dressmaker; Sarah Ann Hands (age 13 born Birmingham), Dressmaker; Henry Arthur Hands (age 12 born Birmingham); George Wm. Hands (age 9 born USA); Eleanor Hands (age 7 born Birmingham); John Alfred Hands (age 5 born Birmingham); and Alice Mary Hands (age 3 born Kings Norton). Also his Mother-in-law Eliza Hands (age 72 born Ashted, Birmingham).[2]

1891 Boarder at 7 Claremont Road, Handsworth: George W. Hands (age 20 born Bridgport, USA), a Tool Turner. Also boarding at this address is his brother Harry A. Hands (age 23 born Birmingham) a Professor of Music. Harry is shown in the 1911 census as a Traveller in the Cycle Business. [3]

1891 Hands entered the bicycle business

1894 Went into partnership with Arthur Cake as Hands and Cake.

1895-8 A cycle maker, of Hands and Cake[4]

1901 Living at 66 Stratford Road, Yardley: George William Hands (age 29 born USA), Owner of Cycle Works. With his wife Fanny Ada (age 30 born Birmingham) and their daughters Winifred May (age 8 born Birmingham) and Dorothy Maud (age 6 born Birmingham) [5]

1902 Established Minstrel Cycle Co

1904 Made his first motor car

By 1909 had established the Calthorpe Motor Co to make cars.

1911 Living at 51 Trafalgar Road, Moseley, Balsall Heath: George William Hands (age 40 born Bridgeport, USA), Manufacturer and Employer. With his wife (married 19 years) Fanny Ada Hands (age 41 born Birmingham) and their daughter Winifred May Hands (age 18 born Birmingham). One servant. [6]

1911 Charged with drunk driving. 'George William Hands, motor manufacturer, of Trafalgar Road, Birmingham, was fined 40s. and cost, with the alternative of one month's imprisonment, at Birmingham Police Court, this morning for being drunk in charge motor-car. Police Constable Toogood found the defendant in a drunken condition in charge motor-car outside the Central Restaurant last night. Hands was so drunk that witness had to hold him to prevent him from falling. A long list of convictions for motor offences was proved against the defendant, and the Chairman, in passing sentence, said the defendant deserved imprisonment. He was obviously unfit drive a car if could not keep sober.'[7]

1916 Hands was recorded as a manufacturer when he rejoined the St. Alphege Lodge, Birmingham[8]

1922 Hands briefly left the Calthorpe company to set up his own Hands make of cars in the Calthorpe motorcycle factory in Barn Street, Birmingham

Whilst away he developed a six cylinder overhead camshaft engine.

1923 George William Hands and his daughter Dorothy Mary Hands carrying on business as the Carlton Motor Co in Torquay taken to court by Arthur Edward Roberts, a motor engineer of London for wrongful dismissal and commission [9]

1924 Hands returned to the Calthorpe Motor Company.

1925 George William Hands of the Palace Hotel, Torquay sued by the previous manager for wrongful dismissal from the position of manager. Defendant was the manufacture of Calthorpe cars. [10]

1938 Death of George W. Hands 'the well-known race horse owner and hotel proprietor' of Ascot [11] Managing director of Palace Hotel Co. Age 64. In 1891 he set up a company in the cycle business. Founded Calthorpe and at one time produced the 'Hand' car. Leaves a widow and two daughters.[12]


See Also

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  • For an interesting range of photographs and more details on the cars see [1]

Sources of Information

  1. New York, Passenger Lists, 1925
  2. 1871 Census
  3. 1891 Census
  4. Commercial Directory of Birmingham
  5. 1901 Census
  6. 1911 Census
  7. Birmingham Mail - Wednesday 20 September 1911
  8. Freemasons register
  9. Exeter and Plymouth Gazette - Friday 09 February 1923
  10. Exeter and Plymouth Gazette - Saturday 07 November 1925
  11. Hull Daily Mail - Saturday 26 February 1938
  12. Exeter and Plymouth Gazette - Friday 04 March 1938