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British Industrial History

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Lea-Francis

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June 1923.
October 1929.
October 1929.
June 1941.
1950.

Lea-Francis was a motor manufacturing company that began life building bicycles.

General

1895 Richard Henry Lea and Graham Inglesby Francis started the business in Day's lane, Coventry as Lea and Francis.

1896 Moved to Lower Ford Street, Coventry. James Stone was appointed Works Manager, John A. Rudd was Secretary and Francis A. Griffin was General manager.

1896/7 Directory: Listed under cycles as Lea and Francis, Lower Ford Street, Coventry. [1]

1903 They branched out into car manufacture. Lea-Francis built cars, under licence, for the Singer company.

1903 Established the Lea and Francis Motor Syndicate with the addition of J. H. Hampson as a director. The first 15-hp model was developed by Alexander Craig.[2]

1906 Lea and Francis capital reduced from £50,000 to £44,000.[3]

1909 Resolution that Lea and Francis Motor Syndicate be wound up and not affect the business of Lea and Francis. Chairman is Jonathan E. Rudd.[4]

1911 Started to produce motorcycles initiated by Richard Henry Lea, his son Norman Lea, Don Francis, Clifford Ingall and Marcus Nash

1912 Listed in Spennell's directory of Coventry as Cycle Manufacturers. [5]

c1913 Arthur Alderson joined the company

1914 Motor cycle and cycle manufacturers. [6]

1917 Lea and Francis Motor Syndicate wound up.[7]

1922 Some business partnership made with the Vulcan Motor and Engineering Co made and Charles Van Eugen joined the company and under him the C-Type and D-Type light cars were produced

1925 Motorcycle production ceased.

1927 Lea and Francis reduce their capital from £100,000 to £50,000.[8]

c1930 Split from the Vulcan Motor and Engineering Co

1931 Receivers appointed

Former Riley employees Hugh Rose and George Leek purchased the assets and the company became Lea-Francis Engineering.

1937 The company had a chequered history with some notable motorcycles and cars, but financial difficulties regularly arose. The Hillfields site was abandoned in 1937 when it was sold by the receiver and a new company, under the name Lea-Francis Engineering (1937) Ltd, moved to Much Park Street in Coventry. It survived there until 1963, when the company was finally wound up.

1943-46 Annual reports in Coventry Archives[9]

1963 The motor manufacturing parts of the company passed into the hands of the Receiver leaving Lea-Francis to continue with their engineering business.

Cars

Motorcycles

Tractors

See Also

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Sources of Information

  1. Peck's Trades Directory of Birmingham, 1896-97: Cycles
  2. * Coventry’s Motorcar Heritage by Damien Kimberley. 2012. ISBN 978 0 7524 5448 1
  3. [1] Gazette Issue 27890 published on the 27 February 1906. Page 18 of 76
  4. [2] Gazette Issue 28269 published on the 9 July 1909. Page 42 of 104
  5. Spennell's Annual Directory of Coventry and District, 1912-13
  6. 1914 Whitakers Red Book
  7. [3] Gazette Issue 30296 published on the 21 September 1917. Page 18 of 52
  8. [4] Gazette Issue 33242 published on the 25 January 1927. Page 26 of 68
  9. National Archives