Grace's Guide

British Industrial History

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Marriott and Cooper

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1886.
February 1888. Shown at the 1888 Stanley Cycle Show.
1890. Edge (back) with J. E. L. Bates and M&C 'Olympia' Tandem Tricycle. From 'Bartleet's Bicycle Book' No. 27.
1891. From The Cyclist’s Road Book.
1895. Olympia Tandem Tricycle.
1895. Olympia Tandem Tricycle.

Marriott and Cooper of Coventry and 1 Holborn Viaduct, London EC

1885 June. Formed by Thomas Rushforth Marriott and Fred Cooper when they left Humber, Marriott and Cooper.

Cooper and Marriott set up as wholesalers of cycles. Their cycles were of similar design to Humbers, made for them by Rudge. By arrangement Marriott and Cooper retained an equal right with the Humber Company to use the name Humber, and to use any of the old company's patents in their products. Shortly after the dissolution, the Humber company began advertising their cycle as the genuine Humber and sought to register the phrase as their trade mark. Cooper and Marriott resisted this, and succeeded in an action at law in upholding their right to use the name; they also prevented the registration of the genuine Humber name.

1885 August. Prize winner for their cycles at the 1885 International Inventions Exhibition.[1]

1888 February. Stanley Exhibition of Cycles in Westminster. Bicycle with interchangeable gears and tricycle with two front wheels and one rear

1891 Advert for the Olympia tandem and the M&C Safety bicycle

1893 For many years Marriott and Cooper had no factory of their own, all their machines being made for them by Rudge Cycle Co, of which Walter Phillips, an old professional racing colleague of Fred Cooper, was manager [2]. In April, Phillips left the Rudge Co. and joined Humber’s; after that time, Marriott and Cooper machines were built in the Humber factory.

1894 Exhibited cycles at the Antwerp Exhibition

1895 Marriott and Cooper equipped a small but complete factory of their own in Coventry: this stood on the left at the junction of Lockhurst Lane with Foleshill Road. Specially light bicycles were built here, being manufactured throughout except such items as hubs, chain-wheels, chains, and the usual parts which makers were in the habit of purchasing from specialists.

1896/7 Directory: Listed under cycles. More details

1899 Marriott and Cooper was purchased by financial interests who combined it with the Humber Company and the Humber Extension Co and floated the combination as Humber Ltd.


No. 27. 'Olympia' tandem tricycle, sold by Messrs. Marriott and Cooper, 65a Holborn Viaduct, London, E.C., and manufactured for them by the Rudge Cycle Co, of Coventry. Date about 1888.

Originally constructed with solid rubber tyres; wheels rebuilt to take pneumatics about 1894. Weight 58.5 lbs. Purchased in Chiswick, London.

This model, designed by R. W. Smith, then assistant works manager of the Rudge Company, was first exhibited at the Stanley Show at the Royal Aquarium, Westminster, London, in January, 1888. On the first specimen to leave the works, Selwyn Edge and G. L. Morris (the latter died 30th January, 1930, aged 65) beat the 100 miles road record, their time being 6 hrs. 57 mins. 32 secs.

In 1890, Edge, with J. E. L. Bates (died 1st January, 1930, aged 62) as partner, again beat this record, time 5 hrs. 30 mins. 31 secs.: this remained unbeaten till 1924. It is a coincidence that S. F. Edge's two tandem companions should have died within a month of each other. The steers-man is, fortunately, still with us, and still a cyclist.

Note metal brake on tyre of rear wheel, and driven sprocket outside fork. Accompanying the exhibit are letters from S. F. Edge and R. W. Smith, together with one of the original transfers as affixed to "M. and C." cycles.

I have already referred to the period when Thomas Rushforth Marriott and Fred Cooper were associated with Thomas Humber at Nottingham. By an arrangement which seems strange to modern business men, they retained an equal right with the Humber Company to use the name 'Humber,' and to incorporate in their products any of the old company's patents.

Shortly after the dissolution, the Humber Co. began advertising their cycle as the "genuine Humber” and sought to register the phrase as their trade mark: M. and C. resisted this, and succeeded in an action at law in upholding their right to use the name: they also prevented the registration going through.

After a brief period at 65a Holborn Viaduct (first on the ground floor and then in the basement), M. and C. moved to No. 9 Holborn Viaduct, and two years later to No. 1, where they remained till about 1899, when their business was bought by the financial interests who combined it with the Humber Company and the Humber Extension Co. and floated the combination which is now the very successful Humber concern.

For many years Marriott and Cooper had no factory of their own, all 'M. and C. Humber' machines being made for them by Rudge and Co, of which Walter Phillips, an old professional racing colleague of Fred. Cooper, was manager.

In April, 1893, Phillips left the Rudge Co. and joined Humber’s, taking with him the M. and C. connection: after that time, M. and C. machines were built in the Humber factory.

In the year 1895, Messrs. Marriott and Cooper equipped a small but complete factory of their own in Coventry: this stood on the left at the junction of Lockhurst Lane with Foleshill Road. Specially light bicycles were built here, being manufactured throughout except such items as hubs, chain-wheels, chains, and the usual parts which makers were in the habit of purchasing from specialists.

Modern motorists and aviation enthusiasts will be surprised to learn that the late Montague Napier, the eminent engineer, was manager of these works for a short period.

The M. and C. factory was particularly useful at the time of the great fire of July, 1896, when the Humber works in Coventry were burnt out.

R. W. Smith, an extremely clever designer, was responsible for some of the most successful machines of his time: while with the Rudge Co, he was responsible for the parts and fittings which Perry and Co sold to the trade, and which were made for them in the Rudge factory. Thus Mr. Smith came into contact with that great trade personality Albert Eadie, then manager of Perry's cycle department, and later known as "The Emperor of Redditch." They formed a partnership and founded the Eadie Manufacturing Co and the Enfield Cycle Co, in which Mr. Smith is still interested. Albert Eadie died 17th April, 1931. [3]

See Also

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Sources of Information

  1. [1] Gazette Issue 25500 published on the 12 August 1885. Page 15 of 26
  2. Bartleet's Bicycle Book
  3. Bartleet's Bicycle Book