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 163,113 pages of information and 245,598 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.


From Graces Guide
March 1904.
May 1913.
February 1944.

Cycle and motorcycle manufacturers of Coventry, later to become ‎‎Singer Motors of Birmingham, maker of cars and commercial vehicles at Coventry.

See also -

1875 Singer and Co formed by George Singer with his father-in-law James Stringer; and produced 'Challenge' cycles.

1878 October 25th. The 'Xtra Ordinary' cycle was patented. Weight 53 lbs. Made by Singer and Co Ltd., Coventry, at the suggestion of George Dominy, an amateur cyclist of Weymouth[1].

1879 Partnership dissolved. '... the Partnership subsisting between us the undersigned, George Singer and James Stringer, who have hitherto carried on the business of Velocipede Manufacturers, at the Challenge Works, Coventry, at No. 21, Holborn-viaduct, London, and No. 57, Bold-street, Liverpool, under the name of Singer and Co., has been this day dissolved by mutual consent. And in future the business will be carried on by the said George Singer, on his separate account...'[2]

1881 Singer and Co. listed as a Bicycle Manufacturer. Headland Buildings, 15 Park Row, Sheffield. [3]

1881 Employing 300 men and boys.[4]

1882 Listed at 17 Holborn Viaduct, London

1883 Singer and Co exhibited at the 6th Stanley Show - demonstrated a tricycle with all-wheel steering, and a tandem tricycle[5].

1889 Description of their works at Alma Street in the Badminton Library book [6]

1896/7 Directory: Listed under cycles as Singer and Co. Limited of Coventry. [7].

1896 May. Singer Cycle Co registered to take over the company; the promoters were the same as had promoted the Dunlop Pneumatic Tyre Co in the previous month[8]

1896 June. Singer Cycle Co Ltd was formed to acquire the assets of Singer and Co. Directors: Earl of Warwick, Earl of Norbury, J. Savile Lumley, Paget Mosley, Frederick Faber MacCabe and George Singer. Existing contracts disclosed were mostly with or involved E. T. Hooley[9]. The company was one of those promoted by E. T. Hooley[10].

1896 The Pneumatic Tyre Co acquired the works previously occupied by Singer and Co at Alma Street, Coventry[11].

1901 June. Details of their motor wheel.[12]

1903 A new company, Singer and Co, was registered on 25 August, to take over the Singer Cycle Co[13]

1905 First four wheel car produced, with a 3 cylinder 1400 cc engine, made under licence from Lea-Francis.

1906 Singer and Co Ltd own all the shares of the Singer Motor Company. George Singer and J. Stringer are directors. [14]

1909 Became a private company.

1912 Listed in Spennell's directory of Coventry as Cycle Manufacturers. [15]

1912 Spennell's lists them at Canterbury St, Coventry (Wire, Singer; Tel 571) and as manufacturers of motorcycles. [16]

1915 Ceased production of motorcycles.

1916 June. The Sales Manager is E. H. Mansell.[17]

1920 Acquired Coventry Premier. [18]

1920 The work's manager at this time was W. E. Bullock

1922 Acquired the Coventry Repetition Co. [19]

1922 Directors were: Rodolph Fane De Salis (Chairman), A. C. Bourner, W. E. Bullock and George Albert Eastwood. [20]

1925 Acquired Sparkbrook Manufacturing Co. [21]

1925 Acquired Calcott Brothers. [22]

1927 Ceased production of cycles.

1932 Appointed Leo Joseph Shorter as chief engineer.

1936 Became a public company.

WWII Manufactured parts for the De Havilland Mosquito [23]

1956 The company was in financial difficulties and the Rootes Group who had handled Singer sales since before World War I, bought the company, and closed the Coventry works.

See Also


Sources of Information

  1. Bartleet's Bicycle Book
  2. The London Gazette Publication date:12 December 1879 Issue:24791 Page:7333
  3. 1881 Kelly's Directory of West Riding of Yorkshire
  4. 1881 Census
  5. The Times, 30 January 1883
  6. Cycling. The Badminton Library. Viscount Bury and G. Lacy Hillier. 1889.
  7. Peck's Trades Directory of Birmingham, 1896-97: Cycles
  8. The Penny Illustrated Paper and Illustrated Times 30 May 1896
  9. The Times, Monday, Jun 08, 1896
  10. The affairs of Mr E T Hooley - The Times, 25 July 1898
  11. The North-Eastern Daily Gazette, 11 May 1896
  12. The Autocar 1901/06/22
  13. The Stock Exchange Year Book 1908
  14. The Times, Monday, Dec 31, 1906
  15. Spennell's Annual Directory of Coventry and District, 1912-13
  16. Spennell's Annual Directory of Coventry and District, 1912-13
  17. Light Car and Cyclecar 1916/06/05
  18. British Motor Cars 1950/51
  19. British Motor Cars 1950/51
  20. The Times, Friday, Sep 04, 1925
  21. British Motor Cars 1950/51
  22. British Motor Cars 1950/51
  23. Mosquito by C. Martin Sharp and Michael J. F. Bowyer. Published by Crecy Books in 1995. ISBN 0-947554-41-6
  • [1] Wikipedia
  • [2] Singer Owners' Club
  • [3] Brief Introduction to Singer web site
  • Trademarked. A History of Well-Known Brands - from Aertex to Wright's Coal Tar by David Newton. Pub: Sutton Publishing 2008 ISBN 978-0-7509-4590-5
  • Messrs. Singer and Co.'s Cycle works at Coventry. The Graphic, 30 May 1896