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 163,136 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
June 1909.
January 1920. Vauxhall of Bedford
January 1920.
February 1922.
October 1937.
October 1937.
October 1949.
1951. New Factory.
May 1954.
February 1955.
March 1955.
October 1956.
1964. Studio.
1964. Metal shop, wood shop glass-fibre shop etc.
1964. self-contained manufacturing unit.
Oct 1966.

Vauxhall Motors of Vauxhall Works, Kimpton Road, Luton and at Dunstable is a UK car company. They also produced a motorcycle between 1921 and 1922.

formerly Vauxhall Ironworks Co

See sub-sections;

1907 Vauxhall Motors Limited was formed separate from the Vauxhall and West Hydraulic Engineering Co to develop the motor department. The new company has taken over a large part of the 10 acre premises of the old company at Luton. [1] William Gardner was Chairman with Percy Crosbie Kidner and Leslie Walton as joint-MD's.

1907 The chief engineer, Frederick William Hodges was given an extended winter holiday in 1907-08 and during this time Laurence Henry Pomeroy was asked by the joint managing director Percy Crosbie Kidner to redesign one of the existing engines to give more power to allow it to be used in cars competing in the RAC 2000 mile trial of 1908.

1908 The cars won several classes and Pomeroy was promoted to the post of Works Manager effectively replacing Hodges.

1908 Producing around 100 cars each year with a workforce of 250.

1909 Produced 195 cars with 350 employees of a 2.5 acre site. Revenue was £90k with £13k profit. producing the three models; 12-16hp, A-Type and B-Type.

1910 January. Pomeroy becomes Chief Designer and Hodges takes a three-year consultancy role

1912 Production was 302 cars

1913 Production was 387 cars and profit of £31k (14% return)

1914 A new company Vauxhall Motors (1914) Ltd was set up to acquire Vauxhall Motors Ltd of Luton, Bedford. The directors were: John Andrew Maitland (Chairman), Alfred Walton, Leslie Walton (Joint MD), Percy Crosbie Kidner (Joint MD) and Laurence Henry Pomeroy (Chief Engineer). [2]

1914 Motor car manufacturers. Employees 700. [3]

1915 New manufacturing building competed to produce millions of shell caps and fuses with a female workforce. They continued to produce the D-Type as a staff car for the war office.

1916 AGM. Leslie Walton is Chairman. F. Arnatt re-elected as director. [4]

1918 Producing some 400 D-Types in the year and a total of 2,000 were produced.

1919 Arnatt and Pomeroy resign as directors. [5] Clarence Evelyn King joins as Chief Engineer.

1920 A. F. Petch was re-elected as a director. [6]

1920 Produced 689 cars - a high point as revenue fell drastically in the following years. In 1921 the taxation system favoured smaller cars and Vauxhall had nothing rated under 20hp.

1921 Announced the M-Type 14-40 costing £650. Eventually 1,848 were built.

1922 J. J. Bisgood was re-elected as a director. The company reports losses. [7]

1922 July. Launched the OD model with overhead valves

1922 December. Launched the OE model with overhead valves

1922 Produced 637 cars

1923 Around 1,300 cars produced

1925 Introduced the luxury S-Type (the 25-70) priced at 1,000gns., with sleeve-valve engine but it was not in production until 1927. Advertised as the 'sleeve-valve six' and only forty cars were built. One survives.

1925 November 16th. Vauxhall was bought by GM for US$2.5 million. Walton promoted to Chairman and American Bob Evans became joint-MD with Kidner

1928 Kidner resigns to become a director of Aston-Martin and Ricardo and Co, leaving Bob Evans as sole MD. Alfred James Hancock and Frank Beecher also left and joined George Hartwell to form Hartwell's Garage

1930 Bedford established.

1930 Charles Bartlett appointed MD

1938 Site expanded to cover 53 acres including the V-Block (Engineering building). Production was running around 272 per day on a three-shift system

WWII During World War II, car production was suspended to allow Vauxhall to work on the Churchill tank, which was designed at Luton in less than a year, and assembled there (as well as at other sites). Over 5,600 Churchill tanks were built.

WWII Manufactured parts for the De Havilland Mosquito. [8]

1960 A manufacturing plant at Ellesmere Port was built.

During the late 1970s General Motors decided Vauxhall should assemble Opel-designed cars and not its own models.[9]

1981 September: Production started at Luton of the GM J Car - the new Cavalier - alongside the two litre Carlton model.[10]

1981 November: The first Astra - derived from the Opel Kadett - came off the Ellesmere Port lines.[11]

2015 Plants at Ellesmere Port 1,630 employed) and Luton (1,140 employed). Total of 2,770 employees in UK.[12]

See Also


Sources of Information

  1. The Times Monday, Apr 15, 1907
  2. The Times, Monday, May 18, 1914
  3. 1914 Whitakers Red Book
  4. The Times, Friday, Apr 14, 1916
  5. The Times, Friday, Apr 25, 1919
  6. The Times, Thursday, Apr 29, 1920
  7. The Times, Friday, Apr 28, 1922
  8. Mosquito by C. Martin Sharp and Michael J. F. Bowyer. Published by Crecy Books in 1995. ISBN 0-947554-41-6
  9. The Engineer 1982/03/04
  10. The Engineer 1982/03/04
  11. The Engineer 1982/03/04
  12. Opel Facts and Figures