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British Industrial History

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William Rushton Black

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William Rushton Black (1893-1985), Chairman of Leyland Motors

1893. 12th January. Born William Rushton Black

After education at Barrow Secondary school and Barrow Technical College he was apprenticed as an engineer to Vickers in 1908.

1917 Married Patricia Dallas who died in 1976. They had a daughter who survived him and a son killed in the RAF in 1944

By 1924 he had risen to become the Works Manager at Vickers Crayford Factory.

In 1928 he was appointed General Manager of Weymann Motor Bodies following their restructuring.

In 1934 he moved to Park Royal Vehicles who offered him a seat on the board as well as the general managership.

He was appointed Managing Director of Park Royal in 1939.

In 1946 he started negotiations with Charles H. Roe which led to PRV taking over the Leeds coachbuilding business, and it was 'Bill' Black who secured the merger of Park Royal-Roe with AEC, giving the ACV group some in-house bodybuilding capacity for the first time. During his Managing Directorship of PRV the Routemaster, Bridgemaster and Monocoach integral designs were produced as well as body-on-chassis models and key members of staff were recruited from Bristol Commercial Vehicles and Eastern Coach Works.

He became a director of Associated Commercial Vehicles in 1949 and Managing Director in 1958, in the 1958 Birthday Honours Black received a knighthood having the honour conferred by HRH The Duke of Edinburgh on 14 July 1958.

After the death of Sir Henry Spurrier he became Chairman of Leyland Motor Corporation in 1963.

He retired from this post in 1966 after which Donald Stokes became Chairman and Chief Executive of LMC.

He was created Baron Black, of Barrow in Furness in the County Palatine of Lancaster on 21 June 1968

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