Grace's Guide

British Industrial History

Grace's Guide is the leading source of historical information on industry and manufacturing in Britain. This web publication contains 126,749 pages of information and 199,760 images on early companies, their products and the people who designed and built them.


From Graces Guide

Jump to: navigation, search
1900. The new 'Wolseley' voiturette.
November 3rd 1900.
November 17th 1900.
1912. chassis of the 16-20 model.
1913. 3-ton chassis.
January 1920.
February 1921.
February 1921.
September 1932.
November 1933.
September 1936.
February 1937.
October 1937.
December 1937.
March 1939.
April 1940.
April 1940.
January 1944.
April 1961.
Wolseley Merry Lawn Mower.
Wolseley Merry Tiller.

The Wolseley Motor Company, car manufacturer, of Ward End Birmingham

See Wolseley Tool and Motor Car Co

See also -

1895 The origins of the company as an automobile brand was in about 1895-96 when 30 year old Herbert Austin, then employed as a works manager at the Wolseley Sheep Shearing Machine Co, became interested in engines and automobiles. During the winter of 1895-96 he made his own version of a design by Leon Bollee that he had seen in Paris. Later he found that another British group had bought the rights so Austin had to come up with a design of his own.

1895 The first Wolseley experimental car was designed and built by Herbert Austin and went on to become one of the largest manufactures of Birmingham. His first car was a 3-wheeled 'miniature dog-cart' where two passengers sat back-to-back. It was driven by a two-cylinder motor. [1]

1901 Vickers, Sons and Maxim took over the machine tool and motor car side of the Wolseley works, trading as the Wolseley Tool and Motor Car Co. Austin was general manager.

1901 Company registered.

1905 Herbert Austin left and started the Austin Motor Co

1905 Wolseley Tool and Motor Car Co purchased the Siddeley Autocar Co, with founder John Davenport Siddeley in charge. Siddeley (later Baron Kenilworth) took control of the merged concern, renaming the marque Wolseley-Siddeley.

1907 Wolseley Tool and Motor Car Co started a joint venture with BTH to make petrol-electric buses.

Wolseley also made chassis for the electrobuses produced by the Electric Vehicle Co of West Norwood.[2]

1908 Advertisement for the Siddeley Autocar produced by Wolseley Tool and Motor Car Co, referred to the engineering strengths of its parent Vickers, Sons and Maxim[3].

1909 John Davenport Siddeley resigned.

c.1912 Motor sledges, designed and patented by Major B. T. Hamilton, were constructed for Scott's expedition to the South Pole; they were field tested in Norway with the help of Engineer Commander R. Skelton[4]

1913-1917 For a list of the models and prices of Marine Motors see the 1917 Red Book

1913-1917 For a list of the models and prices of Petrol Motors see the 1917 Red Book

1914 The company officially became the Wolseley Motor Co. It also began operations in Montreal and Toronto, Canada as Wolseley Motors Limited. This became British and American Motors after World War I.

1919 Vickers, the owners of Electric and Ordnance Accessories Co, put that factory under the ownership of Wolseley Motors on September 30, 1919.

1920 February. Motor Boat and Marine and Stationary Engine Exhibition. Showed engine on Vickers stand. [5]

1926 Finances were strained and the company faced receivership in October.

1927 February. Wolseley was purchased by William Morris for £730,000. Other bidders included General Motors and the Austin Motor Company. Morris renamed the company Wolseley Motors (1927) Ltd and consolidated its production at the sprawling Ward End Works in Birmingham.

1935, Wolseley became a subsidiary of Morris' own Morris Motor Company and the Wolseley models soon became based on Morris designs.

1938 It became part of the Nuffield Organisation along with Morris and Riley/Autovia.

1951 Exhibitor at the 1951 Motor Show in the Car Section.

1968 After the merger of BMC and Leyland to form British Leyland Motor Corporation, the Riley marque, long overlapping with Wolseley, was retired. Wolseley continued in diminished form with the Wolseley Six of 1972, a variant of the six-cylinder Austin 1800, the Austin 2200.

1975 Wolseley was finally killed off just three years later in favour of the short-lived Wolseley 18-22 series saloon, which was based on the Leyland Princess (also known as the 18-22 series) and never even given a clear name, being badged just "Wolseley", and sold only for seven months until that range was renamed as the Princess.

Today, the Wolseley marque is owned by Nanjing Automobile Group, bought as part of the assets of the MG Rover Group.

The Wolseley Sheep Shearing Machine Co continued trading, and today is part of Wolseley Group plc.

See Also


Sources of Information

  1. Vital to the Life of the Nation. Published 1946.
  2. William Worby Beaumont, The Industrial Electric Vehicle, Griffin, 1920, p4
  3. The Times, 16 November 1908
  4. The Times, Oct 16, 1919
  5. The Engineer of 2nd April 1920 p345
  • [1] Wikipedia
  • Ian Allan - British Buses Since 1900 - Aldridge and Morris
  • The Engineer of 14th September 1900 p253