Grace's Guide

British Industrial History

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Harper Bean

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Holding company for a number of car and component manufacturing companies; head office 50 Pall Mall, London

1919 Harper Bean Ltd was formed as a public company to bring together a number of interests in car manufacturing, including -[1] [2].

Directors are:

Planned considerable increase in production by the constituent companies including change to mass production by Swifts. To produce aluminium bodies

1920 Holdings in other companies included in Harper Bean were Birmingham Aluminium Co, ABC (1920) Motors Ltd (44 percent of the shares), Coopers Mechanical Joint Co (?) Ltd, Ransome and Marles Bearing Co Ltd[3].

1920 September. The board were told that the "Bean" car was being sold at a loss, in contrast to the previous impression givem. Mr Harper Bean resigned as managing director[4].

1921 First AGM told that the board had largely been replaced because of difficulty separating interests of subsidiary from parent company's interests; Messrs Bean, Whitcomb and Burns resigned; Colonel Polson became chairman. Problems included over-subscription for shares without necessarily having funds available; drop in demand post-War; unrealistic prices paid for companies; lack of rigour in sourcing components from subsidiary companies because they did not have sufficient capacity. A. Harper, Sons and Bean was put into receivership by one of its creditors but rescued through work by Harper Bean management[5].[6] and, as part of this, A. Harper, Sons and Bean bought back 55% of its shares from Harper Bean using money largely from Sir George Bean and exchanged these for shares in Harper Bean which were cancelled. The new Harper Bean management decided that the 2 radiator companies, Gallay and Alexander Mosses, would be operated as one unit under Mr L T Delaney. The constituents which did not present problems were Hadfields, Birmingham Aluminium Co, Ransome and Marles Bearing Co and Harvey Frost[7].

1922 Hadfields exchanged its shares in Harper Bean for shares in A. Harper, Sons and Bean[8].

1924 Voluntary liquidation[9].

1925 Acrimonious libel action decided in favour of the plaintiff, Mr J Harper Bean; the testimony presented demonstrated the limited extent to which the whole enterprise had been evaluated before it was started[10].

See Also


Sources of Information

  1. Western Daily Press - Monday 01 December 1919
  2. The Times, 1 December 1919
  3. The Times, 25 May 1920
  4. The Times, 7 April 1925
  5. The Times, 26 July 1921
  6. The Times, 26 July 1921
  7. The Times, 26 July 1921
  8. The Times, 27 March 1922
  9. The Times, 21 June 1924
  10. The Times, 9 April 1925