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British Industrial History

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1916. Ref AA below
1917. Ref AA below
1919. Ref AA below

Martinsyde was a British aircraft and motorcycle manufacturer, based in Woking and Brooklands.


1908 The company was formed as a partnership between H. P. Martin and George Handasyde and known as Martin and Handasyde. They built an early but unsuccessful aircraft at Hendon Aerodrome and then moved to Brooklands. During its existence the company produced aircraft under subcontract as well as its own designs.

1912 they renamed the company Martinsyde Ltd.

Moved to Woking where they had built a new larger factory.

WWI Produced several new designs of aeroplane including the S.1 Scout, a biplane, and a larger aeroplane knicknamed "Elephant".

1919 Started producing motorcycles (see separate entry below).

1920 At the International Aero Exhibition at Olympia much attention was given to the 'Semi-quaver', a single-seater driven by a 300 hp Hispano-Suiza engine having recently set a British record by flying at 161.4 mph. They also showed a four-seater 'A' type.

1920 Application to wind up the company by creditors[1]

1923 The company went into liquidation.

A number of surplus Buzzard airframe were later built up with a new engine, the radial Armstrong Siddeley Motors Jaguar, by the Aircraft Disposal Co and sold as the "Martinsyde ADC.1" in 1924. A development of the F.4 was also made by the ADC, two "ADC Nimbus" produced as prototypes.


Martinsyde were motorcycles produced by Martin and Handasyde from 1919 to 1923.

1919 After the end of the Great War, and having been major aircraft producers for those years, Martin and Handasyde decided to diversify by turning to motorcycle manufacture. They had plenty of room for production and a reputation for good quality, so decided to manufacture the bulk of components in-house, including V-twin engines with unusual eoi valve layout. The first machines were badged as Martinsyde-Newman, as the engine had been designed by H. C. Newman. The 677cc V-twins rapidly gained a good reputation for reliability through extensive trials work. The gearbox, made under licence from AJS, was a standard three-speed. Sidecar outfits were available, including one suitable for commercial use.

1920 A 498cc model with similar engine layout followed. [2]

1920 Produced the Martinsyde-Newman motorcycle combination

1921 Trading difficulties caused large-scale lay-offs at the works.

1922 A sports version of the 498cc appeared along with a 738cc sports model (developed by H. H. Bowen) named the Quick Six.

1923 Various experiments were conducted with valve gear controlled by leaf springs and a vertical single model of 347cc was tried. Towards the end of the year the business failed.

  • Note: Stock parts and the rights to manufacture were acquired by the BAT Motor Co. During 1924 the twins continued being made under the trading name of BAT-Martinsyde but ceased in 1925.

Aircraft production

  • WW1 Subcontract production BE.2c and SE.5A.
  • Martinsyde RG
  • Martinsyde F.1
  • Martinsyde F.2
  • Martinsyde F.3 - private venture design with the Rolls-Royce Falcon engine.

See Also


Sources of Information

  1. London Gazette 10 Dec 1920
  2. The Engineer 1920/07/16
  • [1] Wikipedia
  • The Aeroplanes of the Royal Flying Corps (Military Wing) by J. M. Bruce. Published in 1982. ISBN 0-370-30084-x
  • The Encyclopedia of British Military Aircraft by Chaz Bowyer. Published in 1982. ISBN 1-85841-031-2
  • The British Motorcycle Directory - Over 1,100 Marques from 1888 - by Roy Bacon and Ken Hallworth. Pub: The Crowood Press 2004 ISBN 1 86126 674 X
  • The Encyclopedia of the Motorcycle by Peter Henshaw. Published 2007. ISBN 978 1 8401 3967 9
  • AA. [2] Image courtesy of Aviation Ancestry
  • Flight 14 November 1958