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 148,385 pages of information and 233,851 images on early companies, their products and the people who designed and built them.

Vauxhall Ironworks Co

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June 1898.
Vauxhall Ironworks steam pump in the Robert Steele Marine Engineering Exhibition, Western Australian Maritime Museum, Fremantle
1901. Single-acting high-speed compound engine.
December 1904. 3-cyl Miniature Vauxhall Car.

of Vauxhall Iron Works, Wandsworth Road, London

1896 Vauxhall Ironworks Co established as successors to Alexander Wilson and Co with William Gardner and John Henry Chambers as joint managing directors.

1897 Vauxhall Ironworks were involved in the lock-out in the engineering trade[1]

1898 Frederick William Hodges, a marine engineer interested in the automobile, became head of the drawing office and assistant to the Works manager John Henry Chambers

1900 Rudolph Selz joined the company and was made a director a year later

1902 Percy Crosbie Kidner joins and becomes a director in the following year

1902 Started manufacturing cars, with a single horizontal cylinder engine[2] These were prototype models.

1903 April. Announced their first production car, the '5hp Light Car' at 130 gns., with a horizontally mounted single-cylinder engine of 970cc and two-speed epicyclic gearbox. First one sold to J. R. Jones, a sanitary inspector, of Kennington Park. Two of these 1903 cars still exist.

1903 Made 46 cars in the first full year of production[3]

1903 December. Chambers resigns as joint-MD and is replaced by Kidner as joint-MD with Gardner

1904 January. Announce a 6hp model

1904 December. Sign-off on a 6.5hp model

1904 Feb-Dec. Seventy cars made. Most had carriage work by Morgan and Co

1904 Around 180 persons employed in cramped conditions. In April a new site of just over 6 acres was purchased in Luton from Julius Werner. It came with a railway siding to the Midland Railway

1904 November. Announced a three-cylinder 2.5-litre 12-14hp model at £375 (chassis only). Twenty made in the old premises and 12 in Luton. Alfred James Hancock, an ex-apprentice and later Works Manager, raced one in the 1905 Tourist Trophy Race

1904 December. Announce a three-cylinder 1.3-litre 7-9hp model at £200. 52 were built in the old premises. After the move to Luton the engine was increased to 1.7-litres and in November 1905 it was launched as the 9hp. One 7-9hp still exists.

1905 To expand its production, the company moved the majority of its production to Luton. The opening ceremony was on March 29th. The new building measured 180 x 240 feet with four internal bays and brick offices at one end. They merged with the West Hydraulic Engineering Co who had moved from Bradford to an adjoining site in Luton.

1905 March. Directors: R. Everett, (Chairman); A. E. Ash, (Works Manager); P. C. Kidner; R. Selz; and F. W. Hodges.

1905 The Vauxhall and West Hydraulic Engineering Co was formed by the amalgamation of the Vauxhall Ironworks Co of Vauxhall, London and West Hydraulic Engineering Co of Luton and formerly of Bradford[4]

1905 September. Advert lists them as the Vauxhall and West Hydraulic Engineering Co with works at Luton, Beds.

1905 First car designed at Luton was the four-cylinder 18hp and was short-lived.

1905 Laurence Pomeroy joins the company

1907 Vauxhall Motors Limited was formed separate from the Vauxhall and West Hydraulic Engineering Co to develop the motor department. The new company had taken over a large part of the 10 acre premises of the old company at Luton. Vauxhall and West Hydraulic Engineering Co was a public company[5]

See Also


Sources of Information

  1. The Times Aug 03, 1897
  2. The Times, Mar 17, 1936
  3. The Times, Mar 17, 1936
  4. The Engineer 1905/05/05 p.460
  5. The Times, Apr 15, 1907
  • Vauxhall- Britain's Oldest Car Maker by Ian Coomber. 2017