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Steve1966
Bedworth
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1 of 70  Wed 29th Feb 2012 12:59pm  
Member: Joined Feb 2012  Total posts:27

Hi all, I'm a Coventry kid and a member of the Francis-Barnett Owner's Club. F-B made motorcycles in Lower Ford Street (opposite the Baptist Church) from 1920 to 1963. The factory was demolished to make way for the ring road and the company moved to Greet in Birmingham before closing in 1966. As far as the club are aware there are no known photos of the factory (other than the RAF aerial survey pics). If anyone has or knows of any I would be extremely pleased to see them. Steve.
Francis-Barnett
dutchman
Spon End
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2 of 70  Wed 29th Feb 2012 2:51pm  
Member: Joined Mar 2010  Total posts:3033

Hi Steve and welcome to the forum Wave Can't help with a picture I'm afraid but was this the same 'Francis' who went on to found car maker Lea-Francis?
Francis-Barnett
Midland Red
Cherwell
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3 of 70  Wed 29th Feb 2012 2:58pm  
Moderator: Joined Jan 2010  Total posts:4550

On 29th Feb 2012 2:51pm, dutchman said: Hi Steve and welcome to the forum Wave Can't help with a picture I'm afraid but was this the same 'Francis' who went on to found car maker Lea-Francis?
According to the following Wiki pages, Gordon Inglesby Francis founded Francis-Barnett and Graham Inglesby Francis co-founded Lea-Francis Edited by Midland Red, 16th Oct 2017 1:42 pm (Errors in original posting now corrected)
Francis-Barnett
Steve1966
Bedworth
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Thread starter
4 of 70  Wed 29th Feb 2012 11:09pm  
Member: Joined Feb 2012  Total posts:27

Hi again, I've figured out how to insert images now so please see picture below of the cleared site after the completion of the ring road (from a photo in the transport museum). I've never really understood why the factory had to be demolished as it doesn't really impinge on the factory. It may be that the new owners of F-B, AMC (Associated Motor Cycles) took the opportunity to save costs and move F-B into the James factory at Greet (James was another of AMC's brands). The second picture is of the Chapel opposite taken around 1960. Its the closest I've found to a period shot of the factory (supplied by the Chapel from their archives). Steve.
Francis-Barnett
Adrian
UK
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5 of 70  Wed 29th Feb 2012 11:19pm  
Member: Joined Sep 2011  Total posts:191

The Hillfields website used to have pictures of the entrance to Francis Barnett works, but for some reason they have been removed, along with the history of manufacturing in Hillfields.
Francis-Barnett
dutchman
Spon End
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6 of 70  Wed 29th Feb 2012 11:49pm  
Member: Joined Mar 2010  Total posts:3033

On 29th Feb 2012 11:09pm, Steve1966 posted the following picture:
Blimey, that gents' urinal in the middle of the junction is a lot bigger than I remember it! Oh my
Francis-Barnett
mattash
Rugby
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7 of 70  Thu 1st Mar 2012 8:17am  
Member: Joined Feb 2010  Total posts:589

Oh my LOL. The urinal was about 12ft in diameter with the police box facing towards the Ford St crossroads. The "Green Man" was in the centre of all the junctions which meant having eyes in the back of your head to get to it. I think what you see on the pic is the hoarding surrounding the demolition site of the urinal. Also, I remember that Francis Barnett used to test their motorbikes along Lower Ford St at an evening time. They had a very notable "tinny" sound. On one evening I was watching one of the test drivers returning to the factory when the bike suddenly burst into flames, he calmly parked the bike at the side of the road, then ran like hell into the factory (in panic really) and returned with a fire extinguisher and put the fire out. Considering the fire was underneath the fuel tank he was a brave man, I would have run to the police box (it was nearer) dialled 999 then hid behind the urinal and waited for the fire brigade to arrive or an explosion, which ever came first. Oh my Thumbs up
Francis-Barnett
Kimbo
Chapel st. Leonards
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8 of 70  Thu 1st Mar 2012 10:18pm  
Member: Joined Feb 2012  Total posts:56

I seem to remember I used to get the No. 13 from near the Franny Barnett gates in late 1965 when I started at The Woodlands. Shortly after that the stop was moved into Pool Meadow. Am I right?
Francis-Barnett
mattash
Rugby
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9 of 70  Fri 2nd Mar 2012 9:11am  
Member: Joined Feb 2010  Total posts:589

This might be good for every interest, MACE archive Francis Barnett, short film on the making of petrol tanks but at the end shows a motorbike coming out of the entrance of the factory. Lot of other clips as well but they are still compiling them. I am still going through them. Thumbs up
Francis-Barnett
Catshed
Old Chapelfields
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10 of 70  Fri 2nd Mar 2012 11:07am  
Member: Joined Feb 2012  Total posts:215

Thanks mattash. Also worth noting is the petrol tanks are being made at their subsidiary factory, 'Clarendon Pressing and Welding' on Clarendon Street in Earlsdon.
Triumph - 'The Best Motorcycle in the World'.

Francis-Barnett
Steve1966
Bedworth
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Thread starter
11 of 70  Fri 2nd Mar 2012 11:12am  
Member: Joined Feb 2012  Total posts:27

Thanks to all who have responded so far. It's all good stuff. I'm sure there must be a photo out there somewhere of a building that stood for 45 years plus (previously the Excelsior Cycles works before F-B took it over I believe).
Francis-Barnett
Steve1966
Bedworth
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Thread starter
12 of 70  Mon 12th Mar 2012 7:59pm  
Member: Joined Feb 2012  Total posts:27

Thought some of you might be interested in images from various Francis Barnett Motorcycle brochures from over the years. Most are from Coventry or the surrounding area. Some locations are unknown and help identifyng these would be appreciated. Pic 1 - 1929 - Location unknown but looks like Stoneleigh? Pic 2 - 1929 - Stoneleigh Pic 3 - 1929 - Ashow, exact lane unknown I'll add a few more images in the next few hours.
Francis-Barnett
NeilsYard
Coventry
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13 of 70  Mon 12th Mar 2012 8:24pm  
Member: Joined Aug 2010  Total posts:1552

Pic 2 in Stoneleigh is pretty much unchanged : Streetview Pic 1 bridge does not look wide enough for the one in Stoneleigh village? Nor the one further up by the golf course?
Francis-Barnett
Steve1966
Bedworth
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Thread starter
14 of 70  Mon 12th Mar 2012 9:26pm  
Member: Joined Feb 2012  Total posts:27

The next four pics are from a 1957 brochure and were all taken in Tile Hill. I'm not that familiar with the area but it looks like it was recently completed? Pic 4 Pic 5 Pic 6 Pic 7
Francis-Barnett
NeilsYard
Coventry
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15 of 70  Mon 12th Mar 2012 9:43pm  
Member: Joined Aug 2010  Total posts:1552

Pics 6 and 7 are Jardine Crescent when it first opened : Streetview. Amazing now that they thought they were an appropriate venue for the brochures but I guess at that time they were very modern and futuristic? What date are they?
Francis-Barnett

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