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Heritage of the British Motor Industry

William Morris, one of the founders of mass market British car-manufacture, left school, aged 15 and was apprenticed to a local bicycle seller. At the age of 16 he set up his own bicycle-repair business at his parents’ home. In 1901, he began to work with motorcycles and in 1902 acquired a garage in Longwell Street from which he sold, repaired and hired cars.

Two years later he designed a car, known as the “Bullnose” Morris, and began to manufacture these in a factory in Cowley, Oxfordshire until the outbreak of war. After World War I, there was a return to car manufacture and his company went on to design and build some of the best known and loved British cars, such as the Morris Minor in 1948, arguably the finest small car in the world at that time with handling that others could only dream of matching. Despite his wealth, his lifestyle was very modest and he gave away over £30m of his fortune, making him one of Britain’s great philanthropists.

This Special Event looks back at this and the fascinating story of British car and transport manufacturing, with the highlight being a private evening and dinner at The British Motor Museum, Gaydon. Your hosts and guides are Robert Bailey, an award winning Heart of England Blue Badge Guide with a passion for industrial heritage, and Mike Stone, archaeologist and popular Travel Editions guide.


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