Cecil Burney collection

Scope and Content

The collection includes clippings, photographs, competition results, advertisements, technical drawings, certificates of performance, images of historical motorcycles and loose photographs, relating to Cecil Stanley Burney and his company Burney and Blackburne.

Administrative / Biographical History

Cecil Burney [?1884-1964] was a pioneer motor-cyclist and enthusiast, and was involved in the development of the Blackburn engine. He was also the founding member and first secretary of the Vintage Motor Cycle Club. In 1903 he and his brother Alick (E[dward] A[lexander]) were apprentices at engineering company Willans & Robinson Ltd when they met Geoffrey de Havilland, who had built a motorcycle in 1902. De Havilland sold the brothers his patterns, and they built their first de Havilland-engined motorcycle. This was the predecessor of the famous Blackburne, which went on the market in 1913.

In 1906 the brothers joined Daimler. In 1907 they redesigned the engine; Cecil entered the Coventry Motor Club 100 Miles Open Reliability Trials (his first competition) with the 3.5 h.p. de Havilland, winning the Schulte Cup for best performance in the Open Class. Cecil continued entering and winning competitions, and in 1910 moved to Rudge-Whitworths. In 1912, the brothers met with Harold Blackburn, and they decided to go into business together as Burney and Blackburn (although Harold did not stay long given that his true passion was aviation). This later became Burney and Blackburne.

The movement towards World War II brought an end to the company whose machines were so popular. One customer wrote in 1923, "I have been a motor cyclist for the past ten years, and, in my opinion, the Burney is, without doubt, the finest mount I have ever had the pleasure to sit astride and ride."

More information about Cecil Burney and about the company is available in Motor Sport magazine, March 1948.

Access Information

Open to researchers, by appointment. For further information, please see: nationalmotormuseum.org.uk/Motoring_research_service

Conditions Governing Use

Please apply to the Archivist if you would like to make any copy of the material.