Triumph Engineering Company Limited and associated companies

Scope and Content

This collection contains: accounts analyses, 1946-1968; expenditure analysis ledgers, 1959-1968; profit and loss statements and balance sheets, 1940-1970; employee statistics, 1964-1968; records mainly concerning sales and transport of products, 1955-1980; publicity material and product literature, 1958-1992; material relating to Norton Villiers Triumph, 1974-1990; research works, 1978-1984; employee statistics, 1964-1968; auction catalogue of Meriden factory, 1983.

Administrative / Biographical History

This motorcycle manufacturer derives from the bicycle factors, S. Bettman & Company, formed in 1885. The company changed its name to Triumph Cycle Company in 1887 and began to manufacture its own bicycles in 1889. After the firm had diversified into motor car production, the motorcycle side of its business was acquired by J. Young Sangster in 1936 under the name Triumph Engineering Company Ltd. The business was sold to Birmingham Small Arms in 1951, which, in turn was sold to Manganese Bronze Holdings in 1973, and took on the name Norton Villiers Triumph. Controversy over NVT proposed closure of its Triumph subsidiary led to a work-in and the emergence in 1975 of Synova Motors Ltd, trading as the Meriden Motorcycle Co-operative.

Many of the company records have been dispersed or destroyed. The company was formed in London but moved to Coventry in 1889. Its factory was destroyed in the bombing of 1940 and in 1942 it opened a factory, at Allesley, near Meriden.

In July 1983 Triumph Motorcycles (Meriden) Limited went into liquidation. In November 1983 there was a sale of machinery and other items on the site and the firm's assets were bought by a Midlands businessman, John Bloor. Subsequently Racing Spares of Newton Abbot, Devon were licenced to produce the Triumph 750 and Triumph Motorcycles Coventry Limited was established at Exhall to develop a new model.

Reference: Harry Louis & Bob Currie, 'The Story of Triumph Motorcycles' (Cambridge, 1975, 2nd edition, 1978); J Bruce-Gardyne, 'Meriden. Odyssey of a lame duck (1978); Ivor Davies, 'It's a Triumph' (1980); R F Currie, 'Siegfried Bettman', Dictionary of Business Biography, volume 1 (1984).

Access Information

This collection is available to researchers by appointment at the Modern Records Centre, University of Warwick. See

Acquisition Information

Records with references beginning MSS.123/2 were deposited in the Centre by the Norton Villiers Triumph liquidators in 1976. Records with references beginning MSS.123X were acquired from various sources.

Other Finding Aids

Conditions Governing Use

There are no restrictions on the use of this archive, apart from the requirements of copyright law.

Appraisal Information

This collection has been weeded for duplicates.


Further deposits are not expected.

Related Material

Records of Norton Villiers Triumph (NVT) Limited

A small group of Siegfried Bettman's personal papers has been deposited in the Coventry City Record Office (accession numbers 515 and 627)