Atkinson Lorries (Holdings) Ltd

Scope and Content

Subject files relating to the takeover bids and shareholders' opposition, 1970; post merger documents, 1970-1971; Annual Reports of Atkinson Lorries (Holdings) Ltd, 1950-1970; Atkinson house journals, 1963-1971; obituaries of employees, 1970-1971; market research report, 1971; publications; miscellaneous papers; papers relating to Seddon Motors Ltd, 1970-1990.

Administrative / Biographical History

In 1907 Edward and Harry Atkinson joined forces with George Hunt to set up a company called Atkinson & Co in Frenchwood Avenue, Preston. Soon out growing these premises they moved to Kendal Street. The company repaired motor and steam wagons. In 1916 the Atkinson brothers decided to build a wagon of their own design. The company went through good and bad times during and after the First world war. Edward Atkinson died in 1932 and W.G Allen bought the business and renamed it Atkinson Lorries (1932) Ltd. They started producing diesel lorries, these lorries had Gardner engines, Kirkstall axles and David Brown gearboxes. The company moved to bigger premises on Marsh Lane, Preston, finally moving and settling at the famous Winery Lane site Walton Le Dale,Preston in 1947. Atkinson lorries wore many famous liveries W.H Bowker Ltd, Sutton of St Helens, Pollack, Gibb's of Fraserburgh, Northern Ireland Trailers,W &J Riding of Longridge and of course John Killingbeck of Blackburn.

Reference: Alan Sleight, 'Big Al's Truck Stop' ( June 2002.

From mid-1970 Atkinson Lorries Ltd., based at Walton-le-Dale in Lancashire, fought off an auction-like series of take-over bids by ERF and Fodens of Sandbach. During months of protracted campaigning by the prospective suitors, an unpredictable factor in the eventual outcome was the position of Leyland. This giant held a 20% share holding in Atkinson, which they regarded as a serious rival in the premium heavyweight market. Leyland remained silent until October when they backed a bid by a new contender, Seddon Diesel Vehicles of Oldham, many of whose models complemented those in the Atkinson range. Thus was created Seddon-Atkinson, which in turn was acquired by International Harvester, and is now part of Iveco. Even after the mergers, Atkinson customers continued to place the celebrated ringed A badge on new Seddon Atkinsons and twenty-five years after the original take-over, the famous logo, supplied by Seddon-Atkinson, is regularly encountered on our roads.

Reference: National Transport Museum of Ireland, 'Commercial Vehicles of Atkinson and articulated tractors' ( June 2002.

Access Information

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

Acquisition Information

This collection was deposited in the Centre by Mr P. M. Yates a former Managing Director of the company in 1984. A further deposit was made.

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

The centre also hold the papers of the Atkinson Shareholders Committee (MSS.290)