Papers of Riley (Coventry) Successors Ltd.

Archive Collection

Scope and Content

Signed minutes of directors' and general meetings, 1938-1961; annual balance sheets and accounts, compiled by Messrs. Thornton & Thornton, chartered accountants, Oxford., 1938-1968; register of members/annual returns of shareholders, 1938-1946; annual returns of shareholders, 1946-1948; files of Messrs. Herbert and Gowers and Company, 1938-1952; articles of association, Riley (Coventry) Successors Ltd., Riley (Coventry) Ltd., Riley Motors Ltd., 1938, 1949 .

Administrative / Biographical History

The original Riley (Coventry) Limited was a family-owned business with roots going back into the late 19th century. By 1938 it was in severe financial difficulties, and, following an approach from Victor Riley, Lord Nuffield bought the company in September 1938, only to re-sell it almost immediately for a nominal sum to Morris Motors Limited. Thus was formed Riley (Coventry) Successors Limited. Victor Riley remained as managing director until December 1947. In the early post-war years, Riley still retained considerable independence of Morris/Wolseley/MG in matters of design, and general business and management. In 1949, the Riley operations were moved from Coventry to the MG factory at Abingdon, and the name of the company was changed to Riley Motors Limited. From then on the company was effectively dormant, although Riley cars - of gradually less independent design - continued to be made throughout the British Motor Corporation (BMC) era, the marque only being deleted in 1969 after the Leyland-BMC merger.

Reference: Catalogue to the collection.


This collection forms part of the British Motor Industry Heritage Trust Archive (MSS.226).

The Modern Records Centre uses a classification scheme. For further details of the scheme, see It is compatible with ISAD(G): General International Standard Archival Description (2000).

Conditions Governing Access

There are no restrictions on access to these papers.

Acquisition Information

This collection was deposited in the Centre by the British Motor Industry Heritage Trust in 1989.

Other Finding Aids

A paper catalogue to file level is available in the Centre's searchroom, at the National Register of Archives in London and in Chadwyck-Healey's National Inventory of Documentary Sources. A catalogue to file level is available in electronic format on the Access to Archives (A2A) website at:

Authority record exists for Riley (Coventry) Limited (GB 152 AAR2327); Riley (Coventry) Successors Ltd (GB 152 AAR2326) and Riley Motors Limited, (GB 152 AAR2328).

Conditions Governing Use

All requests for publication of deposited material or the result of research based on it should be made to the Trust. The Trust reserves all rights to commercial exploitation and commercial publication. Please contact the Centre's staff for further details.

Appraisal Information

This collection has been weeded for duplicates.

Custodial History

The records were in one of the deed boxes discovered in early 1988 in the Poplars building at the Cowley Body Plant when that building was being demolished.


Further deposits are not expected.

Related Material

The Modern Records Centre holds the papers of other companies which form part of the British Motor Industry Heritage Trust Archive. These include papers of the British Motor Corporation.

Technical materials are retained by the BMIHT. Technical enquiries should be made direct to the British Motor Industry Heritage Trust, Archives and Information Service, Gaydon, Warwickshire.