Features : Interactive map of BMC and BL factories

Carole Nash Classic Insurance Specialists

BMC and British Leyland had a bewildering array of factories dotted around the UK when the empire was at its peak.

Using this interactive map as created by Jonathan Barber, you can now navigate around them and see for yourself as to what was built where. It’s still a work in progress, and we’re going to expand to international operations in time – please post any errors or omissions in the Comments section.


The BMC/BL Empire


View British Leyland Factories in a larger map

Please note to help with this, please state the factory name, details and post code, in your entries below. That way we can add them a lot more quickly and accurately. Thank you.

There is also a Facebook thread for edits, additions and rectifications.

Keith Adams

Keith Adams

Editor and creator AROnline at AROnline
Created www.austin-rover.co.uk in 2001 and built it up to become the world's foremost reference source for all things BMC, Leyland and Rover Group, before renaming it AROnline in 2007.

Is the Editor of the Parkers website and price guide, formerly editor of Classic Car Weekly, and launch editor/creator of Modern Classics magazine. Has contributed to various motoring titles including Octane, Practical Classics, Evo, Honest John, CAR magazine, Autocar, Pistonheads, Diesel Car, Practical Performance Car, Performance French Car, Car Mechanics, Jaguar World Monthly, MG Enthusiast, Modern MINI, Practical Classics, Fifth Gear Website, Radio 4, and the the Motoring Independent...

Likes 'conditionally challenged' motors and taking them on unfeasible adventures all across Europe.
Keith Adams

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77 Comments

    • My Father worked at the Leeds site – Charles H Roe – for most of his working life.

      He was in the Drawing Office (Design Office I suppose you’d call it now?!)
      When BL closed down Roe’s he was one of a very small team of designers who were in at the very beginning of the successor company – Optare, creating some bus designs to get the new company going.

      Optare continued at the Crossgates site (passing through the ownership of various other companies) for a number of years. They moved away to another site when the old site was sold for re-development. Today they have a nice modern factory on the Industrial Estate at Sherburn in Elmet, where we live.

      Andrew

  1. Garrison Street was also a satellite factory for Land Rovers – canvas tilts and such.

    You could also add –
    Aveling Barford. Houghton Road Grantham Lincs NG31 6JE

  2. A very minor outpost of the BMC empire still in existence is the BMC social club, just off Gorgie Road in Edinburgh, which still has a BMC rosette on the sign outside. I can only assume a lot of the workers at the Bathgate factory must have lived in the Gorgie area of Edinburgh…

    You can see it in StreetView here: http://goo.gl/maps/h0f5C

  3. I worked at the Leyland bus factory in Workington when it became a warehouse. Actually the paint shop was still intact with all the machinery.

  4. Brilliant ! I once tried to trace ALL the old Factories once under the BL Banner but quickly gave up, on the face of how many separate sites BL had it is little wonder that they struggled to control it all, Though you can understand the Concern of the Government if BL tried to cut down and build one site of massive proportions! The savings on all the colossal transport costs shipping from one site to the next on a daily basis, could of built a new state of the art Factory.

    But as History has shown us all these satellite sites were scattering employment into areas that could possibly result into run down areas of high unemployment, However without the Tax Payer subsidising BL, The whole group was sadly doomed !

    Here is the Aveling Barford site at Newburn, Newcastle http://www.flashearth.com/?lat=54.979441&lon=-1.734792&z=17.2&r=0&src=msl This site is a very large Salvage Yard which the last time I visited had quite a few MGF’s and Rovers ! along with every other make of chariot. It still has the Security Hut at the Main Gates.

  5. I presume the Leyland Bus factory in Coventry is the former Daimler factory? Is this the same plant that produced Daimler cars and later Jaguar Engines (Radford?)

    The current Leyland Truck factory is missing, PR26 6LZ

    There were also Leyland Bus factories elsewhere in Leyland, one was at PR25 2LE, this is now the British Commercial Vehicle museum, they had another plant at Farrington when privatised.

  6. Buried on the archived forum, did Declan Burridge not create a similar map for the HQ buildings? Would nicely cross over I reckon!

  7. Back in the dark ages (1979 or so), when I was at Uni, we had digs on Durbar Avenue in Coventry, and just up the road was a minor part of the old empire just at the corner of Beresford and Durbar. It had started life as the old Riley plant, but in the late seventies I think it was an outpost of one of the BL parts divisions. The site is still part of Unipart apparently. Just looked it up on Google Maps – Unipart Eberspacher, making exhaust and emissions stuff. Looks much cleaner than I remember.

  8. You seem to be missing Beans Engineering in Bloomfield Road, Tipton which was part of Standard Triumph for many years before becoming engine block supplier for everything from the MG 6R4 and Ford RS200 to the Midland Red bus.

  9. Looking good mate :)As the company was so huge and sprawling, it really should have been called British Leylandii LOL

  10. Forward Radiator [Triumph bodies]-Cherrywood Road B9
    Morris Commercial B9
    Tractors &Transmissions Drews Lane B8 [Later LDV Vans]
    Land Rover Body Development Saltley Trading Estate B8

  11. Bargoed- South Wales -Pedal car factory
    AEC Trucks Alcester [Gteat Alne ] built mainly axles in later years -It was built originally as a shadow factory for the Maudslay Truck Company
    The buildings still exist within a wood

  12. Triumph Canley is in the wrong place – it was further north and occupied the whole of the area bounded by the railway line on the south, Tile Hill Lane to the north, Hearsall Common to the east and Fletchamstead Highway to the west.

    Add: Morris Bodies (formerly Hollick and Pratt, and where the Morris Minor Traveller was constructed) – Quinton Road / Mile Lane, Coventry (the spot named ‘Cheylesmore House’ on the Google map)

    – The Morris Engines entry is wrong. The original factory was formerly Hotchkiss, and was located at Gosford St, Coventry. Part of the original works remains as part of the University -the William Morris Building- and is noted as such on the Google map. This was Morris Engines from 1923 to circa 1935, when it became the base of Nuffield Mechanisations which used the site until circa 1950.

    Morris Engines set up a new plant at Courthouse Green, Coventry, in 1928, and this was in operation until 1982. It covered the area east of the modern day A444, south of Nuffield Road, west of Mulberry road and north of Stoke Heath common. The roads Austin Drive, Portwrinkle Avenue and Talland Avenue are built on the site today.

  13. After Morris Bodies completed production of the last Morris Minor Traveller circa 1971/ 72, the Mile Lane / Quinton Road works was taken over by Coventry Climax. I don’t know when production there ended, but guess it was in the early 1990’s.
    The main Coventry Climax works was in Widdrington Road, Radford, Coventry (the entrance was almost opposite Dorset Road and the site backed on to the canal).

  14. The Leeds plant was Charles H. Roe, Manston Lane Leeds 15.

    In 1947 it was taken over by Park Royal Vehicles. Two years later, along with its parent, it became part of Associated Commercial Vehicles (ACV) in 1949, which was merged with Leyland Motors Ltd in 1962. In 1965 30% of Park Royal and Roe’s shares were exchanged by Leyland Motor Corporation for shares in Bristol Commercial Vehicles and Eastern Coach Works held by the Transport Holding Company. Later the THC was succeeded by the National Bus Company and Park Royal, Roe, Bristol, ECW and Leyland National Ltd became subsidiaries of a new company Bus Manufacturuers Holdings 50% owned by British Leyland and 50% by National Bus. Leyland took complete control of BMH in 1982 and closed Charles H. Roe in 1984. Became Optare in 1985, and after several mergers with DAF(united Bus), then East Lancs (Darwen Group, then Optare once again), and is now ironically part of Ashok Leyland. Factory demolished in 2012, and now based at Sherburn in Elmet

  15. The original Riley Motor Company factory was in St Nicholas Street, Coventry. In c 1919 they moved to the ‘Cunard Works’ at Aldbourne Road, Radford, Coventry. It is still there today – a remarkable survivor of an early factory in a city which has lost most of its car factories to demolition – squeezed in between the terraced houses of Aldbourne Road and Widdrington Road, and still occupied by an engineering company – Clarke Pitchline.

    During the 1930’s Riley opened a new factory in Durbar Avenue, Foleshill, Coventry, which later became Morris Engines Number 2 Factory, and then in the 1980’s transferred to Unipart, who still use the site today. It is located in the triangle of land formed by the railway line, the A444 and Beresford Avenue.

    There was also another factory in Durbar Avenue known as the Morris Engines Number 3 Factory. Whether this was previously part of Riley I don’t know – I will have to do some more research. It is still there and is situated between Durbar Avenue, Queen Mary’s Road and Boston Place. I see that Google Maps marks it as the base for ‘Classic fork Trucks’ !

    • Hi
      Just a quick note re Cunard works. I think there is a little mix up here. The building you quote in your helpful note is actually “The Castle Motor Car works”….occupied by Pitchline Transmissions. I visited the site last week as part of a survey. I believe that the site still has a link to Riley via a link from a successor company to PR Motors (Percy Riley Motors) who also have another plant in North Coventry. The links are not fully proved yet.

      The Cunard works according to an 1912 OS map I have was on the opposite side of the road in the corner. That site stretch up to Cash’s Lane and became home to Cov Climax eventually. Now totally redeveloped.

  16. The ‘Leyland Buses’ entry for Coventry is wrong. Leyland Buses were never made in Coventry – all the buses made in Coventry until production ended in 1973 were always Daimlers.The factory covered a large area of land north of Daimler Road, Radford, which is now covered by a housing estate.

  17. Don’t forget West Yorkshire Foundries in Leeds. Made castings for Leyland/Jaguar/Rover for years. Sad it’s all gone….like so much of the rest!

  18. See this link: http://www.britainfromabove.org.uk/image/epw031318

    The plant was built by Morris, to make radiators. In later years before closure, it made exhaust systems. Cowley apprentices loved the place – it had a chroming plant – perfect for young lads with motorbikes!

    For those that know Oxford, it was next to Keble College Sports Ground – thats to the left in the photo.

  19. @31 Longs haulage used to transport the raw castings to the plants, mainly using Leyland & Leyland DAF trucks! It was just off South Accommodation Road if I remember rightly

  20. Fabulous feature!

    Is it possible to add the year when a factory closed? Some sites are still in use of course, such as in Llanelli, or the old Albion plant; it would be great to have a definitive list of current owners/use.

    There was a Pressed Steel/BMC/BL plant in Rearsby, half way between Leicester and Melton Mowbray. It made components for various clients; sold by BL in 1981 but still in operation until 2003.

    • That was known a Rearsby Components and (if I remember correctly) was built on the old Rearsby Airfield wher Auster Aircraft were built. (I don’t know if they used the old Auster factory).

  21. I’ve just found out how to edit the Google map myself, so I’ll do the items in the Coventry area myself to save you the trouble.

  22. A great feature – well done to all involved!

    However, the information on Longbridge is slightly out of date. It ends with “Successor Nanjing has restarted limited car assembly on a much smaller scale for the MG TF”. A bit has happened there since then…

  23. Don’t forget the BL factory at Setúbal in Portugal as well as a factory in Vendas Novas (not far from Setúbal) where the Mini Moke was produced at a former MAN trucks factory!

  24. That’s a fantastic resource… Congratulations!
    There was also a British Leyland plant at Malines, Belgium (former Triumph assembly plant)…closed in 1974.

    Also some car assembly in Holland and truck assembly in Denmark….

  25. What about Dunstable Toolroom.I visited there on several occasions circa 1977 when I worked in Employee Relations based at Cowley.

  26. What about SU carbs, Erdington. Not sure of the address, but I think you can still see the SU badge on the wall in street view.

  27. Re 46: Yes. well remembered! That was a PSF plant. Terry Bull came from there to PSF Cowley, to be Chief Engineer of Body Engineering (he replaced Mick Wall).

  28. Leyland Group

    1. Leyland Motors, Leyland and Chorley. lorry and bus chassis, diesel engines (13,000 employees).

    2. Standard-Triumph International, Coventry, cars (11,000).

    3. AEC, Southall, buses, commercial vehicles, diesel engines (5,000).

    4. Albion Motors, Glasgow, lorry and bus chassis (3,000).

    5. Scammell Lorries, Watford, heavy duty commercial vehicles (1,200).

    6. Standard-Triumph (Liverpool), Speke, car bodies and parts (1,500).

    7. Transport Equipment (Thornycroft), Basingstoke, heavy commercial vehicles (1,300).

    8. Beans Industries, Tipton, foundries (2,000).

    9. West Yorkshire Foundries, Leeds, foundries (1,800).

    10. Park Royal Vehicles, London, bus body builders (1,000).

    11. Maudslay Motor Company, Alcester, axles (800).

    12. Alford and Alder, Hemel Hempstead, axles, brake drums, etc. (850).

    13. Forward Radiator Company, Birmingham, radiators, petrol tanks, etc. (1,200).

    14. Self – Changing Gears, Coventry, gearboxes (500).

    15. Charles H. Roe, Leeds, bus body builders (400).

    16. Power Jacks, Acton, hydraulic jacks and pumps (250).

    17 Auto-Body Dies, Dunstable. body press dies (250).

    18. British Gear Grinding and Manufacturing Company, London, gears and gearbox components (100).

    19. The Rover Company, Solihull, cars, industrial gas turbines (14,600).

    20. Rover Company factories at Cardiff (part of Rover Company).

    21. Alvis Limited, Coventry, military vehicles (part of Rover Company).

    22. Aveling-Barford, Grantham, (2,000–parent company only, excluding Aveling-Barford subsidiaries).

    BMH Group

    In Britain the major BMH plants (those employing more than 1,000) were:

    BRITISH MOTOR CORPORATION

    1. Austin, Longbrldge, cars, car bodies, and engines (27,000 employees).

    2. Morris, Cowley, cars (10,700).

    3. Morris. Llanelli, components (3,800).

    4. Morris , Birmingham, components (4,800).

    5. Morris, Coventry, engines (5,900).

    6. SU Carburettors , Birmingham , carburettors (1,000).

    7. MG, Abingdon, sports cars (1,200).

    8. BMC, Bathgate, trucks and tractors (5,000).

    9. Fisholow, Coseley, equipment (1,100).

    10. Fisher-Bendix, Kirkby, domestic appliances (2,200).

    PRESSED STEEL FISHER

    1. Cowley and Swindon, car bodies and other units (11,100).

    2. Birmingham (2 plants), car and commercial bodies (7,600).

    3. Coventry, bodies and trim (3,300).

    4. Llanelli, pressings (2,000).

    JAGUAR CARS

    1. Jaguar, Coventry, cars (3,500).

    2. Daimler, Coventry, cars and buses (3,200).

    3. Guy, Wolverhampton. cars and buses (1,000).

    4. Meadows, Wolverhampton, marine gearboxes and other units (3,000).

    5. Coventry Climax, Coventry, forklifts, fire pumps, and other units (1,000).

  29. Kev-Thanks for the acknowledgement.Looking at post 49(Ian Nicholls)this has really got me down memory lane.I worked at Cowley with Grant Lockhart as the ER Director(subsequently Cowley Assembly Plant Director then Carbodies) and the legendary Ken Blay.Ian misses out on Vanden Plas in North London(part of the Austin legacy) which in my time had enormous problems with wage rates and labour retention which were significant factors in the consideration of its eventual closure.I also recall a service and parts operation in Western Avenue north london which had the status of a plant.

  30. BL Chile: Arica ( Austin Mini and ADO 16 MG 1300 made in fibre glass)

    For more precision ( or being pedant!) Authi was located in Landaben (near Pamplona/Iruña) where now SEAT makes all the VW Polo; Innocenti was located in Lambrate (near Milano), where also they made the Lambretta scooters)

  31. Rodrigo wrote

    “BL Chile: Arica ( Austin Mini and ADO 16 MG 1300 made in fibre glass)

    For more precision ( or being pedant!) Authi was located in Landaben (near Pamplona/Iruña) where now SEAT makes all the VW Polo; Innocenti was located in Lambrate (near Milano), where also they made the Lambretta scooters)”

    There is nothing wrong with being pedantic. The more precise we are, the better. Many of us would like to see what is there now on Google Earth.

    There

  32. Ref: Comment No. 35.
    The BL Factory in Rearsby, Leics. was Rearsby Automotive Ltd. This was the former Auster Aircraft Company which started at the Leicestershire Flying Club in Oct 1938 as Taylor Aeroplanes (England) Ltd. It changed its name post-war after one of products, the Auster – “The all steel aeroplane.” (Ala SS Cars became Jaguar Cars.) Post war Auster turned to manufacturing automotive components for Rootes Group initially. Then Austin, Morris and so on incl. Pressed Steel. Auster became part of the latter as part of it aircraft manufacturing ambitions when Beagle Aircraft was formed with Miles aircraft of Shoreham. Rearsby Automotive was separated from aircraft manufacture in 1966. The last aircraft was built at Rearsby in 1969. RAL continued to grow and prosper, continuing to supply BMC, Ford, GM and Chrysler UK. I led the first BL Management Buy-Out of Rearsby in 1981 where the company continued to grow and prosper shifting to supplying Nissan, Honda and Toyota both in Europe and to Japan. I sold the business in 1996 when the three Japanese customers represented over 60% of sales. The balance were Ford, Rover Group, Jaguar and VW-Audi. The company designed, developed and manufactured handbrake systems, gearshift systems and pedalbox systems plus front and rear suspension links, rods, struts etc. Peak employment at RAL was 830 employees in 1978, although peak employment was 1,200 during WWII on aircraft production from 7 factories.

    The main RAL business was located on Gaddesby Lane, half a mile to the South East of the village of Rearsby across the A607. LE7 4YH. The factories are now Rearsby Business Park, clearly visible on the satellite view. I, with original MBO team members, still own them.

    Another factory missing from the interactive map is Alford and Alder Ltd at Maylands Avenue and Eastman Way, Hemel Hempstead. Started in 1884 in the East End moving to Hemel in 1954. It was purchased by Standard Motor Company when they sold their shares in (Massey) Fergusson. A&A, highly profitable, designed and manufactured Independent Front Suspension systems, power and Manual Rack & Pinion steering gears for Triumph, Jaguar, Rover and Austin-Morris and Heavy Front axles for Leyland, Scammel, Guy, AEC, Dennis, Dodge etc etc. 1100 employees from two plants on the Maylands Avenue Industrial Estate.

  33. BSD

    Please add ISRAEL to the map.

    from the mid 60’s (if i recall from 1965) until 1973 LEYLAND collaborated with AUTOCARS Co. in ISRAEL.

    AUTOCARS manufactured 4 wheel fibreglass cars with the help of RELIANT using FORD engines,but after the collaboration started using the 12/50 & 13/60 TRIUMPH engines.

    The LEYLAND factory was in in the city of ASHDOD and manufactured the TRIUMPH 1300 but with 1500cc engine (later with 1300cc) and the DRAGOON/PONY 4X4,and LEYLAND ROYAL TIGER AND BEAVER/CLYDESDALE buses and trucks.

    with respects
    Itzhak

  34. Please add:

    Standard-Triumph’s shadow factory at Banner lane Tile Hill Coventry operational in 1938, and after the war built Ferguson tractors.
    Massey Ferguson bought the plant in 1959 from Standard. Closed in 2002 and demolished since.

  35. i used to work at rearsby automotive, gaddesby lane leicestershire, in the last few years of its life, there was several different owners, it does not exist now, it was management who bought it out, this factory made hand brakes, clutches, tie rods, etc, and employed approx 500 people, myself, i was made redundant at 60 years old and glad to be out of it.

  36. Guys
    Reading this thread please don’t forget Leyland Motors Iran and its repair service shop on Ghazvin St.

    Three/four Iranian spec Leyland Comets would roll off the line every day and four Atlantean deckers per week.

    Being member of Export Service at Leyland I got sent there for a two year stunt in 1976. I stayed until the Ayatollah turned up and it was then time to say bye bye and support a 750 strong Atlantean fleet in Baghdad.

    Great company to work for, I was with them for fourteen years.
    Dennis
    Littleton & Golden Colorado USA

  37. New Zealand car manufacturing

    Austin had car assembly plants in Auckland (from 1936) and Petone (near Wellington). The Petone site was used by the Associated Motor Industries Ltd and Austin Distributors Federation on McKenzie Street. It closed in 1983.

    Morris cars were first assembled by Dominion Motors. A factory was located in Auckland in 1935.Morris Motors had production facilities from 1938 at Mortimer Pass, Newmarket. This closed in 1978 and production was transferred to the Panmure site. The Panmure site built cars for Morris from 1953 to 1987.

    Standard and then Triumphs were built in Christchurch first in St Asaph Street then Tuam Street. The works were transferred to Stoke (Nelson) in 1965. This factory made (from CKD) mainly for Triumphs but Jaguars, Rovers and other cars for the group were also assembled. The factory eventually transferred ownership to Honda in stages from 1985 to 1988 and was closed in 1998. The main manufacturer was the New Zealand Motor Corporation formed from the merger of Dominion motors and the Austin Distributor Federation. It had 3,000 staff and four assembly plants.

  38. The Self-Changing Gears plant in the Lythalls Lane Coventry.
    Also Standard-Triumph had a long association with Australian Motor Industries in Port Melbourne, Australia building various cars all the way up to the 2000/2500 saloons.

  39. Wasn’t there a foundry in Wellingborough that made engine castings for the TR7 and SD1 that closed in 1981 when the TR7 was cancelled?
    However, the map does burst one urban myth that some people believed courtesy of a Madness song, that Morris Minors were made in a factory by the Tyne. BMC never owned any factories in Tyneside.

  40. Very good, I presume some plants for assembling CKD kits were owned separately.

    Wasn’t there a factory at Bathgate for building large diesel engines?

  41. I lived in Coventry for six weeks round the corner from Canley ( 1990 time). Obviously what was the Triumph assembly works had gone and become an MFI and a huge field by then, but Rover still had their design office and headquarters at Canley on a site shared with Unipart. Other vehicle factories that were still extant in the city that I saw were Massey Ferguson in nearby Tile Hill, Peugeot Talbot at Ryton and Stoke( the Stoke plant still had a Humber sign), Jaguar Daimler at Browns Lane and Radford, Carbodies in Coundon, Alvis on Holyhead Rd, and Jaguar’s design centre in Whitley.

  42. 9 miles from me is the former Leyland National Plant in Lillyhall, Workington, which is now partly used as a warehouse( I worked there in the nineties after the factory became a warehouse). When the bus factory was opened in Workington in 1970, it was part of a huge government project to build factories to replace the dying West Cumberland coalfield. At its height in the seventies, the factory employed 600 staff.

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