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Pictures from the Heritage Trust Archives

Armstrong Siddeley in Advertising

As 1908 turned to1909, despite the healthy sales of the Wolseley-Siddeley products, the Board became extremely worried about the continuing profitability of the company. This coincided with the death of Tom Vickers and the assumption of control by his brother Albert, who was determined that the company should pay a dividend to its shareholders. The Wolseley Board concluded that to achieve the required funds, overheads should be reduced. The best way to achieve this would be to close the Crayford works, so ceasing production of the taxies and other commercial vehicles.

Lionel de Rothschild and John Siddeley strongly disagreed but were outnumbered. After some heated discussions John resigned in the spring of 1909 and was soon followed by Lionel resigning from the Wolseley Tool and Motor Company board, although he still maintained his connections with Vickers, through his family interests. Despite closing the Crayford works and continuing to use the Wolseley-Siddeley name till 1911 the company went into a slow decline.

In the period picture above John Siddeley is portrayed by the caricaturist Alick Ritchie, dwarfed by the colossus which he created - Wolseley- Siddeley. The original of this sketch is now in the care of the Heritage Trust.

John Siddeley moved on to Deasy Motors which as we will see became Siddeley-Deasy and would evolve in time into the Armstrong Siddeley name with which we are familiar. Based on product reputation the buying public followed the Siddeley name.

Meanwhile William Morris, of Oxford, whom we mentioned last week, progressed into what would prove to be a very successful car manufacturing business in his own right. Introducing the market to the first Morris car in March of 1913. As time passed and the Wolseley Motor company reached near bankruptcy it was taken over by Morris Motors in 1926.

Coincidentally William Morris at this time sent a letter of congratulations to John Siddeley concerning the 18hp Armstrong Siddeley Car.


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