Worcestershire can proudly boast that it is the home of the British motor industry.
Worcestershire can proudly boast that it is the home of the British motor industry. Barely three years after Karl Benz had built the world’s first motorcar, the Santler brothers developed their internal combustion engine-powered four wheeler in Malvern. It was the start of something big, and although the Santler brothers never saw success in the motor industry, the county was the site of some of the biggest motor manufacturers in the UK and still is a major motorsport centre with the hill climb speed trial at Shelsley Walsh being run from 1905 to the present day.
Herbert Austin’s factory at Longbridge was in the county until 1911, when the area became part of the city of Birmingham. Worcestershire can still claim a motor industry, with the Morgan still being built in traditional ways by skilled craftsmen in Malvern. The county also has numerous Formula One and motorsport connections.
Lord Nuffield, the founder of Morris and MG, was born plain old William Richard Morris in a terraced house in Worcester. Together with Lord Austin he built up the two largest motor manufacturers in Britain, which combined in the 1950s to become the British Motor Company.
Martin Watts, author of Classic Camper Vans, tells the story of the county that made Britain’s motoring industry.