If you owned a bike in the 1980s or before in the UK, it was probably British-made. If you own one today, most likely it’s made abroad.
My 1980s Falcon racing bike was made in England. It is superb quality and a rides like a dream despite its age. Falcon Cycles is still going. The company owns and sometimes uses a number of different former British bicycle brands including Elswick, Hopper, Holdsworth (the Holdsworth brand is also used by Far East manufacturer Planet X Bikes), Falcon (once the second largest bicycle manufacturer in the UK after Raleigh; the factory in Barton-on-Humber closed in the mid-1980s and production was moved to nearby Brigg; in 2006 Falcon ceased UK production entirely, but by this time only a few high end bikes were being assembled in the UK by Falcon and most Falcon bikes were already being made abroad, since about 2002), British Eagle, Coventry Eagle (also previously a motorcycle manufacturer), Townsend, Wearwell and Claud Butler. The same company (Tandem) now owns Dawes cycles (the Dawes factory in Tyseley, Birmingham closed down in around 1990 and production was moved to the Far East) too. Like Raleigh Cycles, Falcon and Dawes (Tandem) do not make bikes in the UK nowadays, all their bicycles now being foreign made.
British made airplanes, tanks, ships, aero engines, helicopters, trains, tractors, construction machinery, JCBs, London taxis, buses, coaches, specialist vehicles, coach-builders vans, lorries (trucks), ice cream vans, caravans, motorhomes, campervans, cars, and related products.
I’m not sure if many commercial planes are made in the UK now. Military ones are made by companies like BAE (who have brought companies like Vickers and Alvis*; BEA Systems is the combination of British Aerospace (BAe) and Marconi Electronic Systems ( MES)). They also build tanks and ships. Rolls Royce still make aero engines in the UK. Westland (now Agusta Westland) still make Helicopters in the UK. Wings for Airbus are still made in the UK (owned by EADS – European Aeronautic Defence and Space Company). American company Lockheed Martin also make military equipment in the UK including I think things like tanks, helicopters and armoured vehicles. Swift Aircraft was founded in 2004 and hopes to make a new light training and aerobatic aeroplane n the UK by the end of 2018.
Also building aircraft in the UK are BJJR building the Bulldog autogyro (possibly made in Britain; they don’t really say on their website), C.M. Microlights of Norfolk (possibly made in Britain; they don’t really say on their website) who in 2017 suspended production, Medway Microlights who say on their website they hope to commence production on-site at Medway Microlights of Rochester of a microlight aircraft, ProAirsport Limited / Go Fly Aircraft who hope to produce a Microlight Aeroplane which will be built in the UK, P&M Aviation (Mainair Sports / Pegasus Aviation) microlight aircraft of Manton, Marlborough, Wiltshire (possibly made in Britain; they don’t really say on their website), and EuroFOX which is a microlight aircraft assembled in the UK. TAG Paramotor Dealers UK say on their Google summary “our paramotors are hand built in Yorkshire to the highest standards using Minari 180CC engines and Sunglider wings” – a Paramotor is the generic name for the harness and propulsive portion of a powered paraglider – unfortunately (as of 9 Feb 2018) their website is not working so I was not able to ascertain any more information about this company.
Vertigo Covers Ltd aircraft covers are made in the UK. They say on their website “Our factory and office are based in the south of the UK. With in-house production and design we proudly export all over the world.” GA aircraft covers, moveable aircraft hangers, canopy gloves, glider covers, helicopter covers commercial aircraft covers, business jet covers, blimp covers, military aircraft covers, inflatable shelters and wind socks – http://vertigocovers.co.uk
The last train and tube train maker is apparently foreign owned Bombardier and it seems they are in trouble (is this because the UK government buys trains from Germany?), although Japanese company Hitachi will be making or at least assembling trains at a factory in Newton Aycliffe near Darlington from 2016 it seems. Bombardier also make executive jets and aircraft engine casings in Northern Ireland, the Canadian aerospace firm having purchases the world’s first aircraft manufacturer, Short Brothers in Belfast, from the government in 1989. As of February 2016 Bombardier in Northern Ireland is looking to cut at least 1,000 jobs and ship much production to seemingly cheaper locations in the developing world. Bombardier already have factories in Mexico and Morocco.
The above film was mostly filmed in 1990 at London’s Embankment station, showing the northbound Northern Line platform. Additional scenes date from 2013 and were taken on both Central Line platforms at Bank station. The northbound platform of the Northern Line at Embankment is the only station in the system using the old “Mind the Gap!” announcement by Oswald Laurence, recorded over 40 years ago (in the late 1960s or early 1970s), following its reinstatement in 2013. Several voices have been used over the years, most famously that of Peter Lodge, the voice of the first announcements in the late 1960s.
The MOD has recently (September 2014) ordered 589 Scout Specialist Vehicles (SV) from American company General Dynamics. These medium weight armoured personnel carriers are essentially variants of off-the-shelf vehicles made for the Spanish and Austrian military. The development of Scout SV involves about 24 UK and other European based suppliers, including Lockheed Martin UK, Thales UK, Raytheon UK, Barco, BEA Systems and ViaSat. It has been suggested that about 80% of the vehicle manufacture will be completed in the UK. There’s a further article about production here.
Britten-Norman, the UK’s only independent civil aircraft manufacturer, has been producing aircraft continuously for a period spanning six decades, although also have a factory in Romania and I am not sure how much production actually happens in the UK – http://www.britten-norman.com
The longest aircraft in the world has been unveiled at an airfield in Cardington, England, from where the great airships of the 1920s flew. Originally developed for the US military, the 300ft (91m) helium-filled hybrid Airlander project was scrapped owing to budget cuts. Now the giant aircraft is being brought back to life by a British company which plans to build hundreds of the environmentally friendly craft for passengers and cargo – http://www.hybridairvehicles.com
A small formerly British company called Ascenta in Somerset, which was purchased by Facebook in 2014, is producing, amongst other things, large drones which it is hoped will fly at high altitudes to bring internet connectivity to remote areas – http://www.andrewcoxltd.com
DroneX of Bristol make Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) or drones. They don’t mention country of origin on their website but they appear to have their own workshop so their products may be UK made and they have told one of my contributors, Rob, that their drones are made in the UK, so it would be worth asking if you are interested – http://dronex.co.uk
Tractors are still made in the UK by companies like New Holland. New Holland make tractors all over the world. Their plant in Basildon opened in 1964 and has produced more than 1.8 million tractors and over 3.1 million engines.
David Brown no longer make tractors. Following financial difficulties their tractor business was sold off in 1972, together with their car making businesses Aston Martin and Lagonda. David Brown still make gears for tanks and the like (there’s a good history of David Brown on the I’m from Yorkshire website). David Brown now have 7 factories across 5 continents (as well as various joint operations and outsourcing) in South Africa, Australia, China, Canada, India, France, and the UK, so all production does not take place in the UK.
I don’t know of any other UK tractor makers, except JCB. JCB make all sorts of construction machinery and have production facilities in the UK and elsewhere. In every corner of the world you’ll find a JCB machine. JCB is one of the world’s top three manufacturers of construction equipment. JCB’s world headquarters is in Staffordshire. Possibly Translift Bendi have moved some of their forklift production to the UK according to the Birmingham Post (March 2013).
Many London taxi cabs are made by Manganese Bronze Holdings these days and they have a factory in Coventry and (as a joint venture) another in Shanghai, China – for the moment then it seems Black Cabs in London are made in the UK and their other Black Cabs across the world are made in China. See my comments below on the October 2012 bankruptcy of Manganese Bronze. Manganese Bronze, maker of London “black cabs” for more than six decades, was sold to Geely, adding another well known European brand to the private Chinese carmaker that already owns Volvo. The Chinese company, which was Manganese Bronze’s largest creditor, has said it will continue to assemble the company’s TX4 model at the Manganese Bronze plant in Coventry. The company is now called the London EV Company Limited (LEVC; formerly The London Taxi Corporation Limited trading as The London Taxi Company and formerly part of Manganese Bronze Holdings and and formerly named Carbodies Limited). Directly before the existing, smaller, TX4 the company produced the iconic FX4. The Austin FX4 is a taxicab that was produced from 1958 until 1997. It was sold by Austin from 1958 until 1982, when Carbodies, who had been producing the FX4 for Austin (British Motor Corporation/British Leyland), took over and they produced it until 1997. In 2015 Geely announced plans to build a new £250 million plant for the London Taxi Company in Ansty Park near Coventry, with production planned to start at the new site in 2017. The London Taxi Company’s (LTC) Ansty Park site in Coventry is the home of its new electric taxi, the TX5 and was opened in March 2017. The existing Holyhead Road premises in Coventry will become a paint shop once the production of the existing TX4 taxi ends. The company also announced that a second vehicle will also be built – an electric light commercial van. The TX5 taxi is a hybrid electric vehicle and is being introduced from early 2018 with the first delivery having been made in in February 2018.
Metro Cammell Weymann introduced the MCW Metrocab in 1987. Metro Cammell Weymann (MCW) was once a major contributor in transportation manufacturing in the UK, making buses (including bus chassis), double-decker buses, mini-buses, and Metrocab taxis, until being broken up and sold off its then owners Laird Group. Reliant (see below) owned Metrocab taxis from 1989 and production was moved to Tamworth until Reliant collapsed in 1991 and ownership of Metrocab passed to Hooper & Co (Hooper & Co. was a British coachbuilding company, now defunct) and from 2001 to Kamkorp who continued production until 2006. Prince Philip used to have a green Metrocab taxi which he used to get around London, sometimes driving it himself. Kamkorp re-started production of Metrocabs in 2014 on a trail basis under the brand name Ecotive and they are now hybrid petrol-electric vehicles. Ecotive Metrocab describe their taxis as “designed and engineered in Britain”. The new 2014+ Metrocab has the look of an iconic London taxi and in 2016 Ecotive said “the Metrocab electric vehicle … will be manufactured in Coventry”. As of February 2018 production has not yet started. The 2014 Metrocab will be manufactured by Canadian company Multimatic at an expanded plant in Ansty Park near Coventry.
Buses and coaches are still made in the UK by companies like Alexander Dennis (who also own Plaxtons), Optare and Wrightbus (who are making the new “routemaster” for London). Plaxton of Scarborough, founded in 1907, became part of the Alexander Dennis Group in 2007. They still have a manufacturing site in Scarborough where they make Plaxton coaches and Alexander Dennis Enviro buses. Alexander Dennis Limited (ADL) of Scotland encompasses three famous and successful marques – Alexander, Dennis and Plaxton. They have manufacturing facilities in the UK, Asia and North America. Wrightbus is a Northern Irish coachbuilder established in 1946 who also make their own chassis as well as buying them in. Optare make buses in the UK and are owned by Ashok Leyland (an Indian commercial vehicle and military vehicle manufacturer’ formerly part of Leyland Motors) who are themselves part of the Indian London based Hinduja Group. The Leyland logo continues to be used by Ashok Leyland in the sub-continent.
Many well known British coach builders making buses and coaches have closed down. Historically, Leyland Motors was a major manufacturer of buses, double decker buses, London double decker buses, and coaches used in the United Kingdom and worldwide. Leyland Bus became part of Volvo Buses in 1988, with the name disappearing in 1993 (and the closure of the Workington factory where Leyland buses were built) and the remaining factory in Irvine, Scotland closed in 2000. Volvo production is now in Sweden, Belgium, France, and Poland with no production in the UK. As far as I am aware DAF (Leyland Trucks) no longer make buses. Bristol (see below) no longer make buses as far as I am aware. Thomas Harrington & Sons Ltd was a coachbuilder in the county of Sussex from 1897 until 1966. Although not technically a part of the Rootes Group (see below), the Thomas Harrington operations were owned by a Rootes family investment company from sometime post-war and In 1965 it was decided to close the factory. Production ceased in April 1966 after which Plaxton purchased spares, stock in trade and goodwill. Crossley Motors was a British motor vehicle manufacturer based in Manchester, England who produced cars, buses and goods and military vehicles from 1903. They were taken over by AEC and production at the Crossley factories ended in 1958. AEC was a British vehicle manufacturer which built buses, motorcoaches and lorries from 1912 until 1979. The abbreviation stood for Associated Equipment Company, but this name was hardly ever used; instead it traded under the AEC and ACLO brands. While famously associated with London’s AEC Routemaster buses (they were one of a number of companies who made the famous hop-on-hop-off red London buses), AEC supplied commercial vehicles to many companies, both domestically and around the world. Leyland Motors Ltd acquired ACV in 1962, closing the company down entirely by 1979.
As for lorries, ERF have been brought by MANN and manufacturing moved to Germany, Foden have gone (integrated with Leyland Trucks), Saxon (the fire engine makers) have gone, Scammell have gone. AEC became part of British Leyland who closed them down entirely by 1979 (see above). Dennis specialist vehicles became part of Alexander Dennis (see above) and no longer make fire engines and the like. Dennis Bus and Dennis Fire were incorporated into Transbus International (now Alexander Dennis) in 2001. A newer John Dennis Coachbuilders make fire trucks using a number of different foreign made chassis in England. Dennis Eagle the manufacturer of dustcarts/refuse vehicles, incorporating the remains of Eagle Engineering and Shelvoke and Drewry, is now owned by the Terberg Res Rosa Group of the Netherlands and appears to still manufacture bin lorries in the Midlands. Bedford has gone but General Motors (IBC Vehicles) still make Opel/Vauxhall branded vans in Luton, England – now French owned Vauxhall currently still make the Vivaro van in Luton. Leyland Trucks remain (owned by American truck maker PACCAR, they still have a factory in Leyland, Lancashire), and sell under the name DAF. DAF manufactures its trucks in factories in Eindhoven (the Netherlands), Westerlo (Belgium), Leyland (the United Kingdom) and Ponta Grossa (Brasil). DAF is a Dutch company Van Doorne’s Aanhangwagen Fabriek (Van Doorne’s Trailer Factory), abbreviated to DAF. DAF LF or a right-hand drive XF and CF lorries manufactured in the UK at the Leyland factory. Leyland DAF came about in 1987 as joint venture between British Leyland/Rover and DAF of the Netherlands forming DAF NV. Following the insolvency of DAF NV in 1993, four new companies emerged through management buyouts; LDV Limited as a van manufacturer in Birmingham (LDV Group Limited, formerly Leyland DAF Vans, went bankrupt in 2009 with the machinery being shipped out to China); Multipart Solutions Limited which was formed out of the firms parts company based in Chorley, Lancashire and is still going today; Leyland Trucks of Leyland, Lancashire; and DAF Trucks of Eindhoven in the Netherlands – the latter two coming together again following their purchase by American company Paccar.
Whitby Morrison (formerly S.C. Cummins) – manufacturer of ice cream vans, trucks, trailers, kiosks and tricycles and supplier of soft ice cream machinery and spares, and who have bodied just about every single ice-cream ever used in the UK apparently, are still going. Mostly they convert Mercedes and Fords
(Ford Transit vans are still made in the UK I think) into ice cream vans. Alloy Bodies Manchester is a firm which makes bodies for vans and trucks, ranging in size from three to 32 tonnes, for example bodies for furniture vans, car transporters, horse boxes and rental trucks. Plowman Brothers livestock trucks & tractor towed trailers are made in the UK. Global Vehicle Trust intend to make their flat-pack Ox truck in Britain with it then being able to be built up quickly and easily in emerging markets or other markets. They are currently seeking funding to take their concept forward. Ford no longer make their Transit vans in the UK.
Made in Britain Cars
Car models to consider if you want to buy British
“The automotive industry accounts for around 11% of all UK exports and on average produces 1.5 million cars and commercial vehicles and more than 205 million engines every year.
This is a global industry investing on a large scale in UK manufacturing. In 2011 global manufacturers announced investments in new models and expansion of existing facilities worth more than £4 billion.” [The AA Made in Britain – also see Which Cars are Actually Made in the UK].
* Alvis – Red Triangle / The Alvis Car Company, following an agreement between the company and BAe, resumed production in the UK, of the Alvis 4.3 Litre model (referred to as the “Continuation Series”) in 2011. I don’t know much about the company (or indeed if it is still British owned) and prices are not given (I suspect they cost quite a bit!), but it is good to read that Alvis is back. More info on Wikipedia, and here and here.
Great British Sports Cars (GBS) in Nottingham is one of the UK’s leading kit car manufacturers, manufacturing Lotus Seven style cars. They say on their website “Great British Sports Cars has a complete in-house manufacturing and design facility…” – http://www.greatbritishsportscars.co.uk
David Brown Automotive – despite the name, unconnected with David Brown / Aston Martin / Lagonda / David Brown tractors – seemingly British owned and made, although I am not clear if they are actually being made yet – again very exclusive cars that I have not seen – possibly one model, the Speedback, has been made.
Ariel Motor Company Ltd is a low-volume performance motor vehicle manufacturing company in Crewkerne, in Somerset, England. They appear to manufacture and assemble in the UK, using foreign made engines. Current models are the Atom car, the Nomad car and the Ace motorcycle. According to Wikipedia, the original Ariel Motors remains as the trading company of the Ariel Owners Motorcycle Club (AOMCC).
Ariel Motorcycles was a British motorcycle manufacturer based in Bournbrook, Birmingham, which became part of BSA in 1951 but the Ariel brand survived until 1967. The last motorcycle-type vehicle to carry the Ariel name was a short-lived 3-wheel tilting moped launched in 1970 by BSA. Ariel had made bicycles before making motorcycles, and had also made automobiles. The ‘Ariel’ name was reused in 1999 for the formation of Ariel Ltd, a sports car producer mentioned above.
Made in Britain
The following companies build cars in Britain, but are not UK owned.
Bristol Cars Ltd » Now Indian owned. Car production is currently halted but a new model is under apparently development and the company continue to restore old Bristol cars. The company used to make trams, aircraft, taxis and buses, as well as cars. The production of Bristol buses and lorries ended in 1983. At one point they owned British sports car company Frazer Nash. Frazer Nash, founded in 1922, made their own sports cars and cars under the Frazer Nash BMW brand and the Frazer Nash Porsche brand with Porsche eventually buying the company in 1987 who of course closed it down. There is a comprehensive history of Bristol vehicles on the company website. Following bankruptcy in 2011 the name was purchased by Kamkorp, which also owns Frazer-Nash Research, now a technology manufacturer of electric power systems. The Kamkorp Group, as well as owning Bristol Cars and Fraser-Nash, also own Metrocab (taxis – see above) and Metrail (mass transit systems).
Caterham Cars Ltd – owned by a Malaysian businessman. In October 2014 the Caterham motor racing team went into administration last month. The Caterham Group, which comprises two technology companies as well as the car manufacturing arm, is not in administration.
Mini – built in Cowley, Oxford, but owned by BMW in Germany. German company BMW now own the Mini name. Engines for the BMW Mini are now produced in Birmingham, whilst body pressings are made in Swindon and the Mini Hatch/Hardtop, Clubman, Convertible, Coupe and Roadster are assembled at BMW’s Plant Oxford in Cowley, England, and the Countryman and Paceman are assembled by Magna Steyr in Austria. The Countryman is also assembled in India specifically of the Indian market and in Malaysia and Thailand. Electric-powered Mini cars will be built in China for the local Chinese market following a deal when BMW announced a deal with Chinese manufacturer Great Wall Motor to make them there.
Honda build the Civic, CRV and Jazz (from autumn 2009) in Swindon.
Nissan build the Juke, Qashqai, Note and LEAF in Sunderland.
Lotus in Norfolk are Malaysian owned.
Aston Martin in Gaydon, Warwickshire are owned by two Kuwaiti companies – Investment Dar and Adeem Investments.
* In Oct 2013, Land Rover announced that production would end on Dec 20, 2015, after a continuous run of 67 years. The firm has said the decision to cease Land Rover Defender production was “mainly legislation based” (it seems unlikely that is true main reason) but there are rumours that production is moving overseas. There is also talk of a replacement model. James May talks a bit about the demise of the Land Rover and I think it will be a sad loss. British Family discuss the gradual move by Tata to producing these iconic British Land Rovers and Jaguars abroad; some production has already moved to China and sadly the Indian company plans to move further production abroad to Brazil, Austria and Slovakia. The Defender was already assembled in Pakistan, Malaysia and South Africa for those markets.
Ibex is a specialist off-road vehicle, ready-built or supplied as a kit to build with donor parts from a Land Rover Defender on a monocoque chassis. Ibex are converted in the Hexham, Northumberland, United Kingdom by Foers Engineering Ltd. Their tagline is Tough trucks from Yorkshire. What is happening with Ibex now Land Rover have stopped production of the Defender I don’t know. There are an array of UK manufacturers making pattern parts for L/R and as FOERS use higher spec parts than L/R, they usually source from these suppliers, so I am told they should be able continue – http://www.ibexf8.com
Bowler Motorsports produce racing and high performance all terrain vehicles, used in events such as the Dakar Rally (which, whilst it used to be a race from Paris to Dakar in Senegal, confusingly is now a race held in South America). Founded in 1985 Bowler Motorsports website carries the words “Proudly made in Derbyshire, Great Britain”. All Bowler vehicles use Land Rover parts and they say “all Bowler parts are made in the UK…” Their vehicles are based on Land Rover Defenders, the Land Rover Discovery and the Range Rover. What is happening with Bowler now Land Rover have stopped production of the Defender I don’t know. There are an array of UK manufacturers making pattern parts for L/R and so I am told they should be able continue. I suspect foreign made parts are used in their vehicles too – http://www.bowlermotorsport.com
MG Motors at Longbridge, Birmingham – owned by SAIC of China.
Vauxhall Motors was part of USA company General Motors (which owned parent company Opel based in Germany) and build Astras at Ellesmere Port and the Vivaro van in Luton. From 2016 some Luton-built Vivaro have Made in Britain badging.
From August 2017 Vauxhall / Opel became part of the French company Groupe PSA / Peugeot Citroën, who also own former British made car brands of the former Rootes Group including Hillman, Humber, Singer, Sunbeam, Talbot, Commer and Karrier acquired through the purchase by Peugeot Citroën of former US companies Chrysler UK and Chrysler Europe who had purchased Rootes. The Rootes factories have all been closed. Currently Groupe PSA / Vauxhall are maintaining production of the Astra and the Vivaro van in the UK. The Bedford trucks and vans brand is no longer used. India’s iconic Ambassador car brand was sold also to Peugeot in 2017. Based on the British Morris Oxford, the Ambassador was for many years India’s bestselling car, although production stopped in 2014.
Ford stopped passenger car production in the UK in 2002 and Transit production in Southampton in July 2013 but continues to manufacture engines in Bridgend and Dagenham and transmissions in Halewood.
Reliant no longer build cars – the Robin was transferred to a company called B&N Plastics in Suffolk, but although they supply parts, no Robins are being manufactured at the moment. The Bond Bug transferred to Reliant following their purchase of Bond Cars in 1969 but production stopped in 1974. Reliant was best known for producing the 3-wheeled Reliant Robin, but also produced sports cars such as the Reliant Scimitar, convertibles and commercial vehicles. Reliant also owned Metrocab taxis (see above) from 1989 and production was moved to Tamworth until Reliant collapsed in 1991 and ownership of Metrocab passed to Hooper & Co and from 2001 to Kamkorp who have re-started production. The last Reliant was produced in 2001. Reliant Motor Company Ltd is now a dormant company and the only part that still exists is Reliant Partsworld which produces spares for Reliant vehicles. Reliant PartsWorld Ltd own all the original tooling, jigs and fixtures to produce spare parts for Reliant vehicles.
There are rumours of Peels being made again at some point (also see http://wp.me/p2KOue-6g) by a newly formed company, called Peel Engineering Ltd based in England (not to be confused with the original Peel Engineering Company from the Isle of Man). Currently they appear to be only making an electric 10mph replica – http://www.peelengineering.co.uk
Andy Carter of Bamby Cars has also been building exact Peel P50 replicas in his workshops since the early 1980s and for a while made a new 3-wheeler micro car called the Bamby in Hull. Following bankruptcy the company was re-established in 2011 by Andy and his daughter Emma, this time manufacturing mini micro scale replicas of the German Messerschmitt (Schmitt) micro cars, as well as still making road legal P50s. In future they hope to make scale replicas of the Isetta bubble car (Isetta bubble cars were originally made under licence in Spain, Germany, Belgium, Brazil, France and Great Britain) and a road legal Peel Trident – http://minimicros.wix.com/bamby-home#!
Solo Rail Solutions in Birmingham manufacture key components, rail interiors and doors for the rail sector in the UK. They use the Made in Britain marque. Founded in 1992, they make litter bins, sand hoppers, brackets, ceilings, advert panels, heater kits, carriage cubicles, doors, grab handles, ducts, panels, etc for new build, refurbishment and retro- fit rail clients – http://solorail.com
Unipart Dorman manufacture rail and road traffic management products such as LED signals and solutions for all aspects of railway signalling, traffic management solutions, hazard warning lamps and vehicle activated signs. They use the Made in Britain marque. Unipart Dorman are part of Unipart Rail (who offer supply chain services, and repairs) and part of the Unipart Group, who manufacture abroad as well as in the UK. Unipart were originally part of the state-owned conglomerate British Leyland and are a household name in car parts and accessories originally making service parts for British Leyland vehicles. The company appears to maintain some manufacturing facilities in the UK, although I am not sure if they still manufacture Unipart parts for old British Leyland cars and manufacturing of Unipart parts appears to be done by a third party following the bankruptcy of Unipart Automotive in 2014. Unipart supply exhaust systems, power train components, fuel systems, heat exchangers, and products for the motorsports industry. They say they have a “commitment to localised UK manufacture” and have around 1,000 suppliers, the majority of which are UK based – http://www.unipartdorman.co.uk
The closure of the British Motoring Corporation (BMC) and its successors (including British Leyland) in 2005 meant the end of mass car production by British-owned manufacturers and the loss or move to foreign ownership of many well known marques (as well as the best-selling mini which is now owned by BMW) including amongst others: Wolseley; Lanchester; Leyland Motors (commercial vehicles, buses and trolley buses) – Leyland Trucks now belongs to American truck manufacturer PACCAR and still make trucks in the UK (which are sold under the DAF name) – Leyland Bus has now gone. The Leyland logo continues to be used by Ashok Leyland (commercial and military vehicle maker) in the sub-continent. Ashok Leyland are now owned by London based Indian company Hinduja and they also own bus maker Optare who make buses in the UK; Daimler; Riley; Standard Motor Company; Rover; Austin; Morris; Vanden Plas; Alvis (which as a military equipment maker was eventually acquired by BAE – car production stopped in 1965); MG (created by Morris and now owned by the Chinese SIAC – Shanghai Automotive Industry Corporation); Triumph (Triumph Motor Cycles is now a separate company and still going); Jaguar (Indian owned); Land Rover (Indian owned); Austin-Healey (created by Austin); Scammell; Bristol Commercial Vehicles; Coventry Climax; Eastern Coach Works; Leyland Tractors; LDV (formerly Leyland DAF Vans); Marshall Tractors. Unipart continue on a smaller scale – see above. The Pressed Steel name is no longer used. German company BMW now own the Mini name. Engines for the BMW Mini are now produced in Birmingham, whilst body pressings are made in Swindon and the Mini Hatch/Hardtop, Clubman, Convertible, Coupe and Roadster are assembled at BMW’s Plant Oxford in Cowley, England, and the Countryman and Paceman are assembled by Magna Steyr in Austria. The Countryman is also assembled in India specifically of the Indian market and in Malaysia and Thailand.
Lucas Industries plc was a well known Birmingham-based British manufacturer of motor industry and aerospace industry components, particularly well know for its aftermarket parts for motor vehicles. The name continues to be used under licence but as far as I know all their Uk factories have now closed down and none of their products are British made.
Sunseeker motor yachts are manufactured in Poole, England. in 2013 Sunseeker International were taken over by Chinese property and entertainment conglomerate Dalian Wanda Group, but as far as I am aware production still takes place in Dorset for the moment at least – http://www.sunseeker.com/en
Green Marine say on their website that they have a state-of-the-art composite production facility is based in the Hythe Marine Park near Southampton, UK. Their core business is building custom racing yachts, high performance superyachts and lightweight components in carbon fibre composites. According to a couple of sites they also built the The Trent-class lifeboat currently operated by the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) which were then fitted out by FBM Marine (FBM Marine (Fairey Marine) of Southampton was purchased by Babcock (see below) in 2000. FBM Babcock Marine Ltd as they then became know seem to have gone now. The associated Fairey Aviation Company, an aircraft builder, was taken over by Westland Aircraft in 1960) and Souter Marine (Souter Marine of the Isle of White went bankrupt in 2004). In 2010 Dutch shipyard yacht building company Vitters Group acquired ownership Green Marine – http://www.greenmarine.co.uk
Babcock International Ltd has been involved in making boilers, the development of the UK’s nuclear power stations, ship building, rail, dockyard management and more. In the 2000s they appear to have moved away from manufacturing towards support services. Whether they have any manufacturing capability left I am not sure but possibly they do – https://www.babcockinternational.com
Fletcher was established in the late 1950’s and remains one of the few volume producing boat companies in the UK. Built in Britain you can actually go to the factory and see your boat being built. They say on their website “Almost everything is produced in house or sourced locally” and “Fletcher are proud to be a British manufacturer of speed boats…” – http://www.fletcher-boats.co.uk
Henshaw Inflatables Ltd make inflatable tubes / collars for the inflatable boat building industry, as well as other inflatable products, including self righting bags, inflatable fenders, and inflatable sea pools. Their products are made in the UK – http://www.henshaw.co.uk
Ifor Williams Trailers Ltd, established in 1958, say they “are Britain’s largest manufacturer of trailers up to 3500kg gross weight”, manufacturing trailers including livestock, horsebox, general duty, tipper, plant, flatbed, boxvan trailers, car transporters, horsebox containers and pick-up canopies. Some manufacturing appears to take place at their three sites in North Wales and they purchase parts used from other companies. Quite how much of their products is British made I don’t know, but some might be or their products are at least assembled in the UK – http://www.iwt.co.uk
Graham Edwards Trailers are trailer manufacturers with a factory near York. Founded in 1985, they make livestock, flatbed trailers, general purpose, tipping, tractor drawn and bespoke trailers. The company also do contract work for other companies, for example they manufacture some parts for Barefoot Caravans – https://edwards-trailers.co.uk
The TUG (by Tugco / Top Tugger) is a British made caravan, motorsport, festival, camping, boat, horse box trailer manual moving device/dolly that clips together for storage or transport – http://www.tugco.co.uk
AMG Engineering (Tractor Spare Parts Ltd.) manufactures & supplies obsolete parts and accessories for tractors including fenders, doors, window frames & cab fittings for pre-1990’s tractors. Their in-house made parts are made in the UK – http://www.tractorspareparts.co.uk
“RT Quaife Engineering Ltd is a global leader in the performance automotive drivetrain industry, supplying motorsport users, volume OEM and commercial customers with a wide variety of precision engineered products for cars, motorcycles and specialist use vehicles.” They have two factories in Kent, England – http://quaife.co.uk
Triumph Motorcycles have six factories. Two of these factories are based in Hinckley in the UK, three are in Chonburi, Thailand and one is n Manaus, Brazil. So, SOME Triumph motorbikes are made or at least assembled in the UK. It is not clear how (or even if) you can tell where a particular Triumph bike was assembled and where the parts were made.
Norton Motorcycles are now being build it the Norton factory at Donington Park in Leicestershire apparently. According to British Family “Norton state that at the moment, 83% of parts for their bikes are made in this country… which is actually a very impressive figure.”
Métisse Motorcycles (also TS Composites; custom glass fibre and carbon fibre parts) is a motorcycle manufacturer based in Carswell near Faringdon, Oxfordshire, England. The firm originally closed in 1980 but has since been resurrected and they still manufacture in England. Currently they appear to be making the Métisse Steve McQueen Desert Racer, the Métisse Hammer Mk 3, and the Métisse Mk 5 range. There is also a German company with the same name but they do not appear connected – http://www.metisse-motorcycles.com
Gladstone Motorcycles is a bespoke British motorcycle brand building limited production runs of motorcycles, using a Triumph engine and a Metisse designed frame. Everything is handmade, from the leather saddles to the wheels. They also make bicycles – http://www.gladstonemotorcycles.com
It could be the case that the Ariel Ace motorcycle is named after the famous Ace Cafe on the North Circular Road in London. The Ace Cafe has been a transport cafe since 1938, and is a popular hangout for rockers, bikers and petrolheads generally. The Ace Cafe originally operated from 1938 until 1969 when it closed; it then re-opened on the original site in 1997. Ace Cafe sell a few British made items via their online shop, for example some leather pouches, classic tax holders, Lewis leather jackets, Irvin flying jackets by Aviation Leathercraft, various metal badges, the Ace Cafe London ring, necktubes, the Ace Cafe London Pure Silk Scarf, a Sterling Silver Belcher Chain, and their Submariner Jumper – http://www.ace-cafe-london.com
Brough Superior motorcycles, sidecars, and motor cars were made by George Brough in his Brough Superior works on Haydn Road in Nottingham, England, from 1919 to 1940. From 2013 the name was revived for a new motorcycle, but unfortunately for British history and industry it is being made in France. T. E. Lawrence (AKA Lawrence of Arabia) sadly died from injuries sustained when he crashed a Brough Superior motorbike in Dorset.
Old Empire Motorcycles (OEM) build a handful of one off custom bikes annually which all take their names from Great British automotive, aeronautic and maritime history. They say on their website “One of our aims is to design and craft as much as we can entirely in Britain. Working with other British manufacturers play a big part…” and “British Made British Pride” – http://oldempiremotorcycles.com
CCM Motorcycles – Clews Competition Machines or CCM for short, is a British motorcycle manufacturer based in Bolton, England. CCM was born out of the collapse of BSA’s Competition Department in 1971 and revived again in 2004 after ceasing trading at that time. Their factory is in Bolton. They currently produce the GP450 Adventure bike. It has a British made chassis and Taiwanese Kymco engine. Additionally they supply specialised military and police bikes offering bespoke solutions to different manufacturer’s bikes – http://www.ccm-motorcycles.com
Watsonian Squire is a British manufacturer of sidecars and trailers for attachment to motorcycles. According to their Facebook “Founded in 1912 by TF Watson, Watsonian still make Great British sidecars in the Heart of England.” They also sell Royal Enfield motorcycles which are now built in Chennai, India and Ural motorcycles which are made in Russia. The company also do contract work for other companies, for example they manufacture some parts for Barefoot Caravans – http://www.watsonian-squire.com
Britain was once the world’s greatest motorcycle (and cycle) producer, but many top brands like AJS (the AJS brand is now made in China), BSA, Vincent, Royal Enfield, Sunbeam, and Matchless (Matchless London now uses the Matchless name and logo to sell foreign made clothing and accessories and a foreign made motorbike) have now sadly either been sold off or have disappeared.
Hagon Products Ltd (Hagon Shocks), established in 1958, have a little Union Flag icon on their website and may be a British maker of motorcycle shock absorbers, springs and wheels. Very little information is given on their website, but if you need these things it might be worth asking this company where they manufacture – https://www.hagon-shocks.co.uk
K-Tech Suspension Limited specialise in the “design, manufacture, servicing and supply” of motorcycle suspension. They have the words ‘Made in the UK’ and a little Union flag logo at the bottom of the front page of their website. if you need these things it might be worth asking this company where they manufacture what you want – http://www.ktechsuspension.com
Pro-Street Cycles motorcycle clocks, custom parts, and accessories for motorbikes are distributors of foreign made motorbike parts but also a manufacturer of their own custom parts and accessories which are made in the UK. Their UK made accessories include motorcycle billet clocks, grips, covers, shift linkages, oil dipsticks, etc and UK made part are labelled as such on their website. They also own the websites Time4Bikes and Clocks for Cars which sell British made motorcycle clocks and thermometers and British made Clocks that can be fixed almost anywhere you may have need for a clock in a car. The mechanisms in their clocks are made by Seiko abroad.
Knox make motorcycle and mountain biking gear and body armour. Their products are suitable for motorcycling, motocross, mountain biking, snowboarding, skiing and equestrian. For men, women, and children. A few of their products are made in Britain, with the items made in Britain clearly labelled on their website – http://www.planet-knox.com
Haycyon manufacture British made motorcycle goggles in Hertfordshire, England. Haycyon also make motorcycle mirrors and classic car mirrors. Manufactured in the UK and based on the original RAF flying goggle of the 1940′s Halcyon Goggles are a popular choice for use with all styles of open face helmets. Leather or PVC. Wholesale or via their website. Prescription lenses can be accommodated with the Halcyon lens frame by your optician (+6 to -6 lenses) or Halcyon goggles can worn over prescription glasses – http://halcyonclassic.store.buegle.com/index.php/2/
I found Haycycon goggles on the Davida Helmets website. Davida helmets – stylish handmade open face helmets made in England. Davida are now the sole UK manufacturers of open face motorcycle helmets – http://www.davida.co.uk
Stahlkoffer motorcycle panniers, and tailbags are British made. Products which are British made are labelled as such on their website. Some products are foreign made I think – http://www.stahlkoffer.com
Renntec manufacture at least some of its range of motorcycle accessories including Sports Racks, Grab Rails, Luggage Carriers, Cissy Bars, Engine Bars, Radiator Covers, and Motorbike Stands in the UK – http://www.renntec.co.uk
For British made security chains, ground anchors and padlocks for securing motorcycles, quad bikes, bicycles, cars, caravans, boats, trailers and so on, please click here.
Moto-Lita make their classic steering wheels in England. They also own Aviation Leathercraft (Irvin) who say on their website “All of our jackets are made here in England” – http://www.moto-lita.co.uk
Lincon Batteries has a history that goes back to 1908 and has been manufacturing batteries in the Southend area for well over 60 years. “All Lincon’s 6v Hard Rubber Batteries are hand made in Britain, primarily for the Classic Car market.” Lincon Batteries Ltd is a division of Shield Batteries Ltd. Battery Charged Online is the online trading division of Shield Batteries, battery manufacturers and distributors. Shield Batteries has a history that goes back to 1910. Shield classic car batteries are UK made. Other items on the Battery Charged website, except Shield classic car batteries and Lincon classic car batteries, are foreign made.
Puca Ltd make classically styled digital speedometers and tachometers under the brands Smiths, Digital MA and British Gauge. Founded in 2012, their Smiths products are digital replicas of original Smiths instruments, aimed primarily at heritage motorcycles although possibly they do them to fit cars too. All the their products appear to be made in the UK. I am not sure who makes the faces and surrounds, but the electronic internals are made by CAI in South Wales (see below). Puca does not “own” the Smiths brand, which belongs to Smiths Industries (SI) who seemingly are unbothered by the company using their name – http://www.smithsspeedos.co.uk
Caerbont Automotive Instruments Ltd (CAI) is an independent company in South Wales engaged in the design and manufacture of discrete car instruments, instrument clusters, senders, electronic control and interface modules and wiring harnesses for the specialist automotive and industrial markets, for Automotive, Motorcycle, Marine and Industrial customers. CAI has its roots in the Smiths Motor Accessories business, a pioneer in the development of the UK Automotive Industry. In 1984 ownership moved to the Lucas Group and then to VDO before becoming an independent company following a management buyout in 1993. CAI was the subject of a second management buyout in 2011 and has branched out into new markets with new products , including Motorcycle and Marine. CAI is officially licensed by Smiths in the UK and they own the Smiths brand in North America. CAI manufactures a Classic range of traditional Smiths designed instruments based on bourdon tube mechanical and bimetal electrical movements. Smiths were the original Instrument manufacturers. CAI still manufacture some gauges as they were made in the 1950’s. They also manufacture gauges in the same style, but with more modern electronic components. CAI is the oldest established automotive gauge maker in the world, and the UK’s largest independent one. They supply such prestige marquees as Aston Martin, Rolls Royce, Lotus, Caterham, Hitech (of South Africa), Morgan, Ginetta, Noble, Great British Sports Cars, Metisse motorcycles, Brough Superior (a new model being made in France, not the UK), Midual motorcycles (of France), Old Empire Motorcycles, and more, as well as supplying products to rail and industry. CAI was formerly the SMITHS Instrument Company – http://www.caigauge.com
AC Heritage claim “AC Cars are Britain’s oldest car manufactures and have the unique distinction of being in production since 1901”. Production of AC Cars (Auto Carriers Ltd.) stopped at the Thames Ditton site in 1984 and the AC name was licenced to a new company registered as AC (Scotland) and in 1986 the company was sold again. They went bankrupt in 1996 and were sold again, eventually relocating to Malta in 2005, with production ceasing in 2007 or 2008. The result of all this seems to have been a split with 2 companies claiming to now be producing or planning to produce AC Cars today – Accedes Holdings who are making cars branded AC Cars in Germany – and AC Heritage Ltd (Brooklands Motor Company Group) who calling themselves AC cars are planning to return to the UK following the closure of its factory in Malta. Plans are in place to manufacture the AC Ace Mk2 and wider-bodied Mk3 at the AC Heritage and Brooklands Motor Company facility in Weybridge, Surrey (in the meantime they do restorations). There’s also a Ford dealer in East Sussex calling themselves AC Cars but they don’t seem to be claiming to make AC Cars. The AC Owners Club give a short history on their website, which finishes in 2008 with the closure of the Malta factory. It’s a a complex story and not one that I pretend to have a handle on – http://www.acheritage.co.uk/RestorationandNewBuild.html
Founded in 1921 Thomas Meldrum Limited of Sheffield are now known world wide for the “Melco” range of tools and equipment, particularly their car and motorcycle tools, but they also make construction tools. According to an email from the company (on 6/7/14), 99% of their products are still made in Sheffield, England – http://www.thomasmeldrumltd.co.uk
Bisley’s ToolStor heavy duty workshop storage range of tool cabinets, industrial cupboards, workshop cupboards, mobile cabinets and workbenches are as far as I can gather made in the UK, but do check (also the manufacturers of Bisley Office Furniture) – http://www.bisleyworkshop.com
For more British made tools in general, please see http://wp.me/p2KOue-wT
Universal Reflective Door Guards are made in England, but I can’t find any information relating to this manufacturer on the internet, so I don’t know if they are still making these. I got some in December 2016 and they are just the job, fitting well and easily, looking good and high quality. I got mine on eBay.
Some Brightkidz high visibility accessories are made in Britain (those that are, are clearly labelled as such on their website), including a reflective sash for adults and children, some reflective armbands and stickers, key rings, badges, zip clips, reflective tags, lace reflectors, spoke reflectors, snap bands, children’s reflective tabards and waistcoats, book bags, PE bags, duffle bags, and so on – http://www.brightkidz.co.uk
Holts (Holt Lloyd International Limited) car care products continue to be manufactured in the UK. Since 1919, Holts has been a global leader in the manufacture of car care products. Their brands are Holts, Simoniz, Prestone, and Redex. Holts products include Wondarweld, Gun Gum, Romac Tyreweld emergency tyre repair, Radweld, Bradex Easy Start, car cleaning products (car glass wipes, air con cleaner, shampoo and wax), de-icer, screen wash (concentrated or ready to use), and auto spay paint. Simoniz produces interior and exterior car care products to keep your car clean, protected and shining, such as wash, wax and polish, wheel, bumper and tyre cleaners, glass cleaners, and spray paints. Prestone’s UK range includes screen wash, coolant/antifreeze , de-icer and cooling system repair products. I suspect, although I am not sure, that Prestone in North American may remain an entirely separate entity from Holts. Some Prestone products that I have seen though are marked made in EU and I assume these are foreign made. Redex is the UK’s number one fuel additive. Holt Lloyd say on their website “Made in Newquay, Shipped Across the World – Holt Lloyd products are sold across the world, but we’re proud that they’re manufactured here in the UK. Our manufacturing facility in Newquay, Cornwall, produces products for all 4 of our brands to be shipped around the globe. As a UK brand since 1919, it’s important to us that we retain this British heritage. By making products here, we not only ensure we’re part of the UK manufacturing industry, we also employ local staff throughout the supply chain” – https://www.holtsauto.com/holts/
Autoglym, car care and valeting products, holders of Royal Warrants to the Royal households of HM The Queen and HRH Prince of Wales, was founded in 1965 and their products are made in Great Britain. “Autoglym products are manufactured in the UK, in Letchworth ‘The Worlds First Garden City’. From here they are filled, packed and shipped all over the globe from America to Australia and everywhere in between” it says on their website – http://www.autoglym.com
Comma oil in Kent was established in 1965 and taken over by Esso in 1989. Esso became part of the merged ExxonMobil in 1999. Cosan Lubricants – the São Paulo based Mobil licensee in Brazil, Bolivia, Paraguay and Uruguay – purchased Comma from ExxonMobil in 2012. Comma have manufacturing taking place in Gravesend, Kent, although I don’t know if all their products are still made in England. However, some certainly are, such as the automatic transmission fluid pictured below which clearly states Made in Great Britain on the label (whereas their antifreeze and coolant also pictured below does not state it is British made and is therefore probably foreign made) – http://www.commaoil.com
Morris Lubricants has been manufacturing lubricants in Shrewsbury, Shropshire, since 1869 and as far as I can gather still make some or all of their products in the UK (check before buying) – http://www.morrislubricants.co.uk
Tetrosyl Limited is a manufacturer and supplier of car care products and is the “largest independent oil blender in the UK”. Their brands include CarPlan, Triplewax, and T-Cut. Founded in 1954, the company is still manufacturing in the UK. Of their T-Cut they say “In these days of manufacturing decline in the UK we are proud to have been producing T-Cut in Bury, Lancashire since 1954 and will continue this tradition for generations to come to ensure we are very much a part of British Heritage and history. Tetrosyl is a Private and UK owned company.” On their main website they tell us “Tetrosyl’s bulk manufacturing operations are based in Greater Manchester. Bridge Hall and Bevis Green sites cover over 70,000 square meters of production space and the combined sites produce over 2500 product lines and over 61 million units of production continually per annum.” What is not clear is what their mix of British and foreign made products is. For example the ‘Carplan Compact Easy Grip Ice Scraper & Squeegee’ I looked at today (20/1/17) had no country of origin information on the product itself or the packaging and generally country of origin information is not given on their websites. I asked about this particular product and was pleased to hear “Yes I can confirm that the CarPlan Easi-Grip Ice Scraper is made in the UK.” You’ll need to ask if a particular product is still British made – http://www.tetrosyl.com
Linic Plastic Ltd design and make DIY tools, fixings and a huge variety of other injection moulded products. Own brand or branded; off-the-shelf or bespoke. This moulding company have been making their products for over 30 years in Leicestershire, England and because they manufacture in the UK they state that their delivery times and quality are great and their prices very competitive. They make building tools (such as plastering hawks), car windscreen ice scrapers, craft and hobby items (such as work holders and door wedges), cramps, decorating tools (such as scrapers), gardening tools (such as hand trowels and forks), saws and hack saws, knives (of the Stanley knife sort), mitres, tiling tools, wall plugs (rawlplugs), jewellery tools, model building tools, and woodworking tools (including hand drills, oilstone boxes, bradawls, callipers, etc). Linic tools are easily available on eBay, (including in the Proops Brothers ltd eBay store; they are owned by Linic), and at Amazon (again including in the Proops Brothers Ltd store). Proops Brothers Ltd is is the retail arm of Linic Plastics Leicestershire, supplying a vast range of tools for craft & hobby, DIY, model making, jewellery, metal and wood working. Linic Plastics Ltd, is based on the same site and manufactures many of the tools that they sell. Some of the items they sell are foreign made. British made items are labelled as such. There’s a short article about Linic on the British Family website. Their range includes British made decorating tools such as wallpaper cutters, paint guards, straight edges, wallpaper smoothers, paint stirring paddles, window scrapers, wall paper cutting scissors and so on – http://www.linic.co.uk – http://www.proopsbrothers.com
Cooper Tire & Rubber Company (who also own former British tyre company Avon Tyres since 1997) have a tyre factory (the former Avon Tyres factory) in Melksham. The former American company Cooper Tires was taken over by Indian firm Apollo Tyres in 2013. They produce motor vehicle tyres. French company Michelin also produce motor vehicle tyres in the UK. Michelin closed their bicycle tyre factory (the last one left in the UK) in Stoke-on-Trent in the 1980s. Michelin manufacture bus and tractor tyres in their Ballymena factory, car tyres in their Dundee factory, and retread truck tyres in their Stoke-on-Trent factory. American company Goodyear Dunlop (EMEA) currently retread tyres in their Wolverhampton factory but announced in June 2015 that the factory is to close.
WingAWare is a simple reflective plastic triangle that attaches to your car door when you park and is designed to reduce the likelihood of your car mirror being damaged and sells for £10. I assume it is to be removed when the vehicle is moving. Their website does nothing but there is more information on their Facebook and on Amazon. The product is designed and made in the UK. The company launched around early 2016 – http://www.wingaware.com
“Specialised Covers manufactures all its products here in the UK.” Specialised Covers make protective covers for cars, bikes and caravans. Specialised covers was founded in 1981 and their production facility is in West Yorkshire. Specialist covers are plain but they work with L&S Prints, who are mentioned elsewhere on my site, to produce fancy covers too, such as the Union Flag cover pictured and in the video below – http://www.specialisedcovers.com
Turtle Covers design and manufacture in the UK custom fit, waterproof seat covers for commercial vehicles, vans, pick-ups, and 4x4s. They say on their website “Designed and manufactured in the UK” and “Our custom-fit, waterproof car seat covers are designed and manufactured wholly in the UK by our skilled staff…” and “Our waterproof protective covers are handmade within our UK factory by our experienced cutters and machinists” and “All of our products are manufactured by us at our premises in the UK.” Turtle Covers Ltd was established in 2004 and is based between Oswestry and Wrexham, close to the Welsh/Shropshire border – www.turtlecovers.co.uk
Montrose Rope and Sail Company Ltd, founded in 1789, make tarpaulin covers and under their Montrose Bag Company name, bags. Their industrial covers and tarpaulins, domestic covers and tarpaulins, oil and gas covers, and specialised covers are made in Scotland. Products include agricultural covers, vehicle covers, industrial curtains, lorry curtains, machine covers, market stall covers, shop canopies, silo covers, trailer covers, work store covers, trailer covers, yurts, speaker covers, boat covers, boot liners, awnings, trampoline covers, oil and gas industry covers, caravan awnings, tractor cover, etc all of which appear to be British made. The Montrose Bag Company make rucksacks, holdalls, travel bags, tote bags, motorcycle wheel bags, messenger bags, tablet pouches, game bags, tool pouches, grab bags, etc in durable PVC and they all appear to be British made. Trade or retail. Their bags can be purchased from their website or are available to buy from their reception in Montrose in Scotland. They will also personalise bags with a badge of your choice and will make bespoke bags.
Jubilee Clips are still manufactured in the UK. Each page of their website carries the words “Made in the UK” at the top left and they say “Jubilee Clips were manufactured as the first worm drive hose clamp in 1921, the company held the first patent for worm drive hose clips and has been manufacturing hose clips in Great Britain ever since”. Their twitter account has the tagline “The original worm drive hose clip, manufactured in the UK. since 1921” – http://www.jubileeclips.co.uk
Burlen Ltd make vintage and classic vehicle fuel systems and associated spares. They are based in Salisbury. They do not say on their website whether any manufacturing takes place in the UK, but it might be worth asking if you are in the market for SU carburettors, fuel pumps and spares, Amal carburettors and spares, Zenith, Stromberg and Solex Carburettors and Spares, or Stay Up floats for vintage and classic cars and motorcycles.
PLC (Pneumatic Components Ltd) tyre inflation and compressed air products still have a factory in Sheffield (as well as factories in China and India) and some of their products are still made in the UK. Others, for example many of their hand-held tyre pressure gauges, are foreign made these days. Made in Sheffield products are clearly marked as such on their website. Where it does not say a product is made in Sheffield, then it is foreign made. The company is now owned by German company Horngroup – http://www.pclairtechnology.com/Home
Miller UK Ltd manufacture a range of buckets, quick couplers and other attachments for the earthmoving industries (which attach to machines made by companies like JCB), as well as providing a custom built service, with manufacturing taking place in their factory in Cramlington in the North East of England and in a factory in China. In 2015 they spent £1.5 million overhauling their UK manufacturing plant, demonstrating a commitment to manufacturing in the UK, which is good to hear – http://www.millergroundbreaking.com
“Caravanning remains a British manufacturing success story: over 95% of touring and holiday caravans in the UK are made here and approximately 60% in the case of motorhomes. In addition, 100% of residential park homes are made in UK” according to the NCC (National Caravan Club) in an (undated but possibly written in 2011) article on a site called politics.co.uk. That said many caravan makers have gone bust in recent years and many have been purchased by foreign owners who are likely to close down the British factories in time.
The Swift Group is one of the major players in the industry, founded in 1964 and since having taken over various other companies. During the 1980s Swift took over Burstwick Transport, a specialist caravan and motorhome transport company, and Cotswold Coachcraft. Swift acquired many well known caravan brands through their purchase of the touring caravan business of Cosalt in 1994 who had previously taken over the brands of Caravan International in the early 1980s and which included Eccles, Bluebird, Astral, ACE, Abbey, Bessacar, Elite, Europa and Sprite. Swift acquired the Autocruise motorhomes of Mexborough, South Yorkshire in 2007, previously making motorhomes and currently panel van conversions. The Swift Group make caravans, motor homes (using foreign made vans as the base from Fiat) and holiday homes and they have a factory in Cottingham in Yorkshire and facilities in Hedon Road in Hull and Mexborough in South Yorkshire. No specific information about country of origin is given on their website but I get the impression they still manufacture in the UK as they have a UK factory and describe themselves as “UK’s largest Leisure Vehicle Manufacturer..”. Their brands include Swift, Sterling and Sprite caravans. Swift Group is the official distributor of the USA made Airstream in the U.K. – https://www.swiftgroup.co.uk
Bailey caravans is another major player in the industry, founded in 1948, and they have a factory in Bristol. They make caravans, motor homes (using foreign made vans as the base) and static caravans. Again, no specific country of origin information is given on their website.
Fifth Wheel and Inos caravans are built in the UK too. Fifth Wheel, founded in 2002, own Inos, founded in 2011, and both brands are built in their factory in Rhuallt, North Wales. Both the Fifth Wheel and the Inos websites have the words “British Built” at the top of their webpages. Fifth Wheel make Fifth Wheeler caravans that I presume require a pick-up truck, like a Toyota Hilux, to tow them. Inos make caravans with standard tow bars. Both Fifth Wheel and Inos caravans have twin axles and a slide out section. New and used Fifth Wheel and Inos caravans are sold by both companies.
RS Motorhomes are made in the UK (using a foreign made truck or van as a starting point). It says on their website that you can visit their factory and see your motorhome being built.
Devon Conversions say on their website “We are probably the longest established motorhome and camper manufacturer in the UK, having been established at Sidmouth, Devon, in 1956” and “…we are based in a modern, spacious factory complex in County Durham…” suggesting to me that their motorhomes and campers, based on panel vans, are British made, but do check before buying. They use Fiat, Ford, Mercedes Benz and Volkswagen vans which they convert – http://devonconversions.co.uk
Sussex Campervans say on their website “…we convert vans into campervans right here, in our workshop in the Sussex countryside” and looking around their website they appear to make things like upholstery and furniture themselves as part of the conversion of vans such as the (hopefully British made) Vauxhall Vivaro, French Renault vans, German Volkswagen (VW) vans, German Ford vans, French Citroen vans and Japanese (probably Spanish built) Nissan vans – http://sussexcampervans.com
Auto-Sleepers make their motorhomes in the Cotswolds, England, converting foreign made vans from Mercedes, Peugeot or Volkswagen into motorhomes. They say on their about us page “Auto-Sleepers has over 54 years experience in meeting the needs of customers who are looking for the best in British-built motorhomes” and their brochures are marked with the words “made in Great Britain”. Auto-Sleepers are now Italian owned.
Auto-Trail say on their website that “one motorhome in three sold in the UK” is “built at our Grimsby manufacturing plant”. Auto-Trail motorhomes are build around Italian Fiat chassis and are now part of the French Trigano Group.
Lunar caravans do not give any information about country of origin on their website, but I think they may be made in England in Preston, Lancashire – best check before buying. They also make motor-homes on Renault or Mercedes chassis.
Diddyvans camping trailers – “A teardrop trailer hand-built in Basingstoke, Hampshire” – a British built tiny trailer you can sleep in (the chassis is purpose built by AL-KO and presumably foreign made); for sale or hire”.
Teardrop trailers can be towed by smaller vehicles and accommodation is normally basic with a double bed covering the entire floor and there is normally no onboard toilet.
Barefoot Caravans are made in Britain. They say on their website “Hand built in fibreglass, and fitted to the highest standards by Auto-Sleepers, manufacturers of Motorhomes of Excellence, with over 50 years expertise” and “The Barefoot Caravan is made to the highest standards in Great Britain by leading manufacturers. Your caravan will be fitted out individually by the experienced team at Auto-Sleepers, manufacturers of Motorhomes of Excellence for over 50 years. The monocoque fibreglass body, galvanised steel chassis, and many other parts have been designed and built by many fantastic British manufacturers” – http://www.go-barefoot.co.uk//
Pennine Outdoor Leisure Ltd are a manufacturer folding campers (folding hard top pop-up tent trailers). They give no information about manufacturing or country of origin on their website but it is worth asking if their products are British made if they are of interest to you. Conway Products, who made products such as the Conway Tardis hard top / tent folding camper, were taken over by the Pennine Group in November 2002 and the Conway name has since been dropped – https://pennineoutdoorleisure.co.uk
Gobur Carousel folding caravans were built in Britain from 1982 until production ceased in 2016. Today Gobur only sell refurbished Carousel folding caravans and no longer make new ones – http://www.goburcaravans.co.uk
Nu Venture are a manufacturer of motorhomes based around French Citreon vans and will also covert other vans. They give no information about manufacturing or country of origin on their website but it is worth asking if their products are British made if they are of interest to you – http://www.nuventure.co.uk
Roma Caravans Limited is the UK’s premier manufacturer of hand built, custom caravans” according to their twitter which says they are based in Bedfordshire, whilst on their website they say “…99% of the caravan is built by hand by our dedicated team of caravan builders in our Hertfordshire based factory”.
Coachman Caravans, founded in 1986, have their factory in Hull. Coachman make single and twin axle caravans in a variety of sizes and layouts, including a centre washroom and rear inline fixed island bed layout in all their ranges. Their Facebook page says they have an “…obsessive attention to detail, combined with the very best of British craftsmanship…” From 1997 until 2001 Coachman was part of Explorer Group Limited but is currently an independent company.
The Explorer Group Ltd was purchased by German company the Erwin Hymer Group in 2017 and now operate as Erwin Hymer Group UK Ltd trading under the Elddis name. They say on their website “Our heritage stretches back to 1964 and today Elddis, Compass, Xplore and Buccaneer touring caravans and Elddis motorhomes are still produced in Consett, County Durham”. Their range includes single and twin axle caravans and motorhomes on French Peugeot chassis.
Vanmaster is a UK caravan brand. The chassis they use are made by AL-KO and presumably foreign made. They make both single and twin axles caravans, in a variety of layouts. Vanmaster give no information about manufacturing or country of origin on their website, but their Facebook says “Vanmaster superiority is there for all to see, British Hand-built Craftsmanship that exceeds all expectations” which suggests they manufacture in the UK and it seems they have a factory in Wigan – http://www.vanmastercaravans.co.uk
Vantage Motorhomes have their factory in Leeds and produce van conversion motorhomes based around French Peugeot vans.
Bilbo’s Motorhomes, established in 1977, build camper vans around German Volkswagen vans. They say on their website that their camper vans “…are built by our skilled British craftsman in our purpose built factory…” They describe their Lezan camper van as “Manufactured in our UK factory”. I don’t know whether all their range is UK made – http://www.bilbos.com
Romahome, founded in 1982, make camper vans built around French Citroën vans. The company appear to belong to Wilmoths Group or Freeborn Group or Special Vehicle Projects (SVP Ltd) or Addabak Ltd who seem to lease a factory in Cowes where they produce Romahome camper vans and motorhomes. Ownership and detail about manufacturing are unclear from their website, but they do say their 5 models are “produced at our factory in Cowes on the Isle of Wight…” – http://www.romahome.com
Wheelhome campers make camper vans with elevating roofs based around Italian Fiat vans. Previously they have used other base vehicles and made a caravan. They say on their website “Wheelhome campers are lovingly crafted in our workshop here in Essex” – http://www.wheelhome.info
Danbury Motorcaravans convert German VW and USA Ford Transit vans (Transit vans are no longer made in the UK – they are now made in Turkey or the USA) into a range of small to mid-sized motorcaravans. They say on their website “Our 40,000 square foot factory is located in Yate, Bristol…”. Danbury are well known for their VW T2 campervans and, as of August 2017, appear to still be selling new ones. I assume these are very limited and leftovers from the made in Brazil VW T2s which are no longer produced. They also sell modern VW T5 and T6 van conversions, some of which have toilets, Transit conversions and second hand campers – http://www.danburymotorcaravans.com
Dormobile, now based in Romsey near Southampton, are back and specialise in the supply of spare parts to the original Dormobile vehicle market (Land Rovers, VW and Bedford vans), the production of the famous Classic lifting roof and offers the conversion of new and older Land Rover vehicles for the overland and recreational vehicle market – http://www.dormobile.co.uk
ABI holiday homes (park homes / mobile homes) are British built and they use the Made in Britain marque. On their website they say “each and every ABI holiday home is made right here in Britain, at our factory in Beverley”. ABI used to make caravans too but no longer do so – http://www.abiuk.co.uk
To help you buy a British made caravan the following are foreign caravan and motorhome manufacturers selling in the UK that I know of – Hobby (Germany), Fendt (Germany). Erwin Hymer Group (Germany), Airstream (USA), Adria (Slovenia), Caravelair (France), Dethleffs (Germany – part of Hymer), Geist (Germany – defunct), LMC (Germany – part of Hymer), Knaus and T@B (Germany), Sterckeman (France), TEC (Germany – part of Hymer), Eriba (Germany – part of Hymer), Freedom (Poland).
You’ll occasionally see imported Japanese camper vans and motorhomes in Britain, such as converted Toyota Hiace vans. Collectively these are sometimes referred to as Bongo from Japan. These small van conversions arrive second hand from Japan where tax advantages are given if you sell your van for export after just three years. Based on the Mazda Bongo (or similar vans) and right hand drive, they can offer excellent value for money. Some have four wheel drive and clever touches like electrically-powered lifting roofs. These are available for example from Direct Campers in Kilmarnock in Scotland or Clearcut Conversions in Barnstaple, Devon who do conversions and partial conversions of panel vans.
The German Volkswagen (VW) T2 was a popular small campervan in the UK and is often associated with hippies. It was produced in Germany and the UK, as well as in South Africa, Mexico and Brazil. Production in the UK stopped in 1967 but continued in South America. Production ended completely when the Brazil factory closed at the end of 2013. Volkswagen never themselves made a T2 camper – they have only ever sold the ‘Type 2’ as vans which are then outfitted by coachbuilders around the world. The original vans were called Type 2, following on from Volkswagen’s first offering the Type 1, better known as the Beetle. Volkswagen now make slightly larger campervans, presumably in Germany, although unlike the old T2 things like the toilet are missing in the modern Volkswagen campervan.
There are a couple of short histories of caravanning here and here. During the early 1980’s a number of well known caravan makers such as Stirling, Royale, Churchill, Thompson, Avondale (they closed down a bit later in 2008) and Caravan International (CI) Group closed down. Caravan International had taken over brands such as Eccles, Bluebird, ACE, Abbey, Bessacar, Elite, Europa and Sprite. The Cosalt company from Hull, bought out parts of the company, choose to keep the CI brand but renamed it Cosalt International. The touring caravan business was sold to Swift Leisure in 1994 and Cosalt continued to manufacture static caravans until they went bankrupt in 2013. Astral Caravans also went bankrupt in 1980 and was acquired by Bessacar and hence Cosalt.
F L Hitchman manufacture the rolling water carrier the Aquaroll and the dual purpose water carrier the Wastemaster, for caravaners. They say “All of our products aremanufactured in our factory in the West Midlands” – http://www.aquaroll.com
Popaloo say on their twitter “We make in the UK a unique, compact,chemical and water free,highly portable toilet system called Popaloo.” Their website carries the words “Made in Britain” and “Made in England”. The Popaloo Portable Camping Toilet is available online via their website and elsewhere such as eBay – http://www.popaloo.co.uk
Jonic manufacture and supply bedding, mattresses, mattress toppers, carpets, foam filling, and upholstery made for caravans, boats, motor homes, etc made to fit unusual sizes. They say on their website “All our products are manufactured here in the UK”. Country of origin is not given against individual products on their website but as they say all their products are UK made then I assume they are but still advise checking before buying – http://www.jonic-uk.co.uk
Fenwick’s bike care products are all manufactured in the UK (as incidentally is 95% of their packaging as well) – cycle cleaning fluids, bike and chain cleaning sponges, grease and oils, maintenance kits, and tubeless sealant. Fenwick’s also make caravan, motorhome, tent and awning (cleaning and re-proofing) care products in the UK. http://www.fenwicks.info
Quite how much of a caravan or motorhome might be made in the UK I don’t know. There may be other caravan and motorhome makers in the UK, but I don’t know.
Portakabin portable buildings (modular buildings) are still be made in the UK. On their website it says “Designed and manufactured at the 250,000m2 Portakabin production facility in York, Portakabin buildings fulfil the demands of an increasing range of applications, from office space, childcare facilities and classrooms to health centres, hospitals, call centres and toilets and showers. Sometimes referred to as portacabins or terrapins Portakabin is actually a trade name. The other well known temporary buildings company Terrapin of Milton Keynes went bankrupt in 2012. The most familiar modern type of portable buildings are designed so that one can be carried to or from site on a large lorry and slung on and off by a crane. Portakabin also make the well known brand of portable temporary or permanent toilets, Portaloo. Portakabin buildings need planning permission – http://www.portakabin.co.uk
For British made bicycles (and some more on motorcycles, please see https://ukmade.wordpress.com/2012/09/26/bicycles/
There are still many other companies out their who make in the UK parts for the motor industry too.
There’s a good history of Yorkshire car maker Jowlett on the I’m from Yorkshire website. Jowlett’s ceased car production in 1954. Jowett continued making parts for their cars at another site on Howden Clough Road in Morley until 1963 and aircraft fittings in another part of the county.
Triumph Motorcycles have six factories. Two of these factories are based in Hinckley in the UK, three are in Chonburi, Thailand and one is n Manaus, Brazil. So, SOME Triumph motorbikes are made or at least assembled in the UK. A friend of mine has one and he is very happy with it. It is not clear how (or even if) you can tell where a particular Triumph bike was assembled and where the parts were made. The original Triumph factory closed down in 1983. As far as I know Triumph motorcycles is unconnected to the German bra making company Triumph International.