the ex-cotton factory, the 'Motor Mills'

The Motor Mills was a name given to a factory adapted for motor manufacturing in Coventry towards the latter end of the 19th Century.

When Harry J. Lawson co-founded the British Motor Syndicate in 1895 he began the task of looking for suitable premises to commence manufacture of road transport in Great Britain. After considering places including Birmingham and Cheltenham, he then looked at Coventry.

Lawson knew Coventry very well, having first worked in the City from 1878 at the cycle makers Haynes and Jefferis, and then the Rudge Company. As well as having a large cycle industry, Coventry also once had a large textile industry and many cycle companies were houses in factories once used in the textile trade.

In 1895, Lawson chose a large factory located at an area known locally as Drapers Field which once belonged to the Coventry Cotton Company. He renamed the factory the ‘Motor Mills’ and by the following year, the Great Horseless Carriage Company, the Daimler Motor Company, E. J. Pennington and others began the production of motorcycles, motorized tricycles, quadricycles and autocars based on European designs. The Daimler Company itself became the first in Great Britain to be established as manufacturers of cars on a commercial basis.

Although most of the other Lawson related companies folded or relocated over time, Daimler remained on the site for many years. Although other buildings were added to the site over time as the business expanded, the building known as the Motor Mills was thought to have been destroyed during the Blitz of WWII.
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