HERE and THERE, December 1931
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Father of the Motor Industry
/_T is difficult to realise that the British motor industry, now so important a factor in the national scheme,
is actually an infant concern compared with the majority of our leading undertakings. It is thrown into strong perspective, however, by the announcement that one of its pioneers has recently celebrated his eightieth birthday.
This is Mr. William Riley who, rather over 40 years ago, took his first step to becoming a motorcar manufacturer by purchasing a cycle manufacturing business. The history of the Riley concern from that date is an illuminating record of the growth of the motor industry. William Riley was a man of foresight. He controlled a prosperous weaving business in the days when weaving was Coventry’s leading industry and yet, standing as he did at the threshold of the speed age, he saw its promises
‘ so clearly that he chose it, instead of his own established trade, as a career for his sons.
At first the manufacture of cycles exclusively occupied the father’s attention, but the sons were eager to turn to the motoring side, and with slender resources but much enthusiasm, themselves equipped a factory with plant for the production of engines. Later on, cycle manufacture was ceased, and both senior and junior branches concentrated on the development and production of cars. Such widely accepted features of modern design as detachable wire wheels and the “silent third” four-speed gearbox were Riley innovations.
William Riley adopted the industry in its earliest days, has followed its progress for forty years and is still actively in touch with it.
—And a Pioneer Motorist M.P.
Motorists will find a warm champion in the new House of Commons in Mr. Reginald G. Clarry, who was returned as Conservative member for Newport (Mon.).
Mr. Clarry was a pioneer motorist himself and in the early days drove a Benz with tiller steering.
Born in Derby, Mr. Clarry was trained in civil engineering and chemistry and had a successful business career before taking up politics. During the War, he had a high position in the Ministry of Munitions, and afterwards became interested in road problems. He is a recognised authority on non-skid roads and last year was appointed chairman of the British Road Tar Association, which has a membership of well over 700 firms and municipalities. The Association under Mr. Clarry’s guidance has been continually seeking to improve the standard of British roads.
Mr. Clarry is also Chairman of the International Road Tar Conference.
Successful Motoring Appeal.
At the Winchester Quarter Sessions The Automobile Association has just successfully appealed against the conviction of a motorist who was fined by the Basingstoke magistrates for driving dangerously.
The prosecution had alleged that the defendant travelled at an excessive speed when passing a detachment of troops, and failed to slow down on being signalled to by the officer in command.
The evidence of the defendant and his passenger was that the car was slowed down but that when passing the column of soldiers at reduced speed, the officer in charge ran alongside and struck the defendant in the face. A summons for assault against the officer was dismissed at the original hearing, and the motorist was fined 25 and costs.
The Justices upheld the view put forward by Counsel instructed by the A.A. Legal Department, and allowed the appeal with costs against the police.
More Road Signals.
An interesting experiment in traffic signalling is to be tried out by the Croydon Council, whereby traffic will be controlled at various points in the borough by pedestrians.
The scheme is that red lights shall be installed, and when a pedestrian is desirous of crossing the road, he will press a button fixed on a post. This will switch on the ” stop ” signal, and motor traffic will have to come to a standstill on a line marked on the road some 20 feet from the walker in both directions.
Unless certain rules are laid down concerning the use of this signal, I can foresee plenty of complications, however. What, for example, will be the result if halfa-dozen amblers seek to emulate the chicken of riddle fame in quick succession ? And surely that button will be an irresistible attraction for the small boy ? Still, it will be an interesting experiment.
British Motor Development in India.
The new company—Allied Motors Ltd.—which was recently formed to distribute and service Rolls-Royce, Humber and Hillman cars, and Commer commercial vehicles, in Western India, Delhi and United Provinces has now opened its Showrooms in Bombay and Delhi. A distinguished and influential gathering numbering over 200 attended the function, including many prominent Government officials.
The showrooms at Bombay are at Hughes Road, Cumballa Hill, and at Kashmir Gate in Delhi. The Managing Director of Allied Motors is Mr. Raymond Chandler, late Manager of Rolls-Royce (India) Ltd., while Mr. J. W. S. Milnes, late of Rootes, Ltd., Devonshire House, London, is Sales Director.