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British Motorcycles

Wardill and Sons

Wardill and Sons of Mitcham

In 1903, Ernest Wardill (Henry Ernest Wardill, 1881 - 1934) opened a garage on Pound Street, Carshalton, with backing from his father, Henry Wardill (1857 - 1930). Ernest had started out as a cycle repairer and at the Carshalton garage he dealt with bicycles and cars.

Before opening the garage in Pound Street, Henry and sons had built an engine using a treadle lathe (a mechanical lathe operated by a footplate). Percy (James Percival Wardill, 1895 - 1979) recalled helping to treadle the lathe when he came home from school - three could treadle at once. The castings for this engine were done in the Great Eastern Railway workshop at Grimsby, arranged by Percy's cousin, Bill Spencer, who was the manager at the Great Eastern Hotel in Grimsby. At the garage in Pound Street, the engine was put into a frame.

Between 1924 and 1927, Ernest and Percy designed and built the Wardill motorcycle (see below). Based around a supercharged engine which was the brainchild of Percy, it performed well in public trials, leading the brothers to place advertisements in the motorcycling press. But commercial production never ensued and the Wardill motorcycle faded into history. In 1974, five years before Percy's death, the "Motorcycle" journal followed up the story (see links 3, 4 and 5, below).


  • Wardill was a motorcycle produced between 1927 and 1928
  • A attempt was made to adopt a separate pumping cylinder, instead of relying upon crankcase compression to perform the function. A pumping cylinder was formed around, and concentric with, the working cylinder, the pumping piston having an annular form, with the working piston and its cylinder passing through the centre. The working piston fastened to a connecting rod driven from the crankshaft, as in standard practice, but the pumping piston was was supported by two rods, each eccentrically mounted from the main shafts either side of the big-end throw. This arrangement was neat and compact, and the engine performed well under racing conditions. The complete machine, on sale in 1927, had a 346cc engine, chain drive and an Albion three-speed gearbox.


Sources Grace's Guide



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