British Motorcycles

William Beardmore and Co

William Beardmore and Company was a Scottish engineering and shipbuilding company based in Glasgow and the surrounding areas.

  • The same four-cylinder engine as in the taxis was offered in conventional lorry chassis of 1.5 tonnes in the 1920s.
  • The Scottish Motor Co bought nine with 15-seat bodies in 1925, They were only kept for four years.
  • Beardmore was a pioneer in developing 'heavy oiled engines' in the 1930s, otherwise known today as 'diesel' engines.
  • 1935 The Beardmore engines were not reliable and production ceased in 1935.


  • WW1 Licensed builder of the Sopwith Pup and produced the Beardmore WB 111 for carrier operations and the Nieuport 20.


  • 1920 February. Motor Boat and Marine and Stationary Engine Exhibition. Showed 120 bhp four-cylinder two-cycle hot-bulb engine.

William Beardmore and Co: Motorcycles

1922. Beardmore-Precision. Exhibit at Glasgow Museum of Transport.Image-Im090622GM-Be299
1922. Beardmore-Precision. Exhibit at Glasgow Museum of Transport.

Beardmore Precision were motorcycles produced from 1920 to 1925.

The name evolved from an association between Precision engines and the William Beardmore engineering group. F. E. Baker of Moorsom Street and then Kings Norton, Birmingham, had originally developed an advanced machine during World War I, using its own Precision engine. Production of a complete machine was difficult - hence the involvementwith William Beardmore.

  • 1920 The association of the two firms produced the first Beardmore Precision model. Based on a conventional two-stroke, it had a pumped lubricationsystem in which the magneto drive-chain doubled as an oil conveyor. The gearing had sprockets at either end of the crankshaft and selection wasvia expanding clutches from a handlebar control. The engine and gear were a complete unit, cased in aluminium. This unconventional yet practicaldesign also had large alloy foot-boards swept upwards at the front edges to become leg shields. The 349cc engine lacked power and, combined withits odd looks, the machine did not sell well.
  • 1921 A sports version was tried, followed by a 598cc sv model with an in-unitthree-speed gearbox, with Sturmey-Archer shafts and pinions. This cured the problem of missing power, but did nothingto improve appearance. A sleeve-valve 348cc engine from Barr and Stroud then appeared. This had a three-speed gearbox and a choice of drive.
  • 1922 A team of three machines with new 496cc engines was entered in theSenior TT, but they all retired. Revised and improved models were exhibited at the motorcycle show, including a 348cc sv with two-speed chain-cum-belttransmission.
  • 1923 A sports version appeared, with Ricardo aluminium piston. That was followed by a 246cc sv machine with a tubular,triangulated frame which was an improvement on its previously strange appearance.
  • 1924 Several models continued into this year. Frank Baker severed his connectionswith the company and two experimental racing models entered the TT, without success.
  • 1925 An ohv 250cc, with coil valve-springs, was added to the range. Itwas the final year of the marque.

Werry was a motorcycle produced in 1927. The engine was designed by an Australian named W. C. Werry; it was built by William Beardmore and Co of Glasgow.

This machine was a one-off built up as a test bed for an unusual flat-twintwo-stroke engine, set along the frame. It was based on the uniflow principle, where the two pistons faced one another in a common cylinder with a crankshaftand crankcase for each at the outer cylinder rods. The cranks were linked so as to rotate in unison and the Werry did this by each driving a primary chain to a special clutch with two sprockets, one chain muchlonger than the other. The engine was 248cc and the rear crankcase drove up to a Lucas magneto, while the front one drove a Pilgrim oil pump. That motor, and a Sturmey-Archer gearbox were fitted into Chater-Lea cycle parts. It is reported that the machine attempted to break one ofthe 250cc world records at Brooklands, in some style, but that it crashed at about 90mph/145kmh.

It was rebuilt many years later as an example of innovative, although not unique, design.

Sources: Grace's Guide

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