Today in Motorcycle History

Beeston Cycle Co


Humber-Beeston bicycles and automobiles were built by the Humber company at their Beeston works in Nottinghamshire, but there appears to be no evidence of a Beeston-Humber motor bicycle built by Beeston of Coventry.

Founded in Coventry by Harry Lawson, the firm traded from 1896 to 1910. Advertising of the period suggests they built the Beeston Motor Tricycle, and the New Beeston Motor Cycle of 1896.

Lawson had purchased the Quinton Cycle Company when it was in financial difficulty and created the Beeston Cycle & Motor Company at the Parkside premises. He installed Quinton's former owner Samuel Gorton as works manager.

Harry Lawson obtained a licence to build the De Dion engine, and co-operated with Humber in the early days. One of the Beeston machines took part in the first London to Brighton run, and was the only British entry.

A 3½ hp light car was built during 1899. The following year the business closed its doors.

The Swift Motor Co occupied the same building on Parkside in 1905.

N.B. There was also a New Beeston bicycle built in Groningen, Holland, by J. Bronda as early as 1888.


In our leading article on motor cycle machine guns, which appeared in our issue of September 18th, reference was made to the vehicle used by Mr. F. R. Simms at the Richmond Automobile Show, held by the then Automobile Club of Great Britain and Ireland. By the courtesy of Mr. F. K. Simms, who was one of the founder members of the above-named body, now the Royal Automobile Club, and its first vice-chairman, we are enabled to reproduce a picture of the Beeston quadricycle upon which the Maxim gun was mounted. It was built by the Beeston Motor Cycle Co., of Coventry, to the specification of Mr. Simms, who was certainly the pioneer of the armoured motor vehicle, as in 1902 he constructed for Messrs. Vickers, Son and Maxim an armour-plated war car for coast and road defence and street fighting, and also an armour- plated motor railway inspection car for the same firm.

The Motor Cycle, 1914.

New Beeston 1897 Tricycle CML 267

This was part of a small collection owned by the Olorenshaw family who owned the Prince of Wales Motors in Norwich.

Lot 54 – Friday 26th October 1967 1897 BEESTON 1¾ h.p. motor-tricycle. Reg. CML 267 Unquestionably the most efficient motor-vehicle one could buy in the later 1890s was the motor-tricycle with its high-speed De Dion Bouton motor and excellent power-to-weight ratio. Snags were the absence of weather protection, suspension, and effective brakes, while the vehicles possessed neither choice of ratios nor a free-engine clutch and so had to be ‘paddled off’. The basic De Dion design was copied in many countries, The New Beeston Cycle Co. being a flotation of H. J. Lawson’s which had a short but quite lively career. It is, incidentally, quite unconnected with Humber Ltd. or that firm’s works at Beeston, Notts, which operated until 1908. This example is in standard trim with the exception of the cylindrical rear tank, has been maintained in good order since a complete rebuild 15 years ago, and has completed in many Brighton Runs.
V.C.C. Dating

Courtesy Chris Booth, Motorcycles 1867-1930 FB Group.

Sources: Graces Guide,,

pookiezw55 at
Beeston motor tricycle 1897
I have a family photo of a gentleman riding one of these tricycles and wondered how I can find the history of the gentleman (registration details) and if the bike - the Reg number is CML267
Fiona walker
Shropshire UK

Try the 1867-1930 Motorcycles FB group on this page: Historians.

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