Watsonian Squire

Last updated
Watsonian Squire
Industry Motorcycles
PredecessorWatsonian Sidecar Co Ltd
Squire Sidecars
FounderThomas Fredrick Watson
Products Sidecars, trailers
Divisions Harglo Performance
Website watsonian-squire.com

Watsonian Squire is a British manufacturer of sidecars and trailers for attachment to motorcycles. The original business was established in 1912 by Thomas Fredrick Watson as the Patent Collapsible Sidecar Company Ltd. at Balsall Heath, Birmingham, England. [1]

Sidecar German term for articulated vehicles and motrocycles (bicycles) with sidecars

A sidecar is a one-wheeled device attached to the side of a motorcycle, scooter, or bicycle, making the whole a three-wheeled vehicle. A motorcycle with a sidecar is sometimes called a combination, an outfit, a rig or a hack.

Motorcycle trailer

A motorcycle trailer is either a trailer used to carry motorcycles or one to be pulled by a motorcycle in order to carry additional gear.

Balsall Heath is a working class, inner-city area of Birmingham, West Midlands, England. It has a diverse cultural mix of people and is the location of the Balti Triangle.


The current company is based in the heart of the Cotswolds at Blockley, near Moreton-in-Marsh, Gloucestershire.

Cotswolds protected area in south central England

The Cotswolds is an area in south central and south west England comprising the Cotswold Hills, a range of rolling hills that rise from the meadows of the upper Thames to an escarpment, known as the Cotswold Edge, above the Severn Valley and Evesham Vale. The area is defined by the bedrock of Jurassic limestone that creates a type of grassland habitat rare in the UK and that is quarried for the golden-coloured Cotswold stone. It contains unique features derived from the use of this mineral; the predominantly rural landscape contains stone-built villages, historical towns and stately homes and gardens.

Blockley village and civil parish in Gloucestershire, UK

Blockley is a village, civil parish and ecclesiastical parish in the Cotswold district of Gloucestershire, England, about 3 miles (5 km) northwest of Moreton-in-Marsh. Until 1931 Blockley was an exclave of Worcestershire.

Moreton-in-Marsh Town in Gloucestershire, England

Moreton-in-Marsh is a small market town in the Evenlode Valley, within the Cotswolds Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty in Gloucestershire, England.


'Fred' Watson founded the Patent Collapsible Sidecar Company, later renamed to Watsonian Folding Sidecar Company Ltd, after he built a folding sidecar that allowed him to get his motorcycle and sidecar combination through a narrow entrance to the yard at his house. [1]

Early sidecars were initially built with wickerwork bodies, which were then replaced by ash frames with plywood or steel panels. During World War I the company built sidecars for use as motorcycle ambulances. In 1922, the company moved to Hockley in Birmingham. [1]

World War I 1914–1918 global war starting in Europe

World War I, also known as the First World War or the Great War, was a global war originating in Europe that lasted from 28 July 1914 to 11 November 1918. Contemporaneously described as "the war to end all wars", it led to the mobilisation of more than 70 million military personnel, including 60 million Europeans, making it one of the largest wars in history. It is also one of the deadliest conflicts in history, with an estimated nine million combatants and seven million civilian deaths as a direct result of the war, while resulting genocides and the resulting 1918 influenza pandemic caused another 50 to 100 million deaths worldwide.

Motorcycle ambulance

Motorcycle ambulances are a type of emergency vehicle which either carries a solo paramedic or first responder to a patient; or is used with a trailer or sidecar for transporting patients. Because of its size and performance, a motorcycle ambulance is able to respond to a medical emergency much faster than a car, van, or fire truck in heavy traffic, which can increase survival rates for patients suffering cardiac arrest.

Hockley, West Midlands inner-city district in the city of Birmingham, England

Hockley is a central inner-city district in the city of Birmingham, England. It lies about one mile north-west of the city centre, and is served by the Jewellery Quarter station. Birmingham's Jewellery Quarter continues to thrive in Hockley, and much of the original architecture and small artisan workshops have survived intact.

Watsonian Side Car, Albion Road, Greet, Birmingham Watsonian Albion Road Greet Birmingham.jpg
Watsonian Side Car, Albion Road, Greet, Birmingham

In 1930, the company was renamed to the Watsonian Sidecar Company Ltd. [1] In the same year the factory was destroyed by fire and in 1931 the company moved to new premises in Greet. [1]

Greet is a historical area in south Birmingham, England, around modern Sparkhill.

In 1956, Watsonian took over the rights to the Swallow Sidecars name from Tube Investments. [2] Watsonian was an early supplier to the Swallow Sidecar Company, which after World War II was renamed to Jaguar Cars. From 1956, Watsonian started to manufacture sidecar bodies in glass-reinforced plastic (GRP). [3] As well as civilian models, they also manufactured sidecars for the RAC to use for roadside rescue. [3]

Swallow Sidecar Company

Swallow Sidecar Company, Swallow Sidecar and Coachbuilding Company, and Swallow Coachbuilding Company were trading names used by Walmsley & Lyons, partners and joint owners of a British manufacturer of motorcycle sidecars and automobile bodies in Blackpool, Lancashire — later Coventry, Warwickshire — before incorporating a company to own their business which they named Swallow Coachbuilding Company Limited.

TI Group

TI Group plc was a holding company for specialised engineering companies. It was based in Abingdon, Oxfordshire. It was registered as Tube Investments in 1919, combining the seamless steel tube businesses of Tubes Ltd, New Credenda Tube, Simplex and Accles & Pollock. Reynolds Tube joined the group in 1928.

World War II 1939–1945, between Axis and Allies

World War II, also known as the Second World War, was a global war that lasted from 1939 to 1945. The vast majority of the world's countries—including all the great powers—eventually formed two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis. A state of total war emerged, directly involving more than 100 million people from more than 30 countries. The major participants threw their entire economic, industrial, and scientific capabilities behind the war effort, blurring the distinction between civilian and military resources. World War II was the deadliest conflict in human history, marked by 70 to 85 million fatalities, most of whom were civilians in the Soviet Union and China. It included massacres, the genocide of the Holocaust, strategic bombing, premeditated death from starvation and disease, and the only use of nuclear weapons in war.

Modern Triumph motorcycle with Watsonian sidecar Watsonian sidecar with triumph combination.jpg
Modern Triumph motorcycle with Watsonian sidecar

In the 1970s, Watsonian used their expertise in GRP to diversify into production of hardtops for Land Rover and for sports cars. [1] [4] When the Land Rover contract ended in 1981, Watsonian was forced to scale back production and make several staff redundant. [1] In 1984, the company moved to its current location in Blockley.

In 1988, Watsonian merged with Squire Sidecars to form Watsonian Squire. [4] From 1999 until 2013, Watsonian were the UK distributor for Royal Enfield motorcycles which are now built in Chennai, India. [5]


Squire (founded 1973 in Bidford-on-Avon) is a British manufacturer of motorcycle sidecars that pioneered the design of the modern motorcycle trailer for being pulled behind a bike in the early 1980s. In 1988 Squire merged with the struggling Watsonian company to form Watsonian Squire, now the UK's largest sidecar producer.

In 2002 Motor Cycle News set a Guinness World Record for a motorcycle and trailer reaching a timed speed of 139.5 mph at Millbrook in Bedfordshire, UK, pulling a Squire D21 trailer behind a Kawasaki ZZ-R1100 motorcycle. [6]

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Jaguar Cars Car marque and former British car company

Jaguar is the luxury vehicle brand of Jaguar Land Rover, a British multinational car manufacturer with its headquarters in Whitley, Coventry, England. Jaguar Cars was the company that was responsible for the production of Jaguar cars until its operations were fully merged with those of Land Rover to form Jaguar Land Rover on 1 January 2013.

British Leyland 1968–1986 automotive manufacturing conglomerate

British Leyland was an automotive engineering and manufacturing conglomerate formed in the United Kingdom in 1968 as British Leyland Motor Corporation Ltd (BLMC), following the merger of Leyland Motors and British Motor Holdings. It was partly nationalised in 1975, when the UK government created a holding company called British Leyland, later BL, in 1978. It incorporated much of the British-owned motor vehicle industry, which constituted 40 percent of the UK car market, with roots going back to 1895.

SS Jaguar 100 car model

The SS Jaguar 100 is a British 2-seat sports car built between 1936 and 1941 by SS Cars Ltd of Coventry, England.

Sir William Lyons, known as "Mr. Jaguar", was with fellow motorcycle enthusiast William Walmsley, the co-founder in 1922 of the Swallow Sidecar Company, which became Jaguar Cars Limited after the Second World War.

Swallow Doretti car model

The Swallow Doretti is a two-seater British sports car built on Swallow's own design of box-section tube chassis using Triumph TR2 mechanicals, made between 1954 and 1955. It was intended for the U.S. market and to be a more refined two-seater than available there at that time.

William Walmsley (1892-1961) was with William Lyons a co-founder of the Swallow Sidecar Company, which later became the Jaguar car company.

SS Cars

SS Cars was a British manufacturer of sports saloon cars from 1934 until wartime 1940, and from March 1935 of a limited number of open 2-seater sports cars. From September 1935 their new models displayed a new name SS Jaguar.

Ariel Motorcycles defunct British maker of bicycles and motorcycles

Ariel Motorcycles was a British maker of bicycles and then motorcycles in Bournbrook, Birmingham. It was an innovator in British motorcycling, part of the Ariel marque. The company was sold to BSA in 1951 but the brand survived until 1967. Influential Ariel designers included Val Page and Edward Turner. The last motorcycle-type vehicle to carry the Ariel name was a short-lived three-wheel tilting moped in 1970.

Douglas (motorcycles) British motorcycle manufacturer

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Dunelt Motorcycles was a British motorcycle and bicycle manufacturer. Based in Sheffield, the business was founded by two steel makers and engineers, Dunford and Elliott of Sheffield in 1919. Their first motorcycle was an innovative supercharged 499 cc two-stroke single. The company specialised in good quality sidecars from 1926 and a Dunelt motorcycle was first to cross the desert from Cairo to Siwa and back in 1924. Dunelt also enjoyed racing success and won the Double Twelve Hour World Record at Brooklands with a Model K in 1928. Dunelt moved into commercial three-wheeled cars but these were not a success. A Dunelt moped was exhibited at the Earls Court show in 1956 but the company diversified into other areas of engineering in 1957.

ABC motorcycles company

ABC motorcycles was a British motorcycle manufacturer established in 1914 by Ronald Charteris in London. Several British motorcycle firms started up with the name "ABC", including Sopwith. The All British Engine Company Ltd. of London was founded in 1912 and later changed to ABC Motors Ltd. With chief engineer Granville Bradshaw, Charteris built a range of engines throughout the First World War. From 1913 ABC produced motorcycle engines.

Motorcycle accessories are features and accessories selected by a motorcycle owner to enhance safety, performance, or comfort, and may include anything from mobile electronics to sidecars and trailers. An accessory may be added at the factory by the original equipment manufacturer or purchased and installed by the owner post-sale as aftermarket goods.

Wasp Motorcycles

Wasp Motorcycles is a motorcycle and sidecar manufacturer based in Berwick St James, near Salisbury, England, that specialises in building competition solo and sidecar machines for motocross, trials and sidecar grasstrack, as well as the Wasp 3 Wheel Freedom for disabled riders.

BSA Company Limited is a motorcycle manufacturer which purchased rights to the BSA name from Birmingham Small Arms Company's successor, Dennis Poore's Manganese Bronze Holdings, upon the liquidation of Norton Villiers Triumph in 1978.


  1. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 "Watsonian Sidecars". Made in Birmingham. Archived from the original on 19 January 2009. Retrieved 20 January 2009.
  2. Heilig, John (1997). Jaguar. MotorBooks/MBI Publishing Company. p. 22. ISBN   978-0-7603-0352-8.
  3. 1 2 Axon, Jo (1997). Sidecars. Osprey Publishing. pp. 15–20. ISBN   978-0-7478-0344-7.
  4. 1 2 "Timeline". Watsonian Squire. Retrieved 21 January 2010.
  5. Hollensen, Svend (2009). Essentials of Global Marketing. Pearson Education. p. 412. ISBN   978-0-273-71784-3.
  6. "Motorcycle and Trailer Speed Record". Guinness World Records. 28 February 2002. Retrieved 9 November 2011.