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#252085 - 05/05/09 11:00 pm NEW BOOK on MERIDEN TRIUMPH !  
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Last edited by meriden4ever; 06/10/09 2:04 pm.

1983 TR65T Tiger Trail
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1983 TR65 Thunderbird
1982 TR7T Tiger Trail
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#252483 - 05/07/09 10:30 pm Re: NEW BOOK on MERIDEN ! [Re: meriden4ever]  
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meriden4ever Offline
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any views ?


1983 TR65T Tiger Trail
1983 TSSAV
1983 TSX
1983 TR65 Thunderbird
1982 TR7T Tiger Trail
#252492 - 05/07/09 11:22 pm Re: NEW BOOK on MERIDEN ! [Re: meriden4ever]  
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John Healy Online content
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The story starts long before Tony Benn got involved.

With the death of Les Harris, and after talking to John Birch, Bob Myers, long time US Triumph dealer, has decided to tell the "real" story about the period that led up to the Sit-in and formation of the cooperative. To this end we are flying Mick Duckworth over next week to interview Bob for articles in Vintage Bike. What else comes of this information is anyone's guess.

The story really begins several years earlier when a group of militant US dealers formed a loosely organized group to push back at US management and Peter Thornton. It was this group, eventually headed by Bob, that started the ground work that eventually led to the meeting with Chataway in the UK.

Without the negotiations of Bob, and 20 odd US dealers, with Christopher Chataway (conservative (yes-conservative) and Minister of Industrial Development at the time) and his staff in the house of commons the "socialist Benn cooperative" would have never seen the light of day. Dennis Poore's plan to halt Bonneville production would have succeeded. As he said to me in a meeting we had in London, "I have a twin, why would I need another?"

Bob and Chris were both long distance runners and "hit it off" and in spite of the obvious political ramifications Chris was instrumental in changing the course that eventually changed Triumph, and the Bonneville's, history.
John

Last edited by John Healy; 05/07/09 11:23 pm.

#252562 - 05/08/09 10:10 am Re: NEW BOOK on MERIDEN ! [Re: John Healy]  
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I met Mick Duckworth a while ago and had a very interesting conversation with him about a number ot topics about the old british bike industry ; I'm certain with this new imformation he will write a very accurate and imformative account about what really happened at that time and how the BSA/Triumph management under L. Jofee and his successors allowed these great names to flounder and sink , D. Poore might have been a good businessman but he like many other executives of the period did'nt understand what E.Turner did , that motorcycles are a passion, not an appliance. Johnny.


What d'ya mean it won't rev to 10?
1965 BSA A65D Lightning Rocket
1976 K*w*s*ki Z900.
1978 Triumph Bonn3ville (930 T160 Powered T140)
1988 H*nd* RC30
1990 Moto Guzzi California 3
1993 Y*m*h* TDM 850
#252599 - 05/08/09 2:31 pm Re: NEW BOOK on MERIDEN ! [Re: johnnyrvf]  
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I've often thought that the hype about E.Turner was overrated. Yes, his 1930s Speed Twin engine was revolutionary, but from that moment on, what did he accomplish beyond primping up the original with different tinware adding 100cc's of engine capacity and an additional carb? At least he bothered to unitize the 500s early on, but it wasn't until he was near retirement that Turner finally got around to unitizing the 650s. His sprung hub and fork designs were not competitive. Turner did nothing to prepare Triumph to face the Japanese challenge in large capacity machines - yes, he visited Honda in Japan and recommended some action at the BSA board, but beyond that, he did nothing. He spent far too much time out of the country on "sales calls".


1970 Triumph T100S (1969 T100S motor)
#252605 - 05/08/09 2:50 pm Re: NEW BOOK on MERIDEN ! [Re: Matthew in TO]  
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I'm told that there'll be a foreward by Tony Benn although the pre-publication cover was made before that was done.

The book is an inside look at the Co-Op from within the factory rather than from the directly related but separate dramas outside.

As Veloce point out in their blurb on the book, no-obne from actually WITHIN the co-op nerve centre has ever revealed what happened, it all seems to be second-, third- or fourth- hand reports.

The American angle is another important aspect of the story because as John H points out, the prospect of reviving the huge US export market was the carrot Meriden needed to tempt the UK government


1983 TR65T Tiger Trail
1983 TSSAV
1983 TSX
1983 TR65 Thunderbird
1982 TR7T Tiger Trail
#252635 - 05/08/09 6:17 pm Re: NEW BOOK on MERIDEN ! [Re: meriden4ever]  
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"As Veloce point out in their blurb on the book, no-obne from actually WITHIN the co-op nerve centre has ever revealed what happened, it all seems to be second-, third- or fourth- hand reports. "

Ah, but John Birch seems ripe for an interview... He and his wife were in the blockade from day one... I think someone will break the silence!


#252660 - 05/08/09 9:13 pm Re: NEW BOOK on MERIDEN ! [Re: John Healy]  
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There's been interviews with some Meriden personnel in Classic Bike and Classic Bike Guide over the years but only one of the Co-op personnel who was there to the end- i'll recall his name sooner of later ! He wasn't on the board like John Birch, though.

Peter Britton , the sales manager at both BSA-Triumph and the Co-op and board member gave an entertaining talk on his time there at the Triumph Big Out a couple of years back.

John Rosamond's will be the first book but interviews with John Birch, Bob Myers etc will make excellent must-read companion pieces.


1983 TR65T Tiger Trail
1983 TSSAV
1983 TSX
1983 TR65 Thunderbird
1982 TR7T Tiger Trail
#252715 - 05/09/09 12:08 pm Re: NEW BOOK on MERIDEN ! [Re: meriden4ever]  
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Jim Dowling was the Co-Op worker whom Steve Wilson interviewed in the 1990s about his time at Meriden until the end in '83.

When i lsst spoke to John Birch, he didn't seem too interested in recodrding his memories of the Co-Op but good luck to Mick- it'll generate heat for John Rosamond's definitive tome - and that can only be for the good !


1983 TR65T Tiger Trail
1983 TSSAV
1983 TSX
1983 TR65 Thunderbird
1982 TR7T Tiger Trail
#252724 - 05/09/09 1:30 pm Re: NEW BOOK on MERIDEN ! [Re: meriden4ever]  
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Mr. Meriden,
Just out of curiosity, and if you don't mind, how did you come to possess such an insightful knowledge of all matters Triumph?
In other words: what is Your story?
. . Or, to quote Clint Eastwood, "is the question indiscrete"?

Last edited by Brimor; 05/09/09 1:44 pm. Reason: SPELLCHECKER!

1978 Bonneville T140V PX
#252780 - 05/09/09 7:38 pm Re: NEW BOOK on MERIDEN ! [Re: JBMorris]  
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Originally Posted By: Brimor
Mr. Meriden,
Just out of curiosity, and if you don't mind, how did you come to possess such an insightful knowledge of all matters Triumph?
In other words: what is Your story?
. . Or, to quote Clint Eastwood, "is the question indiscrete"?


My story ? If it's worth an advance then it's worth me telling !!


1983 TR65T Tiger Trail
1983 TSSAV
1983 TSX
1983 TR65 Thunderbird
1982 TR7T Tiger Trail
#252834 - 05/10/09 2:00 am Re: NEW BOOK on MERIDEN ! [Re: meriden4ever]  
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Jon W. Whitley Online content
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M4E,

That was an excellent ( gave me a few chuckles ) answer and thanks for enlightening me as to this new book! bigt

beerchug

P.S. No offense to Brimor , but I just liked the reply beerchug


Originally Posted By: meriden4ever
My story ? If it's worth an advance then it's worth me telling !!


Jon W.


1957 6T Thunderbird 650
1971 TR6R Tiger 650
1955 Tiger 100 - Project
1970 BSA A65F 650 - Project

#252885 - 05/10/09 12:48 pm Re: NEW BOOK on MERIDEN ! [Re: Jon W. Whitley]  
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M4E,
Dont be shy.
How many s do you require as an advance?
laughing


1978 Bonneville T140V PX
#252895 - 05/10/09 2:09 pm Re: NEW BOOK on MERIDEN ! [Re: JBMorris]  
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Originally Posted By: Brimor
M4E,
Don’t be shy.
How many ’s do you require as an advance?
laughing


speak to my agent ...! wink


1983 TR65T Tiger Trail
1983 TSSAV
1983 TSX
1983 TR65 Thunderbird
1982 TR7T Tiger Trail
#254079 - 05/16/09 5:15 pm Re: NEW BOOK on MERIDEN ! [Re: meriden4ever]  
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New cover to reflect addition of Tony Benn foreward


1983 TR65T Tiger Trail
1983 TSSAV
1983 TSX
1983 TR65 Thunderbird
1982 TR7T Tiger Trail
#258394 - 06/10/09 2:00 pm Re: NEW BOOK on MERIDEN ! [Re: meriden4ever]  
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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lla3HwprnsA&feature=email

check out this interview with John Rosamond about the Meriden Triumph co-op


1983 TR65T Tiger Trail
1983 TSSAV
1983 TSX
1983 TR65 Thunderbird
1982 TR7T Tiger Trail
#258420 - 06/10/09 3:57 pm Re: NEW BOOK on MERIDEN ! [Re: meriden4ever]  
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Hi m4e,
Good link definitely.
Did you buy the book?
I recently bought 2 of Tim Remus' books, one of which is listed below.
http://www.britishcycle.com/Products/books/2143219.jpg
There is a shot of one of John Healy's 500 racers.
Not sure i'd spend the money for the NEW book, but maybe. . .
Edit: the John Healy bike is in the paperback.
http://www.webbikeworld.com/books/triumph-twins-triples.htm

Last edited by Brimor; 06/10/09 4:10 pm.

1978 Bonneville T140V PX
#258426 - 06/10/09 4:33 pm Re: NEW BOOK on MERIDEN ! [Re: meriden4ever]  
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Stuart Online content
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Hi,

Originally Posted By: Matthew in TO
I've often thought that the hype about E.Turner was overrated.

With respect, imho you would be wrong. ET was a complex character but, by defining him simply by the Speed Twin, you reduce him to a two-dimensional cardboard cut-out, which he does not deserve.

You appear to forget that, when Turner took charge of Triumph, it was a collection of assets that were about to be liquidated by their previous owner. Although still young, Turner had an impressive engineering and business track record both before and after joining Ariel; this must've influenced the decision of the Sangsters, who owned Ariel and did the deal (note I deliberately don't say "put up the money") for the motorcycle assets of Triumph. Given the onerous business burden that was the Triumph Engineering Company when Turner took charge, no-one would've blamed him if, especially in the aftermath of the Depression, Triumph had followed companies like New Imperial into obscurity. That it did not is not just down to a 500cc twin-cylinder motorcycle engine.

Then Triumph could've gone down the pan when the factory was completely destroyed by the Luftwaffe bombing of Coventry in November 1940. Turner alone could not have undertaken the rescue that happened, it could only have been done by an inspired team; Turner was that inspiration.

Originally Posted By: Matthew in TO
but it wasn't until he was near retirement that Turner finally got around to unitizing the 650s.

Again with respect, I don't think you appreciate the vastly different business conditions between when Turner took over Triumph and when he retired. When Turner took over in 1936, he was in charge, the top of the heap; his only bosses and financial control were the Sangster family.

Triumph was sold by the Sangster family to BSA in 1951, following Ariel that'd taken the same path in 1944. BSA were a huge, multi-million-pound, world-wide engineering conglomerate; they made anything and everything in metal, from battleship guns to microscopes. Turner might've been grandly-titled General Manager of the Automotive Division or whatever but the reality was he was now a very small fish in a very big pond. Most particularly, he didn't make major investment decisions, he had to fight through the layers and layers of Group management and with managers of other divisions, something that would not be unfamiliar to any manager in a large company today.

Moreover, I suspect you dismiss his achievements during this period without understanding the conditions he and the BSA Group were operating in. Virtually through the whole of the 1950's, Britain as an entire country was utterly, totally, completely borassic. For whatever reasons, successive post-war Governments of both political hues decided not to accept US Marshall Plan help, but Britain would manufacture its way out of the financial hole that was WW2. So anything that required development or material expense that wasn't going to be exported never even got a look-in. His sprung hub and fork designs, far from being uncompetetive, were an inspired 'miracle with nothing' of the perenially-popular company joke. The reality in a lot of the world at the time was that any powered two-wheeler was better than an unpowered two-wheeler, which was better than Shanks Pony; whether or not your ptw bounced about a bit over the bumps really was not an issue for 99.9% of owners.

Originally Posted By: Matthew in TO
Turner did nothing to prepare Triumph to face the Japanese challenge in large capacity machines

On the contrary, imho Turner did as much as he could. He visited Japan, more than once, at a time when hatred of the Japanese from WW2 badly affected many decision-makers' thinking, in all walks of British life. However, as I say, Turner did not make major investment decisions and the BSA division he headed, although profitable, did not make the major contribution to the Group bottom-line that would've made securing the major investment easier.

If you've not done so already, I'd urge you to read both "Turner's Triumphs", for a more three-dimensional view of the man, and "Whatever Happened To The British Motorcycle Industry" by Bert Hopwood, if nothing else for an idea of the Group bureaucracy that continued to bedevil the succeeding head of BSA's Automotive/Motorcycle Division even as it became more and more important to the Group's financial health.

Originally Posted By: John Healy
Dennis Poore
As he said to me in a meeting we had in London, "I have a twin, why would I need another?"

Not to mention that, when the whole British automotive industry was a byword for militant union intransigence. Meriden had far-and-away the worst record of the three works in a financially-shaky company. frown

Originally Posted By: johnnyrvf
D. Poore might have been a good businessman but he like many other executives of the period did'nt understand what E.Turner did , that motorcycles are a passion, not an appliance. Johnny.

Again, like Matthew and ET, imho Poore has become another two-dimensional character in this episode of the British motorcycle industry; perhaps he needs a Mick Duckworth or Jeff Clew to write his biography to redress the balance? wink For instance, if he was just "a good businessman", he'd have just quietly stuck another knife in to BSA/Triumph (don't forget, at the time, he was the British government's blue-eyed boy) and kept the Government's cash for Norton. Imho, he had a perfectly good understanding of what was required to make motorcycles profitably in Britain, but he also had a perfectly good understanding of what was going to be detrimental to that goal and he wasn't sentimental.

>
Originally Posted By: meriden4ever
Originally Posted By: Brimor
M4E,
Don’t be shy.
How many ’s do you require as an advance?
laughing


speak to my agent ...! wink

Careful, M4E's a lawyer ... laughing

Regards,

#258436 - 06/10/09 5:04 pm Re: NEW BOOK on MERIDEN ! [Re: Stuart]  
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Stuart,
Every morning when i wake and see that iv'e still got a full head of hair, i thank God.
Every time i go to the shed and see my Bonnie, i thank Edward Turner.
I just read your post:
Britain as an entire country was utterly, totally, completely borassic.
Niether Webster's dictionary nor a search revealed the word 'borassic'.
Can you explain?


1978 Bonneville T140V PX
#258450 - 06/10/09 6:04 pm Re: NEW BOOK on MERIDEN ! [Re: JBMorris]  
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Stuart Online content
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Hi,

Originally Posted By: Brimor
Niether Webster's dictionary nor a search revealed the word 'borassic'.

laugh Rhyming slang - 'Borassic lint' (in reality an antiseptic powder-impregnated wound dressing) = skint (= broke?).

Hth.

Regards,

#258516 - 06/10/09 11:35 pm Re: NEW BOOK on MERIDEN ! [Re: Stuart]  
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John Healy Online content
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borassic

Dennis's wife was at that meeting I had with him in London. She spoke kindly about the (insert nasty word begining with f here) communist bastards that ran the unions in the midlands. Actually she was most endearing when she talked about the wonderful folk who worked at Meriden. I learned several bits of english slang that you wouldn't use when a lady was present. I thought I was at a cafe (in the true english meaning of the word) not in a posh English hotel.

Mick Duckworth has come over to the US and spent several days with Bob Myers... I am afraid he might have come away with a view from a different side of Dennis Poore.


#258581 - 06/11/09 8:45 am Re: NEW BOOK on MERIDEN ! [Re: JBMorris]  
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Originally Posted By: Brimor
Hi m4e,
Good link definitely.
Did you buy the book?


The Rosamond book is out next month. The Remus books are nice additions to any Triumph library, too, with their beautiful photography and a nice touch contratsing the Hinckley models with their Meriden/Small Heath namesakes (Bonneville, Rocket-3 etc.) .


1983 TR65T Tiger Trail
1983 TSSAV
1983 TSX
1983 TR65 Thunderbird
1982 TR7T Tiger Trail
#266767 - 07/26/09 7:29 am Re: NEW BOOK on MERIDEN ! [Re: meriden4ever]  
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I'm told that review copies have been sent to the trade press so keep your eyes peeled for the next (August) issue of Classic Bike etc

In UK there have been sit-ins at a couple fo factories; one was due to the workers not being paid a previously agreed redundancy package; the other, more Meriden-esque, was despite there being full order books, the company wants to close the plant down and move elxewhere. That one's still on-going but unlike Meriden, the police surounding the building ...


1983 TR65T Tiger Trail
1983 TSSAV
1983 TSX
1983 TR65 Thunderbird
1982 TR7T Tiger Trail
#266792 - 07/26/09 12:54 pm Re: NEW BOOK on MERIDEN ! [Re: meriden4ever]  
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m4e,
I think Ill keep an eye out for this one as my interest has been piqued after reading http://www.infibeam.com/Books/info/Hughi...1901295672.html
about six times now!


1978 Bonneville T140V PX
#266812 - 07/26/09 3:06 pm Re: NEW BOOK on MERIDEN ! [Re: JBMorris]  
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saw a preview copy today - looks the business- extremely well illustrated with unseen-before pics from the workers' own personal collections- vast, vast majority colour- looks excellent value for the price- it could sell for a fiver more, I think !

Launch date is 22/23 August at the Bonneville Celebration with the author in attendance signing copies

I undertsand an independent publicist has been appointed to widen market of book beyond bikers to the socio-political audience given the importance of the evnt in GB's industrial history

The topic is very relevant given what the state of the country is in today and the workers' recations

Last edited by meriden4ever; 07/26/09 3:08 pm.

1983 TR65T Tiger Trail
1983 TSSAV
1983 TSX
1983 TR65 Thunderbird
1982 TR7T Tiger Trail
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