About this image
Humber and Company Limited was founded by Thomas Humber (1841-1910) at Beeston, Nottinghamshire, in 1869. Thomas Humber had earlier opened his pedal-cycle works in Sheffield, then expanded to Stretton Street, Nottingham, in 1868, to produce a diamond frame cycle that was described at the time as a curious looking contraption. In spite of this, Humber quickly earnt a name for producing a quality article and soon outgrew the capacity of his shop, and thus moved to Beeston, and turned his business into a limited liability company with Thomas Humber as general manager. (He further developed his business by building a works in Wolverhampton and, in 1889, Coventry.) Humber Motorcycles were constructed in 1895, the first Humber car in 1899. Although Beeston originally dabbled with the abortive Pennington car project, the first engine-driven, Humber-badged, machines from Beeston were motor tricycles and quadricycles, followed by tricars. The first cars had two- or four-cylinder engines, but they were succeeded by the tiny single-cylinder-engined Humberette (literally, 'small Humber') in 1903. By 1908 the company ceased production of cars in Beeston due to trading losses (probably because the Beeston cars were manufactured to a higher standard than its Coventry counterparts and were more costly). In 1932 Raleigh bought out the Humber Cycles Division. The Beeston factory was located on the huge block of land between Humber Road, Queens Road and Hassocks Lane. Only parts of the factory remain, such as the section on Humber Road, on the sides of which, above the windows are the medallions of the Humber Company.