Arthur Mulliner was the 20th century name of a coachbuilding business founded in Northampton in 1760 which remained in family ownership. The business was acquired by Henlys Limited in 1940 and lost its separate identity.
Henry Mulliner (1827-1887) of Leamington Spa was the second son of Francis Mulliner (1789-1841) of Northampton and Leamington Spa and a direct descendant of the Mulliner who built the business making mail coaches in Northampton around 1760. Henry and his wife born Ann Robson had six sons and six daughters
Henry's brothers were:
Henry's second son Colonel Arthur Felton Mulliner (1859-1946), born and raised in Leamington Spa, who had been managing the works in Northampton married in September 1887 the eldest daughter of the founder of Northampton's Albion Steam Brewery (see Ratliffe's Celebrated Stout). Soon after his father's death in November 1887 Arthur announced in the Northampton Mercury he would carry on the business of the late firm of H Mulliner & Co Limited of Northampton, Leamington and Warwick in the same Northampton premises in Bridge Street on his own account.
Arthur Mulliner took the Northampton coachbuilding business into the construction of motor car bodies and by the beginning of 1899 Northampton had built over 150 mainly on Daimler chassis. The relationship with the Daimler business was close.
In July 1897 two lady journalists from The Gentlewoman were driven by Arthur Mulliner in a Daimler (the 75 miles) from Northampton to their offices in Arundel Street, off the Strand in London. They reported the sensation to be like "tobogganing or riding on a switchback railway". They asked Mulliner why he called the car "she", he said because "it took a man to manage her". To prove Mulliner wrong they both took the controls during the journey south.
Business boomed during the 1920s with orders for bodies on Armstrong Siddeley and Vauxhall cars being exhibited at the 1920 London Motor Show.
In 1907 a new sales office and works was opened in Long Acre, London.
In the 1930s although orders for the more traditional makers such as Derby's Rolls-Royce and Bentley continued, large production runs from the middle market makers were proving harder to get and in 1940 the business was sold to the car distributor Henlys which closed the coach building business and dropped the name after Arthur's death in 1946 but kept the sales and marketing operation which lasted until 1976.
A few years before the first World War some aeroplanes were developed and built in a converted ice skating rink at the Battersea, London works - 2 to 16 Vardens Road, Battersea.
Herbert Hall Mulliner. In the mid 1880s Arthur's brother H H Mulliner (1861-1924) started a coachbuilding business in Birmingham because Leamington Spa had fallen out of fashion and that coachbuilding business became Mulliners (Birmingham).
Henry Jervis Mulliner. In 1900 the motor-car part of the London operation jointly owned by Mulliner Northampton and Mulliner Liverpool [note 1] was purchased by H J Mulliner (1870-1967), son of R B Mulliner (1830-1902) of Chiswick and he put its ownership into his company formed in 1897, H J Mulliner Limited.