A curricle, 1806
A curricle, 1806
A limousine, 1937 on a Rolls-Royce Phantom III chassis
A limousine, 1937
on a Rolls-Royce Phantom III chassis

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.

Mulliner Northampton

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[1]

Henry's brothers were:

Family tree
Family tree

Arthur Mulliner

early motorcar body byMulliner of Northamptonfor Sir Alfred HerbertNapier chassis
early motorcar body by
Mulliner of Northampton
for Sir Alfred Herbert
Napier chassis

Henry's second son Colonel Arthur Felton Mulliner (1859-1946), born and raised in Leamington Spa,[1] who had been managing the works in Northampton[4] 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.[5]

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.[3] The relationship with the Daimler business was close.

Sports saloon 1933 on a Rolls-RoycePhantom II Continental chassis
Sports saloon 1933 on a Rolls-Royce
Phantom II Continental chassis

First manufacturer-organised press road test

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.[6]

Business boomed during the 1920s with orders for bodies on Armstrong Siddeley and Vauxhall cars being exhibited at the 1920 London Motor Show.[7]

In 1907 a new sales office and works was opened in Long Acre, London.[7]

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[7] 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.

Aeroplanes

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.[8]

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.[9]

Premises

Northampton

London

Cars by Arthur Mulliner of London and Northampton

Sports saloon 1935Bentley 3½-litre chassis
Sports saloon 1935
Bentley 3½-litre chassis
Open tourer 1935Rolls-Royce 20/25 chassis
Open tourer 1935
Rolls-Royce 20/25 chassis
Sports saloon 1936Rolls-Royce Phantom III chassis
Sports saloon 1936
Rolls-Royce Phantom III chassis

Notes

  1. ^ Mulliner Motor Body Co., Liverpool and Church Accrington. Augustus Greville Mulliner born 1861 was in ill-health and died aged 43 in Davos Switzerland 22 February 1905

References

  1. ^ a b c d Censuses 1841 through to 1911, official records of Births Deaths and Marriages 1837 through to 1983
  2. ^ formal notice of the dissolution of the Leamington partnership with brother Henry appears in The London Gazette 17 June 1856, page 2143
  3. ^ a b c George Arthur Oliver, A History of Coach Building. Cassell, London 1962 (with foreword by Col. H J Mulliner)
  4. ^ Warwick County Court, Leamington Spa Courier Saturday 21 May 1887
  5. ^ Arthur Mulliner, Northampton Mercury Saturday 14 April 1888
  6. ^ page 47 Lord Montagu and David Burgess-Wise Daimler Century ; Stephens 1995 ISBN 1-85260-494-8
  7. ^ a b c Nick Walker, A-Z of British Coachbuilders Bay View Books 1997. ISBN 1-870979-93-1
  8. ^ page 92, C E Rankin Kennedy, The Principles of Aeroplane Construction, D Van Nostrand Company, New York, 1911
  9. ^ Martin Bennett, Bentley Continental: Corniche & Azure Second Edition Veloce Publishing, Dorchester 2010. ISBN 9781845842109
  10. ^ Mulliner, Long Acre, London, and Northampton, Ltd. The Times, Monday, Nov 07, 1910; pg. 6; Issue 39423
  11. ^ Political Notes. The Times, Friday, Apr 19, 1912; pg. 7; Issue 39877
  12. ^ Arthur Mulliner, Ltd. The Times, Friday, Nov 02, 1923; pg. 18; Issue 43488