From the Inside
BSA/Triumph’s Umberslade Hall Research Establishment Revealed
138 pages hard cover ISBN: 978-1-912009-82-4 Compass Publishing Available from author; email [email protected]look.fr Price: AUD $45.50 + AUD $14.00 P&P More information: www.bsa1971.com As if there weren’t enough mystery and intrigue going on in the ‘sixties to keep Britain’s most venerable motorcycle brands alive, then there was Umberslade Hall, sometimes cruelly referred to as Slumberslade Hall. It was BSA Managing Director Harry Sturgeon who pushed the idea that the combined BSA/Triumph group should have a dedicated Research and Development Centre, but following his untimely death in 1966, it was his successor Lionel Jofeh who decided to lease the grand mansion originally built between 16901702 for this purpose. BSA/Triumph took up residence in the spring of 1967 after a lengthy series of negotiations with the council over extensions and extra buildings that were needed to convert the property to its intended use. Brad Jones’ previous book, BSA Motorcycles – the final evolution’, traced the road to the grisly end of the marque, but this one focuses on the inside story of the management and decision making that ensued in what was a turbulent period. As the author says, “many time-worn myths and inaccuracies have been put to bed by speaking to some of those that were actually employed there (at Umberslade Hall)”. Jones has been able to access many previously hidden or thought-lost documents which contain details on the development of many of the motorcycles that resulted from the R&D centre. These include the DOHC 350 twins, the B50 range, the planned BSA and Triumph versions of the venerable parallel twins, and the Wankel rotary project. For the student of British motorcycle industry history, this book is an absolute must, for it raises as many questions as it answers. What might have been? Like the British industry itself, Umberslade Hall is now a shadow of its former grandeur, having been converted into apartments in 1978.