Friday, August 19, 2016

Redditch family's history tied to Royal Enfield

Royal Enfield sidecar outfit serves with the factory fire brigade.
Three intriguing photographs hit my email recently. One showed a dashing man in uniform riding a Royal Enfield sidecar rig. The sidecar was an enormous box structure.

Another showed the pre-war Royal Enfield factory fire brigade, and the last was the big "Royal Enfield" sign on the roof of the old factory in Redditch, Worcestershire, UK.

The source of the photos was Lynne Andrews, who labelled the email "My Grandad."

Her grandfather, H. Andrews, is second from right in the first row of the fire brigade group photo, which was taken in 1938. Judging by the row of medals on his chest (and the fact that he is seated in the front row) he must have been one of the more experienced brigade members by then.

H. Andrews is second from right, first row, in this 1938 photo of the factory fire brigade.
And that's him, too, on the Royal Enfield sidecar rig, Lynne wrote.

"Yes my grandad Harry Andrews senior is 'modeling' the bike and sidecar...

"Sadly my grandad died when my dad (also Harry Andrews) was 12...

The picture of the roof "was just to show you... the name on the roof (which my dad painted!!!). He was a painter,decorator and sign writer and also worked a short time at the Enfield (factory) like his dad before.

Lynne says her father painted the Royal Enfield sign on the factory roof.
(It's actually set in roof tiles but would have been brightened up with paint.)
"My grandad, grandma, dad and his sister lived in Hewell Road opposite the main entrance of the Royal Enfield factory. I remember staying with them and hearing the 'bull' go off at lunch time. It scared me as a child as I thought it similar to an air raid siren (of which I obviously had never experienced but heard it on films.)"

Lynne said she has lived her whole life in Redditch, and she provided a YouTube link to a lovely home movie of Redditch, shot in the 1960s.

But she wasn't able to provide much more information about her grandfather's connection to the UK home of Royal Enfield.

She did supply a clipping of the obituary for H. Andrews, which verifies he was with the Enfield company fire brigade.

Obituary identifies H. Andrews as a member
of the Enfield Fire Brigade for more than 12 years..
As for the Royal Enfield sidecar outfit, one can only assume it's full of fire fighting equipment.

There is a 1925 photo of a very similar Royal Enfield sidecar outfit on the Internet. Posing with it are women firefighters of the Achille Serre, Ltd. company. This was a large dry cleaning establishment. Like Royal Enfield, it was so large it had its own fire brigade, staffed by women.

Similar Royal Enfield fire fighting outfit
in photo of all-women fire brigade.
The fire-fighting Royal Enfield sidecar rigs appear very similar.


  1. At 2:15 of the home movie one can see on the right the big building that was an old cinema and now is The Royal Enfield Pub. At 6:56 the building at the left of the Woolworth store was the A. Bell and Co. which sold Royal Enfields before World War II. At 7:05 there is a shot of Church Green St. where the post World War II dealership was, but I cannot identify it.

  2. hi ..I just came across your article based on my grandad again , I've featured it on our new Redditch fb group page


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