Saturday, August 04, 2018

Archers (Shirley) Limited - Triumph Car Dealers 69

Archers Standard advert 1937
Archers Standard advert 1937
This article is about Archers (Shirley) Limited, Stratford Road, Shirley and is number 69 in my continuing series about Standard Triumph car dealers.  At the time of the advert below Shirley was a district of greater Birmingham - it is now a part of Solihull a district within the West Midlands of the United Kingdom.
Archers 1954 Standard advert
Archers 1954 Standard advert
Archers (Shirley) Ltd of Solihull advert in Autocar 18 Oct 1957
Archers (Shirley) Ltd of Solihull advert in Autocar 18 Oct 1957

A brief history of Archers (Shirley) Limited

Archers (Shirley) Limited the company was formed in 14 April 1948.  It was finally dissolved after a long time dormant in 2 January 2018.  In July 1973 there were 6 members of the Archer family who held shares in the business.  I believe the business was acquired by Evans Halshaw and at some point was owned by Barclays Bank.
 Built the in the 1930's the garage on Stratford Road, Shirley included a cafe.
Archers 1930's cafe
Archers 1930's cafe

It was reported in the Standard Triumph Review December 1964.

Thirty-four years of successful trading of Standard and Triumph cars has resulted in Archers (Shirley) Ltd, Solihull, Warwickshire, becoming distributors for Standard-Triumph Ltd, from October this year.

It was in 1930 that the firm received their appointment for the then Standard Motor Company, but the success story began as far back as 1909 when Mr. William Bennett Archer, realising the potentialities of a small area of land on the corner of Marshall Lake Road and Stratford Road, purchased
the site.

In 1928 a petrol station was built, to be followed shortly afterwards by a repair depot. Two years later further land was bought, and in 1934 a showroom was erected. A lubrication bay was added in 1939, and ten years later a greatly enlarged repair works was opened.

Present staff now totals more than 85, many of whom have been with the company for twenty or more years.

Founder of the company, Mr. W. B. Archer, at the age of 85, still takes an interest in the firm, and the present directors, Messrs. Gordon and Bernard Archer, both have sons who intend to continue in the family tradition of one Triumph after another.
Archers (Shirley) Limited letter 24 June 1961
Archers (Shirley) Limited letter 24 June 1961

Midland Motor Show

From front to rear: Spitfire Mark II, Vitesse,
2000 Saloon, 2000 Estate and 1300.

The centre attraction, comprising Bill
Bradley's Le Mans Spitfire, the gold plated
2000 and the original 1907 Veteran Standard.

Archers (Shirley) Ltd, Standard-Triumph distributors for the County Borough of Solihull, held a Triumph Motor Show at the Solihull Civic Hall on 26 and 27 January 1966. The Show was the first ever to be organized by a motor trader in the area and apart from the final success of the venture, the exhibition proved to be a very interesting experiment.

Having gained the support of the trade in general, made sure all the necessary models were in stock and having worked in close liaison with the Factory Publicity Department, the basis of the show was
founded. To make an attractive centrepiece for the layout the unique gold plated 2000, Bill Bradley's Le Mans Spitfire G.T. and the original 1907 Standard were brought in. To add lighter entertainment a continuous film show was arranged in another part of the Hall.

The setting up of the Show was carried out very smoothly, thanks to a little preplanning and the help of an enthusiastic band of Archer's employees. As a real eye-catcher a white 1300 was put on the stage, complete with the factory display unit. With a variety of spot lights and floodlights bearing down on it the car looked really splendid.

The evening of the 26th was taken up by a Cocktail Party for 350 guests, who enjoyed an informal preview of the Show, together with a Film Show and Buffet.  This successful evening was enhanced by the friendly atmosphere which prevailed throughout.  Mr. Harry Webster, Director and Chief
Designer of Standard-Triumph, was present, as was Mr. Lyndon Mills, who gave an excellent speech in thanking Messrs. Gordon and Bernard Archer for the evening's entertainment.

The following day the Show was opened to the public and became busy during the latter part of the morning and afternoon and a large crowd was expected in the evening.

A whole fleet of demonstration cars was available, of which the 1300 was never out of action.

As far as the 'large crowd in the evening' was concerned, this can truthfully be said to be an exceptional understatement.  From 6-30 p.m. to 10 p.m. a never-ending queue of people arrived to see the Show.  Looking at the hall at one stage one could barely see the cars for the mass of people and it was five deep all round the 1300.  None of the Triumph range was roped off and this enabled the public to take a very close look at them.

The evening was graced by the presence of the Duke of Bedford, who consented to carry out the draw for a free Archer's Voucher and proceeded to frighten the directors not a little, by announcing to the assembled throng that in fact the draw was for a free 1300!

An estimated 4,000 people attended and very many people expressed their enjoyment of the evening and Archer's were equally pleased with the most impressive response to the occasion.

50th Anniversary

Archers 50th anniversary glass
Archers 50th anniversary glass 
On the 50th anniversary of the founding of Archers of Shirley a number of commemorative items were made. I was sent this photo by rogerguzzi a midlands member of the TSSC. The glass is inscribed "50 Archers 50th Anniversary 1928-1978".

Show and Service week 5 to 9 October 1959

engineers at work in the Service Department
A buffet, cocktail party and film show for Standard-Triumph customers were features of a Show and Service Week staged by Archers (Shirley) Ltd of Shirley, Solihull, Warwickshire. There was display for visitors to the Showroom and Service Department and Herald demonstration cars were in continuous use. Two hundred customers accepted the invitation to the cocktail party, held at the Regency Club, Shirley. During the week 150 Standard-Triumph cars were checked by the Standard Motor Company's Service Engineers.
a section of the Showroom

Towards 2000

"Towards 2000 A.D." was the theme for the Solihull (Warwickshire) Carnival on 29 May 1965. Standard-Triumph distributors Archers (Shirley) Ltd borrowed an Albion tractor and trailer from
Leyland Motors Ltd, and decorated it to suit the theme.  They added a Triumph 2000 with a "space girl" appearing through the sunshine roof. "Robin Hood", "Little John", "Maid Marion" and "Friar Tuck" emphasised the "Archers" tie up, and to complete the occasion the float won the first prize in the Trade Section.

Window stickers

Plea for information

If you have any more information or recollections about Archers (Shirley) Limited, photos of window stickers, dealer badges or sill plates etc please let me know. I can be contacted via the comments to this post or on facebook at

Further information and sources

I have written about several Standard Triumph dealers in Birmingham and the West Midlands.

Link to the other articles in this series.

Link to facebook page: Triumph Car Dealers.

Link to my Triumph Car Dealers Flickr group .

I have a collection of Standard Triumph car dealer directories:

Picture credits: Archers 1954 Standard advert from John on flickr; Archers 50th anniversary glass rogerguzzi on the tssc forum; photo of Archers 1930's cafe + black and white street scence from; Archers Standard advert 1937 from ChrisAllen;

No comments: