Parry Lane in Bradford has been the headquarters of Mansfield Pollard & Co. Ltd for almost 40 years. It appears that manufacturing of world class products and a pioneering engineering spirit stretches back far longer than our tenure at this historic site…….
A chance comment by our Chairman, Alan Pollard prompted further investigation into the history of our building which was previously the commercial vehicle department for Central Garages Ltd. Of Bradford. At the turn of the 20thCentury, Central Garages Ltd were the main Yorkshire distributors of Austin, Bentley, Humber, Lagonda and Armstrong Siddeley cars:
The Suez Crisis in the late 1950’s had slowed sales and Central Garage needed to find new markets. Cliff Hobson, the Works Director at Central Garage was experienced in the design and build of cabin cruisers pre-war and fitting out motor torpedo boats during hostilities, he identified a niche in the market for a luxury motor caravan. A so, in Parry Lane, Bradford, Britain’s first new generation coach-built motorcaravan was born, the ‘Paralanian’ (named after where it was built).
The prototype, produced in 1956, used a Morris Commercial/Austin J2 as its base. Rugged and reliable, the ‘cab-over’ layout provided plenty of space on which to build the luxury accommodation. The commodious bodywork allowed space for a cooker and fridge, with room to stand up straight and live in considerable comfort. The design was a true team effort even including the works secretary for advice on fabrics, materials and furnishings
At this time motorcaravans were quite rare due to the prohibitive taxes and other legislation. The prototype was exhibited 1957 and generated a number of orders so decision was taken to gamble and commence production in February 1958. Luckily, a few months later legislation changed which included the removal of purchase tax if certain requirements were met. One of these conditions was the fitting of a wardrobe – a quick redesign to meet this resulted in the MK II model (The MKI had only the option of a wardrobe).
100 Years of Quality and counting…..
Dubbed ‘The Aristocrat of Camper Vans’ by its makers, production continued until the mid- ‘60s when Central Garage was sold to the Lookers Group and Paralanian to Spen Coachbuilders in 1965.
A world renowned, high quality, pioneering and industry leading engineering product from Parry Lane, Bradford, not a lot has changed over the last 100 years or so really……….
1928 Yorkshire Post and Leeds Intelligencer – Wednesday 06 June 1928 Image © Johnston Press plc. Image created courtesy of THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD. All rights reserved. Image reproduced with kind permission of The British Newspaper Archive (www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk).