Skip to main content

Sigfried Bettman's Home Gets Blue Plaque

Surely there’s no better place to celebrate the life of someone who has contributed greatly to their home city than putting a blue plaque onto the house where they lived or worked. One who’s life story has largely been forgotten is Siefried Bettmann who lived at Elm Bank in North Avenue for more than 40 years. As founder of the Triumph marque, he came to Coventry to make bicycles more than 100 years ago. Motorcycle and car making by his company would follow over the next four decades.

Through Les Fawcett, a member of our committee, a link was forged with Stoke Park Residents Group, and the Society commissioned a blue plaque to attach to the front of Bettmann’s Victorian mansion.

On a delightful sunny September afternoon The Lord Mayor, Councillor Michael Hammon and Lady Mayoress, Ms Mary Maginniss, arrived to do the honours. In his address prior to the unveiling he told an audience of some 40 how his family home had been in Lower Stoke just down the road from the Bettmann residence. How he had grown up there when the Bettmanns still lived at Elm Bank, making it an extra pleasure to be asked to unveil the blue plaque.

Among the other guests that Society Chairman, Keith Draper welcomed were Miles Perkins and Charles Strange of Triumph Motorcycles at Hinckley who had financed the making of the plaque. Also present was the National Motorcycle Museum that had brought along early examples of bikes made by Triumph; the Triumph Owners’ Club and Vintage Motorcycle Club. Cars were represented by TR models owned by Dave Dunkley and Dave Atkins.

In his address our Chairman recalled how the Bettmanns were passionate about their adopted city. In the early days they formed the Annie Bettmann Foundation to help young men and women between the ages of 18 and 29 to start up their own business. The Foundation survives to this day.

►Motorcycles made by Siegfried’s company became known as the ’Trusty Triumph, because they were so reliable. Then more than 30,000 machines were made for the British Army and allied forces during the First World War.

►Siegfried’s first car was launched in 1923 and produced some very fine vehicles in the 1930s. Sadly Triumph went into receivership in 1939. By this time the motorcycle side of the business had been split off when the Priory Street works was purchased by Ariel’s Jack Sangster.

►The Triumph marque continued after the war in the ownership of the Standard Motor Company. The last Triumph to leave Canley production line was in 1980.

►The Triumph motorcycle story continues with the Hinckley firm making some of the world’s most stunning bikes.

Bettmann Plaque unveiling

Bettmann plaque unveiling

Bettmann plaque

Reader Comments (0)

There are currently no comments on this article. Why not be the first and leave your thoughts below.

Leave Your Comment

Please keep your comment on topic, any inappropriate comments may be removed.

Return to index