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Plaque Unveiled In Memory Of Siddeley

Coventry industrialist and philanthropist John Siddeley has had a plaque unveiled in his memory – on a site once occupied by his factories.

Siddeley, later Baron Kenilworth, founded his first car company in Coventry in 1902 and went on to play a major role in establishing the city’s aviation industry. Behind the scenes, he was also a generous benefactor to Coventry, helping to endow the new cathedral, assisting Coventry City football club to buy its Highfield Road stadium and giving from his own art collections to the Herbert Art Gallery.

The commemorative plaque has been installed on a wall especially built for it by students from the School of Construction and the Built Environment at Coventry Technical College.

It is the fifth in a series of Coventry Heritage Plaques following similar memorials to the poet Philip Larkin, cycle pioneer James Starley, Irish poet John Hewitt and jet engine inventor Frank Whittle.

Members of the Armstrong Siddeley Owner’s Club and the Rolls Royce Heritage Trust will be present at the ceremony.

Peter Walters, spokesman for Coventry and Warwickshire Promotions, said,

"I think it’s fair to say that John Siddeley has not received the recognition he deserves in Coventry. Our plaque is a small acknowledgement of his massive contribution to the city, both as industrialist and benefactor. We believe that its setting, on Coventry University’s new and exciting technology park is something that he would have felt was entirely appropriate."


Born near Manchester, John Siddeley was one of many gifted engineers attracted by Coventry’s fledgling automotive industry. He founded what became Armstrong Siddeley, a forerunner of Rolls Royce, and also set up the Sir W G Armstrong Whitworth Aircraft Company. He was knighted in 1932 and made Baron Kenilworth five years later. He died in 1953.

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