Triumph founder honoured
The Lord Mayor of Coventry, Councillor Michael Hammon, unveiled a blue plaque tribute to one of the city’s automotive pioneers on Saturday. 64 years after his death, Siegfried Bettmann – the founder of Triumph Motorcycles – was commemorated for his role in the birth of the British motorcycle and car industries.
The blue plaque, which is displayed at his home in North Avenue, Stoke Park, celebrates a true visionary in the progression of the City’s automotive and motorcycle industries, which boasted such names as Riley, Alvis, Humber and Rover to name a few. Marking 88 years of commitment and dedication, the memorial will act as a reminder of Coventry’s automotive pedigree.
Bettmann, who began his career as an aspiring entrepreneur, founded the Triumph Cycle Company in 1886. In 1902, alongside his business partner Moritz Shulte, Bettmann unveiled the very first Triumph motorcycle – a decision that placed Coventry on the map as the hometown for one of the world’s most influential names in two-wheeled automotive excellence.
Establishing Coventry’s Chamber of Commerce, before becoming Mayor in 1913, Bettmann became synonymous with inspiring business excellence in the City. Despite his vigorous support of the British war effort, due to his German roots, Bettmann was advised to relinquish his position as mayor of the city, as well as other public offices, at the outbreak of WW1. The unveiling of this blue plaque goes some way to recognising Bettmann’s significant contribution to the UK’s motor industry, and especially the pivotal role he played in the birth of the Triumph.
Bettmann lived to the ripe old age of 88 and died peacefully at his home in Stoke Green, Coventry in 1951. Triumph Motorcycles, his early business success story, is now one of the world’s most respected automotive brands, selling approximately 54,500 motorcycles worldwide from its headquarters in Hinckley, Leicestershire.
Alongside the plaque’s unveiling, representatives from The Coventry Society and Coventry City Council presented a collection of Bettmann’s historical records, while staff from Triumph Motorcycles, The National Motorcycle Museum and the Triumph Owners Club arrived on a collection of historic and modern bikes to pay tribute to the company’s founding father.