July 2020: Kingswood Heritage Museum
Douglas Motorcycles - the pride of our area
THE Douglas Motorcycle factory that was situated in Kingswood produced motorcycles from 1907 to 1957. It was especially known for its horizontally opposed twin cylinder engined bikes and as a manufacturer of racing machines, and employed up to 3,000 people.
At one time in the early 20th century the Douglas Motorcycle factory was the largest motorcycle factory in the world. Its racing bikes won many competitions in the hands of both men and women, including 150 races across the world in just one year in the 1930’s.
Douglas was a major motorcycle supplier to the British Army during World War 1, producing around 25,000 motorcycles for military dispatch riders.
Kingswood Heritage Museum houses a collection of seven perfectly maintained motorbikes produced by the Douglas Motorcycle factory. The Museum display contains examples of some of the earliest Douglas 'bikes and other items manufactured by the factory. These include a Vespa scooter, made under licence in the 1950s and fitted with a sidecar, and a World War I military dispatch rider motorcyle.
Every year the Museum hosts the Douglas Cavalcade, a display organised by the Douglas Motorcycle Club.
Sir Tony Robinson, the Museum’s patron, is pictured (below) astride a Douglas motorcycle with Bill Douglas, a Trustee of the Museum and grandson of the founder of the Douglas Motorcycle Company.