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Matchless factory pic
Matchless factory (c.1960)
Corner of Burrage Grove and Maxey Road


This website aims to throw some light on the people whose enthusiasm for motor bikes drew them to work at the Plumstead Road, S E London factory of Associated Motor Cycles, where the world-famous products of Matchless, AJS and (latterly) Norton were designed, manufactured and assembled.

As well as giving a general history of the factory, this website hopes to provides an in-depth look at each of the many departments in turn, giving an insight into the day-to-day work undertaken, the tools and machinery employed and the various skills of the workforce necessary to undertake the tasks involved in playing their part in the production of a large range of first-class motorcycles.

Information on known personnel is included on each department page, all of which has have been extracted from a list painstakingly compiled over many years by several ex-AMC employees, without the benefit of access to official company records. In consequence, there will be numerous omissions and inaccuracies which we hope, with help, may be rectified over time.


You can use the Navigation Panel (left) to access the main website pages and then follow the embedded links to the many sub-pages, articles and diagrams or, if you are already familiar with the site's contents, jump straight to the required location using this hierarchical Shortcut List.

The content on the site represents the combined knowledge of the authors who both served apprenticeships in the factory, followed by several years in the Design and Drawing Offices, back in the 1960s.

As around fifty years has passed since then, memories have faded and hard information has become ever more difficult to find, and to verify what we remember. So, if you have had any contact with the factory over its years of existence, and have any information, corrections, pictures, etc. that you feel would enhance the site, please contact the authors who would be very grateful for your contributions to this ongoing project.

Thanks for coming along for the ride.


Mar 2022
A bulletin issued by The Collectors' Club in 1961 has been added to the Links page. It covers some of the history of the founding members of the Matchless Motor Cycle Company, as related by Bert Colver, a close friend and long-time work colleague of the Collier family. You can access the pdf document via the 'Collectors' Club' icon on the Links page or by using this shortcut Bulletin - Bert Colver

Feb 2022
A translation of the text of the Dutch article 'This is How Your AJS and Matchless is made' has been accomplished and the four-part report on a tour of the AMC factory workshops, assembly and racing departments is now reproduced as close to the original as possible.
You can access the pdf document via the 'Motor' icon on the Links page or by using this shortcut This is How Your AJS and Matchless is made

Feb 2022
A supplementary page entitled 'Where There's a Road' has been added, linked to the Publicity section of the Offices page. It discloses the story behind an iconic early '50s advertisement, coupled with a collection of associated photographs.
You can access it via this shortcut Where There's a Road

Jan 2022
Another couple of group photos have been added to the Assembly page. Your help would be appreciated in identifying several of the unknown image-mapped faces.

Dec 2021
A collection of photographs, originally used to illustrate an article in the Dutch Motor magazine, entitled 'This is How Your AJS and Matchless is made', has been added to the Links page.
You can also access the pdf file via this shortcut This is How Your AJS and Matchless is made

Feb 2021
A link to a recently discovered batch of 16-photos, showing various Assembly Shop personnel (and others), has been added to the Assembly page.
You can also access them via this shortcut Assembly Extra Pics
Help is needed to put names to many of the faces shown.

Extra pics also added to the Race Shop and Packing pages

Jun 2020
Two pictures, that formed the end pages of the 1929 Matchless sales brochure have been added to the list of Cover Pages images. Under the heading of 'How Matchless motorcycles are made', they feature a selection of illustrations of various processes undertaken at the factory.

May 2020
Bob Cakebread divulges the dark secrets of restoring an ex-works test bike whilst surviving on an apprentice's wage (with the help of several of the firm's workforce) in a story linked to the Apprentices page, or via this shortcut: One Piece at a Time .

Apr 2020
Les Apps has submitted a humorous recollection of his early days in the Design Office to the Remembering Tony Denniss page.

Mar 2020
Extra photo added to Testing page showing group around police specification bike. Extra photo added to the Scrapbook page showing John McDermott of the publicty department posing on a 250 AJS in front of the Cutty Sark.

Mar 2020
Another Design supplementary page has been added that features colleagues' recollections of AMC Drawing Office manager, Tony Denniss, as well as other references to his motorcycle industry career.
You can use this shortcut link Remembering Tony Denniss to view the contents.