|Born 1871 Rip 1926 aged 54.
A Biography. Excerpts from
The London Times, The Autocar, and
The Australian Motorist Feb 1st 1927 pages 387-8
|Cars by era|
|Many people associated with motoring, have known of Sir Charles Friswell, and will regret his death at the early age of 54. In many ways he was a remarkable man, and owed his success in life to indomitable energy, combined with rare mechanical skill .From his engineering apprenticeship in his early days he opened a small cycle repair shop in Pentonville Road Nth London, where he toiled in a small back room at all the odd jobs which a cycle mechanic was called upon to do so.
Married in his early 20`s the couple participated in the first London to Brighton Rally in Nov 1896. His various moves were always swift, and proved suprising to his friends. From a small workshop in North London he suddenly emerged and blossomed out at a shop on Holborn Viaduct Newgate St by 1896. Later he opened extensive premises in Chiswick High Rd , and later, when he dropped his cycle depots, it was at premise at number 1 Albany St Regents Park, that he operated on a large scale from 1902.
In 1903 Mr Friswell was appointed the British and Colonial representative of the Peugeot Cars exporting to British colonies in India South Africa, Australia New Zealand and Japan, Siam. At these premises he formed Friswell (1906), Limited, on 15,000 English Pounds capital, as Agents, Auctioneers, and Dealers in Motor cars and Accessories.(London Times July 19 1906). Friswell sold the company to the share holders, then brought back in as the major share holder. With two other directors and Guy Lewin Manager and Director.
Friswell`s money allowed him to buy into Standard Motor Co, after visiting their stand at the November 1906 ;Olympia Motor Show . This came about by virtue that a 24/30 Standard flashed past him and his 40HP Peugeot broken down in the June 1906 Scottish Reliability Trial. Friswell arranged finance and new premises from Progress Motors in Widdrington Rd Coventry, for the Standard Motor Company. Friswell joined the Company as Managing Director by December 1906 (The Autocar Dec 1906).
Friswell 1906 Ltd, then becoming the sole selling agents of their entire stock for some years to come. Friswell Ltd first Autocar Standard Advert was Dec 29 1906.
The production of 6 cylinder Standard side entrance double phaeton body came with a 2 year guarantee .He had done much to cement the home country and the overseas dominions,notably at the time of the Imperial Press Conference, when he loaned at his own expense a fleet of 30 cars for the use of the delegates.Perhaps one of the greatest surprise he gave his friend was when in 1909 his name appeared in the honours list as Sir Charles Friswell.( Something he would not have got, selling Peugeot Cars).
His aspirations in that direction were not entirely unexpected,this man was a do`er
. The 30 Standards were used all chauffeur driven. At the Imperial Pressconference he gave to each of the delegates, in commemoration of the event, a handsome silver cigarette box, with a inscription of Mr Charles Friswell Complements Imperial Press Conference London 1909.(Autocar July 1909).
|Std 12 BL|
| Impressed in the lid Mr Charles Friswell Complinements
Imperial press conference London 1909.
Below count them Standard cars ready, with their chauffeurs,
Now folks ...In what Street, it would have to near Albany St.?
| A Very Standard race was held at Brooklands, in May, lead by Frizzy with Standards comming in 1st 2nd 3rd averaging 54mph, boys & their toys !! Incidentally he was the first Knight of the motor industry, at the age of 38 when he received the honour. Friswells Australian connection through Richard Miles importers, whom had bought a 20HP Standard in August 1907 to tour the far east finishing in Australia. Dalgety Stock, Station and Produce, Exporters Motor Agents, supplied a fleet of Standards in 1909 for Lord Kitchener, and his staff touring Australia, something to be said for using the Union Jack emblem.
In November 1910 Australia`s first motor exhibition, held by Dalgety's at 103-105 Exhibition St Melbourne. Initiated by Richards Miles, whom had become import agents for Friswell Ltd . The show was of Standards only, was valued at 15,000 UK Pounds of about 35 cars. Richards Miles registered a Standard in Adelaide a year later No 624. Richard Duncan of Fraser & Duncan the Standard dealer of Adelaide made a visit, prosumably by ship, as the road between was all but nonexsistant. Friswell went on to another high point in September 1911 when he arranged for 40 Standards to be used out in India for the King & Queens visit to Durbar suburb of Delhi. There were 6 main body types. Friswells annual trips abroad were noted many times in the Autocar, of what where Mr Mrs Friswell were.!
| Reg Maudslay on the other hand, was not of the same nature, he a hands on engineer, relying on the car to sell by its own merits. The 106 Albany St Regents Park outlet only opened 9 month before Friswell Ltd took over, then moved the dealership to No 1 Albany St. Charles Friswell's fall from grace came from the company he built up at their crucial time, in 1906 ending by Dec.1912. Reg Maudslay was of opinion, the 9*5hp small car was the way to go. The Standard Motor Company came from near bankrupt in 1906, the company fortunes grew, to a contemporary of Rolls Royce by 1911, all through the entrepreneurial genius of Charles Friswell. Reg the humble engineer, Charles the salesman/engineer fell apart, both aged 40, the 9*5hp bringing it to a head, departing in Dec 1912. Having made it`s mark in the motor industry, Friswells Ltd become a ;clearing house of all makes, picking up the 11HP Knight-Junior dealership to little success. 1914 WW 1, brought about early retirement from business. His retirement created yet another surprise, for those, who knew him, anticipated that a man of his energy and enterprise would continue in the industry. He returned to Ewhurst in Surrey contemplated not a life of ease, as he had one of the best equipped private engineering workshops in the kingdom, and here he devoted himself to all sorts of schemes, for he was one of those men who could do almost any sort of mechanical job.
He had not been particular prominent in motoring circles during the past few years, but all who knew him in the old days,will deplore his death at such an early age on 6 Feb 1926.
Content Copyright © 1999 Brian Rawson