Leading Motor Engineers (King & Harper)

  • Theme - Local Industry
  • Year - 1932
  • Location - Cambridge
  • Filmmaker - William King


This is a promotional film for King & Harper Ltd, owners of a garage and filling station on Milton Road in Cambridge. One of the directors, Mr William King, was a keen amateur film maker and was responsible for filming many of his business activities. King and Harper were a successful company. What started as a bicycle hire business soon expanded to four major sites around Cambridge at 6 & 7 Bridge Street, Thompson's Lane, Milton Road and Hills Road.

As well as motor car repairs and petrol sales, King and Harper were dealers in new and used cars and bikes and later had their own department store selling up to date electrical goods like radios, TVs and fridges. King & Harper showcased many of the latest cars, motor cycles and bicycles that were on the market in the early 1930s, including vehicles by Morris, Rover, Standard, MG, BSA, and Hercules. At the height of their success, the company employed over 200 staff.

The film was shot in 1932 at King & Harper's premises on Thompson's Lane and Bridge Street, at the after-sales workshop and at the filling stations on Milton Road and Hills Road.

During the Second World War King and Harper's engineering expertise was invaluable. Their mechanics were regularly called upon to maintain and supply fuel to heavy military vehicles.
Once again, King was able to film some scenes of the work they were involved in during the war.


Member Comments (3)

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  • Because I`ve lived in Cambridge all my life, (58 years so far) its been interesting to watch the films made by William King and his son Ken.. Seeing how Cambridge and the surrounding area has changed so much over the decades. I`ve managed to recognise most of the locations, but the scene where the cyclist leaves the garage In Bridge Street in Cambridge on his motorised cycle and then arrives at a thatched roof cottage somewhere in the countryside has puzzled me as to the location & how the location looks now. The film is in colour & dated either as 1947 or 1951. If Geoff King or any family member is able to help, it would be most appreciated by me as I`ve spent many hours looking at old maps & google street scenes , so far with no result. Regards, Steve G.By: Steve Gruszecki - 267 days ago
  • Hi,
    I'm researching my ancestry and am trying to confirm a family 'legend' that my great uncle George Haynes was injured when the clock tower at K&H on Hills Road collapsed, some time in the 1950's!
    I wonder if anyone looking at this site might be able to confirm any such incident!

    PS - I'm not seeking damages of any sort!By: Stephen Haynes - 534 days ago
  • My grandfather William King started this business as Kings Motor Bicycles Iin 1900 and he built motorcycles and raced them. He also exhibited at the 1903 Motor Show at Crystal Palace and did keep on the cycle business. He went into partnership with Mr Harper and started the firm King and Harper.He was a keen amateur film maker and made many films in conjunction with his son Ken King (my father) including some early colour film of pre-war New York and some interesting film he made in Germany in 1938.. By: Geoff King - 2501 days ago
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