The Michelin Archive and Stoke-on-Trent City Archives

Records show that Michelin tyres were first available in the United Kingdom as early as 1891. They were of course imports. Their quality and appeal led to the need to establish a commercial organisation in London and in 1905 the Michelin Tyre Company Limited was born.

Trade increased and for a few years some products were manufactured in a small facility in Barking. However, a specially designed “new” London office, known as Michelin House, was built on Fulham Road, Chelsea and was declared open in January 1911.

By the mid 1920’s Michelin was determined that UK production was needed and a location for a factory was sought. The City of Stoke-on-Trent leaders saw the enormous potential for employment and agreed with the Company terms and conditions advantageous to both parties. The Stoke factory was built, made its first tyre in late 1927 and was designated the new UK Headquarters of the Company.

Over the years this site became one of the largest factories in North Staffordshire and at its height employed more than 10,000 workers. More factories were built at Aberdeen, Ballymena, Belfast, Burnley, and Dundee to meet the needs of an expanding tyre market both at home and overseas. To manage the distribution of these tyres a network of Michelin depots and sales offices evolved throughout the British Isles and Ireland, but the UK Group headquarters remained at Stoke.

The Michelin factory at Ballymena

It is with this background of close liaison and historical ties to the City of Stoke-on-Trent that this joint project for the enhancement and public sharing of Michelin UK’s heritage began. As a result of this longstanding association a large proportion of the materials relate to the Stoke headquarters scene and the people that worked in or passed through it.

However, we do have contributions and references from all Michelin UK locations which we regularly discover and will continue to include on the site.

The Michelin factory at Dundee