From the Archive: Preserving the southwest’s motoring heritage

Following several decades of motoring, trading, and rallying in the southwest of England, an assembly of all things steam and motor related has established into an archive of industrial heritage and automobilia at Berrybrook.

Of particular interest to motor enthusiasts in the southwest of England, is the collection of unique letters, brochures, catalogues, and invoices, published and distributed by companies around the region – from a 1960s invoice for an Austin A.30 from County Garage (Taunton) Ltd., to a trade price list from Saunder & Bliss Limited of Sidwell Street, Exeter. The material holds valuable information on early companies, their products and the people who designed and built them.

Figure 1 An invoice for an Austin A.30 (reg. no. TOH 261) from County Garage (Taunton) Limited to a Mr. B. Wolley of Somerset. Dated 8th December 1964.
Figure 2 A trade price list of ‘Replacement Mudguards’ published by Saunders & Bliss Limited of Sidwell Street, Exeter.

The collection further offers a fascinating glimpse into the establishment of the motor industry in the region’s biggest cities, including the likes of Plymouth, Exeter and Bristol, with older generations recalling their time spent working and trading with such companies. One example being P. Pike and Co. Limited, based in Alphington Street, Exeter, opening its doors in 1919 as a ‘Motor Cycle and Cycle Car Garage’, and later becoming the region’s main Austin dealer until the late 1960s when Alphington Street was eventually demolished.

Figure 3 An invoice for an Austin 1100 Deluxe Saloon (reg. no. GDV 972D) from P. Pike & Co. Limited, Alphington Street, Exeter. Dated 4th August 1966.
Figure 4 A ‘Mudguards’ catalogue published by Alfred J. Rees & Son, Wing and Radiator Manufacturers on Lawrence Hill, Bristol with a branch also on Holloway Street, Exeter.

The colour-laden infographics and dense catalogues also offer an opportunity to bring motoring history to life for a new, younger generation, for which the contents will be a strange look into the early days of car maintenance and styling. Rarely, it is even possible for a dated invoice or letter to be tracked back to its original car and owner, hinting at the more personal histories of today’s classics found in rally-fields and car clubs around the region.

Figure 5 A sales catalogue for Aristocrat Car Radios, distributed by Auto & General Electrics, Torquay.
Figure 6 A letter from East London Rubber Co. Ltd. to Kingsteignton Garage Co. Ltd., Newton Abbot. Dated 10th March, 1938.

By preserving these seemingly mundane documents of the our motoring past, we have been able to create a more formal and permanent record of the region’s motoring heritage; an evocative reminder of where the local industry is heading and how much it has changed.

Figure 7 A catalogue for ‘Replacement Mudguards for Popular Cars’ published by Merrymans (J. H. Merrifield) of Sutton Road, Plymouth.
Figure 8 A catalogue for ‘Regent Perfected Axle Shafts’ from G. H. Stone & Co. Ltd. of Temple Street, Bristol.

We have already enjoyed sharing and discussing the collection with visitors and car clubs at our Open Days, and look forward to creating more displays in the future. To find out more about the ‘Berrybrook Collection’, please see a catalogue of our collection available online here.

Figure 9 A sales catalogue for ‘Stone’s Spring Service’ from G. H. Stone & Co. Ltd. of Temple Street, Bristol.

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Do you want to get involved in the world of steam? Are you considering buying a miniature steam engine? Are you stuck for a gift idea or are you simply looking for a good day out?

If so, we offer two different style days, tailored to suit your needs…

We offer a ‘Traction Engine Experience Day’, perfect as a gift and a fun day out learning a bit about what running a steam engine involves. We also offer a ‘Miniature Driving Lesson’ which is a half day course in the practical use of a scale traction engine.

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If you are looking to sell your steam engine or historic vehicle, we make both cash offers and sell on commission and would be more than happy to discuss the sale of your vehicle with you.

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Visit the official Berrybrook Steam & Classics online shop where we sell a range of steam-related products including gifts, parts and accessories for your miniature steam engine, gift vouchers for steam experience days and branded clothing!

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Milbury Model Company

We are delighted to announce the launch of our brand new partner website, the Milbury Model Company!

Our newest department is dedicated to supplying high-quality, brand new model and toy-sized steam engines, spares, accessories, gifts and more…

We are an official stockist for the complete range of Wilesco products which is sold from our Devon-based shop and is available to buy online.

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Looking to find out more about the preservation movement, traction engines, historic vehicles or our heritage?

The Berrybrook Blog visits a range of topics to interest all readers!

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We specialise in selling steam engines and historic vehicles of all shapes and sizes.

If you are looking to sell your steam engine or historic vehicle, we make both cash offers and sell on commission.

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