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Tuesday, February 04, 2014

How and what it was

Just a brief, and I use the word brief because of the lack of information available, look into two of the buildings featured on the last post.
This is taken from the Leighton Road bridge. Behind me under the bridge is Brantoms wharf and the water point. On the right is Tesco.
The same view probably around the early 1900`s. Over on the left is Wichellos wharf and beyond it out of sight were Lime kilns like these. Along the towpath in the top right can be seen the sign of Morgan and Co. carriage makers.

Morgan and Co. carriage works, not to be confused with the Morgan car, were founded in 1762.  In 1899 they had taken over the Battlesden steam carriage works located on what is now Tesco from W. King and set themselves up as coach builders. The word coach builder means the building of any bodywork, be it car or commercial vehicles, onto a chassis. My dad was a coach builder almost all his working life.
The picture above states the date is 1923 and the chassis were imported from America. This made my ears prick up as it connected with my lovely American wife, Jaq.
In the early 1900`s Morgans were the agents for Adler cars of Germany building the bodywork in Leighton Buzzard. Now I can`t find any reference to the U.S. and can only find information on a Morgan/Adler connection up to 1914 as in the advert on the right for a Carette priced at 200guineas. I suppose younger readers in the UK might question `guineas` and for sure U.S. readers will have no clue so perhaps two translations are needed. A Guinea was £1 and 1shilling pre decimal. So now it is £1 5p.
The car is £210 ($315).The upper advert on the right is dated 1923 but gives no clue as to the car so no way to confirm the car being built is an Adler.
My theory is the caption referring to chassis from America is wrong and should be Germany. The 1914-1918 WW1 figures here in that if the chassis were German would we as a nation have been interested in buying a German car just 5 years post war?.  Also if the chassis were not the  German Adler, what make was the American import.
Morgan's constructed the Vimy WW1 bomber at it`s Leighton Buzzard works, hence the road into Tesco is Vimy Road.

This is Brantom`s wharf about 1900 originally it was Grant`s wharf. The post bottom right marks the end of the basin and I would guess three full length boats could fit in alongside each other. The basin dates back to 1800 and was one of the  first of many requested by commercial operators along the canal.
Picture from HERE.

A good site for information is Graces Guide not just for the motor car but many early companies. It has 98,000 pages containing 131,000 images. The subjects covered is vast so please check it out. The Adler and Morgan and Co. come under the car heading. Biographies under people will bring up canal builders.
Any extra information on the car would be most appreciated.


KevinTOO said...

Well thanks again Les, the last two posts have certainly been very informative...

But I'd be grateful if you could only post one a week... have you any idea how many hours I have spent surfing through both and ENTHRALLING

Cheers mate :)


Anonymous said...

Fascinating reads! Nice car -expensive for that time? Why was it 'light' - what would the price be today? Questions, questions........xxBE

NB Valerie & Steam Train by Les Biggs

NB Valerie & Steam Train by Les Biggs