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West Berks historians take nostalgic look at motoring in the Kennet Valley



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In 1923, Fred Whittaker, a young motor engineer who had worked as chauffeur mechanic to Lord Craven – whose family were well-known devotees of the Daimler marque – at his Hamstead Marshall estate, started his own motor engineering business by St John’s Church, Newtown Road, Newbury, in partnership with distant relative Mr Murray. And this was the beginning of the well-known longstanding Newbury company Murray and Whittaker. You can read the full story along with many other fascinating ones in a new motoring history book by Tim Green and Roger Day, centred on the Kennet Valley and featuring photographs and stories of many of the old Newbury garages and motor traders going back to the dawn of the motoring age.

Tim grew up in Newbury, Roger in Hungerford. They first came together as trustees of The Kennet Valley at War Trust with a museum based at Littlecote House. Roger has successfully produced a number of local history books centred on the military and civilian activities in the area during the world wars. Tim has owned a couple of vintage cars and has an abiding fascination with all things motoring, as does Roger.

“We have spent the past five years or more interviewing local personalities from the motoring world and collecting their stories, along with gaining access to the photographic archives of many of the well-known names from all along the Kennet Valley,” says Tim.

The book is available directly from the authors
The book is available directly from the authors

The result is an even balance of lovely colour pictures and interesting text stretching from the very first motor cars in the area up until the modern era. The book runs to 208 pages and is available in hardback, priced £25. It can be bought directly from the authors.

Contact Tim Green: tjgreenesq@gmail.com

Fred Whittaker took a position with The Iden Motor Car Company Ltd – pictured here prior to 1906, on the factory floor behind the vertical propshaft. He seems to have impressed his employer, ex-Daimler man George Iden, who credited Fred as intelligent and quick with “... a thorough knowledge of the petrol motor.” Picture Chris Whittaker
Fred Whittaker took a position with The Iden Motor Car Company Ltd – pictured here prior to 1906, on the factory floor behind the vertical propshaft. He seems to have impressed his employer, ex-Daimler man George Iden, who credited Fred as intelligent and quick with “... a thorough knowledge of the petrol motor.” Picture Chris Whittaker


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