Three-car fam­ily

Who Do You Think You Are? Magazine - - MOTOR HISTORY -

With the death of his father in 1924, Ber­tram now had the means to buy new and more ex­pen­sive cars. The Alvis, a by­word for qual­ity in the 1920s, adorned the drive at the fam­ily home (now in Hale, Cheshire), and at one point he was a two-Alvis car owner, while a third small car was used by my grand­mother to shop or take the chil­dren to school and nurs­ery. This was also the time chief val­u­a­tion of­fi­cer in Sh­effield and moved to Bam­ford, Der­byshire.

On Christ­mas Eve, 1943, the blackout blinds drawn down, and the fire blaz­ing in the hearth, my grand­fa­ther put the fi­nal full stop to his car jour­nal. No longer did he have a car parked in the drive – the war and petrol ra­tioning saw to that – he now re­lied on the 8.21am train from Bam­ford to Sh­effield.

The au­to­mo­bile had trans­formed his life. It had ini­tially marked out his priv­i­lege and ex­clu­siv­ity, lib­er­ated the fam­ily hol­i­day and greatly eased his work as a sur­veyor and val­uer. Th­ese un­usual mo­tor­ing records have given me a glimpse into my grand­fa­ther’s life and an all-con­sum­ing pas­sion that census and bap­tismal records could not even be­gin to pro­vide.

You can mea­sure the rise and fall of your fam­ily through the cars they owned

is a so­cial his­to­rian of crime, polic­ing and protest and taught un­til his re­tire­ment at Edge Hill Univer­sity, Lan­cashire

Bri­tish Cars: From 1910 to the Present Day, Craig Cheetham (Am­ber Books, 2006)

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