This has been prompted by the Unusual arrivals post at Applecrosslife on 10th May; among some exotic machinery which had successfully negotiated the Pass of the Cattle was a Baby Austin Seven. Not only had it managed to climb the pass but it had travelled from Carlisle, a distance of some 350 miles – probably further, as I doubt it would be permitted to take the direct motorway route.
This is the same type of car that my paternal grandparents are standing next to in this photograph taken by my Dad outside their home in Andover. It is from a small photograph album made up of 3 x 2 inch contact prints which he put together as a young boy – they are individually captioned in a manner consistent with a 10-12 year old; this one – Mummy Daddy and Baby:
Another photo features a Ford Model A and by coincidence there was something similar among the visitors to Applecross. This one is captioned – Certainly ‘ot but the year’s wrong:
The Baby Austin Seven was produced from 1922 until 1939 and in its time was the most popular mass produced car manufactured in Britain The brand was held in such affection that when the Mini was first produced, Austin were keen to establish a link with their heritage. Like so many others, my first car was a second hand Mini – registered in 1963 with the registration 6428 VR, my sky blue version had a badge on the rear boot – Austin Seven. I should have kept it, if only for the registration.
Old photographs never lose their capacity to surprise, particulalry when they appear out of the blue. I have digitised and reprinted a large number of old photos belonging to my maternal grandfather but I had never seen this one before. In later years my mother developed a habit of creating random albums, haphazard collections with no obvious consistency of place, subject or time; this one was tucked in between my sister’s wedding and her grandchildren playing in the garden. Perhaps this is no bad thing, each page has the capacity to astonish, there being no clues as to what might appear next; poor mum’s mind developed a similar trend towards her end.
The car is a 1920s Ford Model A and the small girl is my mother. They are probably all Taylors, my maternal grandmother’s side of the family. The man on the far left is her grandfather, William and the bowler-hatted gent is Uncle Charlie, thought by mum to be several shillings short of a pound. The lady is her grandmother Emily Susan but the young man in the flat cap is unknown to me, lost with my late mother’s memory.
The picture was probably taken at the family home near Bransbury which was demolished in the fifties when the Andover to Sutton Scotney road was widened.