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Where was McLaren originally located?


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#1 BRG

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Posted 17 May 2011 - 10:53

I posted about this originally in the Motorsport magazine thread, but some may have missed it there, so I have started this new thread.

I am very intrigued to know where in New Malden this very first base for McLaren was located, as I was raised in that outer London suburb; The story so far is:-

Now this is probably going to be embarrassing.

I have finally read the Ganley article in 'Motorsport' which was enjoyable and interesting as usual. But in the midst of it is a mention that McLaren started in New Malden in 1964. I was shocked to read this, as I had never heard this before, and because at the time I was a spotty teenage oik living in.... New Malden. How could I have not known this? I did a search on TNF and can find no mention of New Malden, nor could I find much through Google. It is mentioned in Wikipedia, but despite that, I am sure it is true.

Can anyone tell me where in New Malden the team was originally based?

It now appears that, after years of not supporting any one team, I will now have to become a McLarenista.

In "It beats working", Eoin Young just describes it as "the motor racing equivalent of a biblical stable" and that it was adjacent to "a road grader in a dusty, high-roofed building" somewhere near the (Kingston) bypass. I don't know if that vague snippet allied to your local knowledge gets you any nearer.
Somewhere I have some early '70s publicity brochures for the team - if I can find them I'll see if they cover any history.

In DCN's McLaren history the New Malden facility is described as 'a dirt-floored shed shared with an earth-mover servicing outlet in New Malden'. They weren't there long; Bruce rented the shed in early 1964, probably March, and by August they were operating out of far more salubrious premises in Feltham.

Ah, I feel a bit better if it isn't a well-known fact that only I had missed!

I do not recall any earth moving servicing outlets in NM. It isn't a very industrial area, more a dormitory suburb for commuters. And today, it is Little Seoul. Most of NM is close to the Kingston By-Pass which loops around it. The area that it might be is between Blagdon and Burlington Roads which used to have scrap yards and such. If it was there, it makes it worse for me as I went along Blagdon Road twice a day to and from school without knowing that McLaren were there! Grateful for any more detail!

What we need is an addition to Google Maps 'street view" whereby one can select the date...!
(I'll get my coat...)

I quizzed my aged, but still very lucid, mother about this as she still lives in New Malden and has been there since 1955. She was at a loss, but she did mention 'Ma Banks' who apparently had a building supplies yard in Blagdon Road. Mum said that we used to get sand and gravel etc from Ma Banks, so it might be possible that she also had earth moving equipment. That part of New Malden has long since been cleaned up and turned partly into a park, and partly built up.

If anyone can help on this, it will allow me to sleep & eat again, the worry being too much for me at the moment! ;)




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#2 werks prototype

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Posted 17 May 2011 - 11:42

I posted about this originally in the Motorsport magazine thread, but some may have missed it there, so I have started this new thread.

I am very intrigued to know where in New Malden this very first base for McLaren was located, as I was raised in that outer London suburb; The story so far is:-





I quizzed my aged, but still very lucid, mother about this as she still lives in New Malden and has been there since 1955. She was at a loss, but she did mention 'Ma Banks' who apparently had a building supplies yard in Blagdon Road. Mum said that we used to get sand and gravel etc from Ma Banks, so it might be possible that she also had earth moving equipment. That part of New Malden has long since been cleaned up and turned partly into a park, and partly built up.

If anyone can help on this, it will allow me to sleep & eat again, the worry being too much for me at the moment! ;)


Colnbrook?

And then Hounslow?

#3 BRG

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Posted 17 May 2011 - 11:44

Colnbrook?

And then Hounslow?

Apparently the sequence is New Malden for the first few months in 1964, thence to Feltham, then Colnbrook and then Woking (to three successive, ever grander, factories).

#4 werks prototype

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Posted 17 May 2011 - 11:48

Apparently the sequence is New Malden for the first few months in 1964, thence to Feltham, then Colnbrook and then Woking (to three successive, ever grander, factories).


Aha! Sorry :up:

I'll be watching with interest then, because it is something I'm very interested in too.

#5 BRG

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Posted 17 May 2011 - 11:54

I am expecting great things from the denizens of TNF. They can tell us how many rivets there were in the pedal box of a 1958 Kurtis KK500G, so the location of a shed in 1964 should be a breeze!

#6 werks prototype

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Posted 17 May 2011 - 12:01

I am expecting great things from the denizens of TNF. They can tell us how many rivets there were in the pedal box of a 1958 Kurtis KK500G, so the location of a shed in 1964 should be a breeze!


Exactly! :) :up:

#7 Tim Murray

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Posted 17 May 2011 - 12:09

Google throws up this site with this interesting quote from Eoin Young:

In the early summer of 1964, three men - hell, we must have been boys then, not one of us over 26 - sat around a table in the cramped kitchen of a rented house in New Malden that served as the headquarters of the new Bruce McLaren racing team. Bruce, fresh from winning the Tasman Championship with a special 2.5 litre Cooper, teetered back on one of the chairs and wondered aloud whether to go Formula 2 racing with a Cooper or to try his hand at sports car racing in America. Wally Willmott, Bruce's personal mechanic, opted with Bruce to go for sports cars, but I didn't agree. Looking back I could call it a vote of caution, but in all honesty, as history has proved, I was quite simply wrong......the rest is history. Within three years the McLaren team was dominating the richest series of road races in history and in seven years they had won more than a million dollars in prize money and bonuses.

So there was a house as well as the shed, but we don't know if they were at the same location. I know Jerry Entin is in contact with Wally Willmott - perhaps Jerry could pick Wally's brains for us. :wave:

Edited by Tim Murray, 17 May 2011 - 12:18.


#8 Vitesse2

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Posted 17 May 2011 - 12:36

Eoin Young further describes the first premises as "a slum-like tractor shed" in McLaren! The Man, the Cars & the Team.

#9 Ted Walker

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Posted 17 May 2011 - 14:00

Ive just E mailed Eoin to ask him

#10 Giraffe

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Posted 17 May 2011 - 14:25

...& I've e-mailed a link to this thread to Howden Ganley.

#11 Giraffe

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Posted 17 May 2011 - 15:43

Howden cams back to me on this just now:

Hi Tony,
I had seen the ' queries ' on the Motor Sport thread. I am a bit surprised as I
thought everyone knew the first workshop was in New Malden. It has been written about
numerous times. For example , Page 59 of Eoin Young's book " Classic Racers ".
It was one of those Atcost concrete prefab buildings. Quite large , packed with
earthmoving equipment , and we had a small corner right at the back. I believe that
Bruce was hoping to buy the place but presumably the contractor couldn't find anywhere
else to take his equipment , so that idea never came to fruition. Eoin then scouted about
and found premises on a small industrial estate in Feltham , not far from where Aston Martin
used to be on the airfield at Hanworth.
The New Malden place still existed , at least until a couple of years ago. I have discussed
it with Paul Fearnley and we have a long standing plan ( which has yet to come to fruition ) for
me to have tea with him and then visit the old McLaren building. I was going to photograph it as I
did the two Cooper premises ( Hollyfield Rd and Langley Ave ) and have the pics posted on the
' old premises ' thread on TNF.
The house where Eoin, Tyler , and Wal lived ( which was also the Office ) was about a
mile away from the workshop , also in New Malden .
We moved to Feltham in time to build the first McLaren , the M1 , there. As was the M1A,
M1B X-1 and the M2A We were at Feltham until late 1965 . By then much bigger premises were
needed - the team was really starting to grow - and the move was made to the first of the Colnbrook
factories, in David Road.

If you want any more info, let me know .

Howden

Edited by Giraffe, 17 May 2011 - 21:52.


#12 2F-001

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Posted 17 May 2011 - 15:52

Gosh, that was quick work!
I do think BRG's original question remains though - where was it?
:)

#13 Kpy

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Posted 17 May 2011 - 19:46

Paul Feanley of Motor Sport magazine claims to live "in New Malden, about a mile from McLaren’s first home."
It might be asking him.

#14 RStock

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Posted 17 May 2011 - 20:14

There is a photo in this thread

http://forums.autosp...t76989-150.html

That shows who I think is Bruce McLaren leaned over "the first McLaren sports car, chassis number BMMR/2/64. "

Could this be outside that shop? Not much to go by.

#15 werks prototype

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Posted 17 May 2011 - 20:33

There is a photo in this thread

http://forums.autosp...t76989-150.html

That shows who I think is Bruce McLaren leaned over "the first McLaren sports car, chassis number BMMR/2/64. "

Could this be outside that shop? Not much to go by.


I think, possibly, that is the Belvedere works. Feltham?

#16 BRG

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Posted 17 May 2011 - 20:34

Wow, I am a bit humbled that Howden himself has taken an interest in this! If he reckons the building still existed quite recently, then it can't be where I was suggesting (Blagdon Road) as that was all tidied up 15 years or more ago. Eoin Young's description of a 'tractor shed' is intriguing. I wouldn't have thought there were many tractors in New Malden - it is hardly a rural area! Mysteriouser and mysteriouser!

As a side issue, where was the shared house?

#17 Tim Murray

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Posted 17 May 2011 - 20:46

Could this be outside that shop? Not much to go by.

I think, possibly, that is the Belvedere works. Feltham?

Definitely - that car was built at Feltham (as Howden said in his e-mail).

Edited by Tim Murray, 17 May 2011 - 20:59.


#18 Giraffe

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Posted 17 May 2011 - 21:56

Howden has just given me two additional bits of information to pass on...

I think the building is in Wellington Ave

For those who wish to know more the ISBN number of ' Classic Racers ' is 1-86950-460-7



ps I've asked Howden about the location of the shared house, BRG.

Edited by Giraffe, 17 May 2011 - 22:21.


#19 BRG

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Posted 17 May 2011 - 22:21

I think the building is in Wellington Ave

Ah-ha, I didn't think of that area. It is Wellington Crescent in fact and has long been a small industrial area with car and truck servicing businesses. That sounds very likely indeed. It is on Streetview if anyone can identify teh building or site of the building.

And in the opposite direction to my school, so I didn't pass it every day after all!

Many thanks to Howden for taking the trouble to help with this and to Giraffe for acting as intermediary. :up:


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#20 Ted Walker

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Posted 18 May 2011 - 06:11

Eoin confirms Howdens views.

#21 Giraffe

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Posted 18 May 2011 - 06:23

ps I've asked Howden about the location of the shared house, BRG.



More from Howden.....

Tony,

Shared house / office ? Come out of the factory , go up to the main road,
turn left , go some way and take a street to the right. About 100 yards down
on the left was the house . Easy , huh ? Problem is I can't remember the
name of the street it is on. A few years ago - same day I took the Cooper
photos- I went to New Malden and tried to find the house. No luck.

Re the picture of the black car - it is definitely the M1 ( as Tim Murray says )
and the photo is taken outside the workshop at Feltham. Belvedere Works . A
slightly grandiose title for what had by them become a bit scruffy. Huge puddles,
just about enough to drown the car , on the un tarmaced driveway. Old brick
buildings.

I think sometimes the M1 ( which used Cooper uprights and wheels ) gets
mixed up with the M1A , which was the first production car and had McLaren
wheels and uprights. There was only one M1 ( which was NOT the Cooper
Oldsmobile ) and then we built the first M1A , of which there were quite a few.

Howden


#22 David McKinney

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Posted 18 May 2011 - 08:33

There was only one M1 ( which was NOT the Cooper Oldsmobile ) and then we built the first M1A , of which there were quite a few.

... and which was known as the Mk1 in North America :)


#23 BRG

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Posted 18 May 2011 - 17:43

More from Howden.....

Shared house / office ? Come out of the factory , go up to the main road,
turn left , go some way and take a street to the right. About 100 yards down
on the left was the house . Easy , huh ? Problem is I can't remember the
name of the street it is on. A few years ago - same day I took the Cooper
photos- I went to New Malden and tried to find the house. No luck.

That brings it very close to my ancestral home. If only I had known!

#24 Giraffe

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Posted 20 May 2011 - 16:49

More from Howden....

Tony,
The picture of Bruce with the M1 ( link from Post #14 ) shows it in front of a part
of the Feltham factory. The main bit is to the left , but the part immediately behind the
car with the blanked out windows is the ' secret shop '. A workshop within a workshop.
The M2A and the X-1 were both built in there . It had a sign on the door which said
something like " If your name is not McLaren you can't come in here ". Only those few
of us working on building those cars were allowed in ! A sort of 'skunk works ' - like
Lockheed !

Howden


#25 ChrisJson

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Posted 24 January 2012 - 18:19

Tony,

could you please ask Howden if Presburg Road rings a bell.
I followed his directions on Google Maps and that´s the most
likely road if the 1 mile distance is correct.

Christer

#26 Giraffe

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Posted 25 January 2012 - 09:29

I have e-mailed Howden, Christer.

His response:

"I think we have established that the workshop was in Wellington Cres , so I
assume Christer is asking about the office. My estimate of a ' mile ' was
very approximate . I drove up and down all those streets one day but
couldn't identify the house. I have asked Eoin but he has no recollection
of the address. Presburg Road does not ring any bells but it was a LONG
time ago.

Probably one could do a search at Companies House - see if that was also
the registered address . I expect it probably wasn't as it would be more likely
the accountants office . Blinkhorn , Lyons , and Goulding . Worth a shot , though"


Edited by Giraffe, 25 January 2012 - 11:07.


#27 ChrisJson

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Posted 25 January 2012 - 11:48

Tony and Howden,

thank you very much both for your efforts.
The search will go on.

Christer

#28 BRG

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Posted 25 January 2012 - 20:12

I shouldn't have thought it was Presburg Road. That is quite a long way and the Fountain pub is at the end of it which I suspect might have been a memorable landmark for some young lads back then! I would think it might have been Grayham Road, Westbury Road, or one of the turnings off that (Albemarle Gardens, Eton Ave).

#29 ChrisJson

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Posted 25 January 2012 - 22:14

BRG,

it all depends on how long a "Howden mile" is.
Grayham Road is only a quarter mile off Wellington Crescent.

Christer

#30 Giraffe

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Posted 25 January 2012 - 22:22

Just in from Howden....

Bingo ! Wal Willmott has come up with photos of the New Malden house.

Graham Road . I think it rings a bell now ! Graham Road and Wellington Cres,
( or Road )..



If there is a ' Grayham ' Rd , and not a ' Graham ' road then that must be it. Wal
has given both options. We may have just talked ' Graham ' without particularly
noticing what the sign said.


Posted Image
By giraffe138 at 2012-01-25

From Wally.....

I opened my box of 'stuff' and there were 2 photos with Grayham Rd New
Malvern on the back of them. Esy's MGB and Teddy's Tina.
W.


#31 RS2000

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Posted 25 January 2012 - 22:59

What adds to the confusion is that Wellington Road (Hounslow) was the Parnell site. The one reference to Hounslow earlier above may arise because Feltham/Hanworth would have been incorporated into Hounslow Greater London Borough when Greater London was created.

Edited by RS2000, 25 January 2012 - 23:00.


#32 Giraffe

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Posted 26 January 2012 - 09:04

From Howden....

I don't think there is any ' confusion ' . We seem to have established that the workshop
was in Wellington Cres, or Road , and the house / office was in Grayham Road.

Both addresses are in New Malden . Sorry about the ' mile '. Seemed like a long walk ,
but after an all-nighter or two distances can stretch !


The Parnell workshops were in that yard not far from Hounslow Tube station. A long way
from New Malden. Tommy Sopwith's workshop was in the same yard.

There are lots of ' Wellington ' this and that in road names all over England. Which is
to be expected after the Duke gave that French fellow a bit of drubbing !


Howden


#33 Macca

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Posted 26 January 2012 - 09:42

Posted Image

Hasn't changed much apart from a bit of modernisation, but the tree has grown......

Paul M

#34 BRG

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Posted 26 January 2012 - 20:01

Well, I am impressed. Many thanks to Howden and to all who helped with this.

#35 ChrisJson

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Posted 26 January 2012 - 20:35

Howden,

no need to apologize. We solved the mystery anyhow.

Macca,

do we agree that it is 31 Grayham Rd?

Christer

#36 BRG

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Posted 29 January 2012 - 23:21

do we agree that it is 31 Grayham Rd?

Christer

No, I popped along Grayham Road this afternoon, and I think it is no 30.

#37 ChrisJson

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Posted 30 January 2012 - 07:25

BRG,

you are right. So much for trusting Google Maps!

Would you dare to ring the doorbell and ask them
if they know they are living in a very important house
to motor racing history?

Christer

Edited by ChrisJson, 30 January 2012 - 13:52.


#38 BRG

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Posted 30 January 2012 - 16:26

I don't think so! It isn't really that important, just interesting to people like us. Anyway they would only think I was selling something...

#39 Giraffe

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Posted 30 January 2012 - 16:38

I don't think so! It isn't really that important, just interesting to people like us. Anyway they would only think I was selling something...


If you said "McLaren", they'd probably think child buggies! :well:

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#40 Giraffe

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Posted 31 January 2012 - 08:46

A little more from Wal via Howden......

Posted Image
By giraffe138 at 2012-01-31

Wal has sent a pic of the rear of the house. Somebody might care to go
around and knock on the front door - maybe they would be permitted to go into the
garden and see what it looks like now.
The owners might be total F1 enthusiasts , and would be delighted to discover
they live in a house with the connection to such a famous racing team.

Howden



#41 Macca

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Posted 31 January 2012 - 09:39

This is the best I could do from Bing Maps, aerial views:

Posted Image

Paul M

#42 BRG

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Posted 24 January 2013 - 17:29

McLaren are celebrating their 50th anniversary

So it seems a shame that they mistakenly describe the origins of the team thus "It’s all a long way from that small south London lock-up back in 1963. But Bruce wouldn’t wish for us to merely look backwards without looking forwards, too."

South London? How dare they!!! New Malden was in the county of Surrey back in those days, not any part of London, least of all sarf Lunnon.

Is it encouraging that TNF knows better than McLaren themselves about this, or is it a shame? Discuss!

#43 Milan Fistonic

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Posted 18 August 2013 - 01:22


This appeared in the September 1964 edition of the New Zealand magazine Motorman.

Posted Image

#44 BRG

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Posted 18 August 2013 - 18:55

In the current edition of MotorSport, Simon Taylor's lunch with Tyler Alexander included a mention of the original McLaren base. He says that it was "...a filthy prefab shed just by the Kingston By-Pass, where a roadworks contractor stored his earth moving equipment. It had an earth floor...". Which was kind of where we came in. Maybe Tyler was the source of the original description that we deconstructed with the help of Howden Ganley.