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Lotus; the beginnings & the Hornsey museum


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#51 RTH

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Posted 03 May 2007 - 14:40

Thanks Roger all these little details help

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#52 RTH

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Posted 05 May 2007 - 15:02

Here is a question for someone

How many cars did Lotus manufacture at the Hornsey workshops ?

What was the first car produced there ?

What was the last car produced there ?

Which production models carried over in to Cheshunt ?

#53 sterling49

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Posted 05 May 2007 - 18:56

Originally posted by RTH
Here is a question for someone

How many cars did Lotus manufacture at the Hornsey workshops ?

What was the first car produced there ?

What was the last car produced there ?

Which production models carried over in to Cheshunt ?


1 ?
2 Lotus 6
3 Lotus Elite
4 Lotus Elan and 7

But I guess I am way off track..... :rotfl:


Sterling

#54 RTH

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Posted 07 May 2007 - 09:28

So how many cars were manufactured in the Hornsey premises ?

Historic Lotus register members who may have studied this over a long period may know the definitive answer to this but by extracting production numbers from HLR's own website this is my best estimate ( others may have finer detail on some models )

Model Type Number built at Hornsey

3 1
4 1
5 0
6 110
7 (clairmonte) 1 (incomplete)
Seven S1 243
8 7
9 30
10 6
11 150
12 12
13 120
14 (Elite) 10(Est) 1st Elite delivery was Jan '59 Cheshunt opened June
15 18 ( Est 58/59)
16 8 (Est)


That makes a total of 707 cars over a 7 year period approx

Cheshunt was occupied in June 1959 but did not become fully operational until September 1959

Although the Elite was shown in October London Motor Show in 1957 it was a very long way from being productionised . Prototyping was done in a separate small industrial unit in Edmonton and it was Jan 1959 before the first customer got a car and the first handful went for racing.

They needed the purpose built spacious car factory in Cheshunt to assemble the Elite

As an average over the Hornsey years this means at least 2 new cars every week were delivered, having just walked around the Hornsey buildings this was an astonishing achievement by any standards !

#55 David McKinney

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Posted 07 May 2007 - 09:33

A lot of those were sold as kits, so "cars manufactured" is stretching it a bit

Also, Peter Ross mentioned earlier that Team Lotus was elsewhere - did they build cars on that site, or merely prepare them for racing?

#56 RTH

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Posted 07 May 2007 - 09:47

Originally posted by David McKinney
A lot of those were sold as kits, so "cars manufactured" is stretching it a bit


Oh sure quite right David. Colin Chapman quickly identified that under UK tax law that purchase tax which at the time I think was 25% added on to the purchase price could be completely avoided by selling in component form , so making the cars cheaper for buyers yet at the same time enabling Lotus to get a better price for their product yet maintain affordability.

#57 bradbury west

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Posted 07 May 2007 - 09:59

Richard, please remember that the main campaigner for the tax concession was John Bolster on ACBC's behalf. Bolster ran long articles in Autosport putting the case forward and used access to everyone of influence known to him to bring it to and keep it in the public gaze, and to ensure a robust campaign was made in Parliament. I have not checked Autosport but I recall the campaign in the pages.

I suspect Bill Boddy had some say in it also.

As ever, ACBC had the idea, or as was often the case, saw the advantage to be had from someone else's discovery, and others did the hard work.
Roger Lund.

#58 RTH

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Posted 07 May 2007 - 10:13

That's interesting Roger I didn't know that. You are quite right Colin it appears was very quick to pick up on other peoples ideas he identified as good ones and then act on them and the outcome was often historically attributed to him.

#59 bradbury west

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Posted 07 May 2007 - 10:19

Richard, I recommend that you read Peter Ross's tome on the early years at Lotus and you will see the story behind the near-fabled de-siamesing of the ports so long attributed to ACBC

RL

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#60 Peter Horsman

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Posted 08 May 2007 - 12:23

Where were the 17s built?

#61 RTH

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Posted 08 May 2007 - 13:31

Peter, 17 production did not start until 1959, given all the other current models that year and Cheshunt opening in June it looks reasonable to think it was a Cheshunt car (unless someone definitely knows different ! ) Team started '59 racing a 15 MK2 and the very pretty 17 with strut suspension which proved to be a disappointment later in '59 maybe some 17 design work etc etc was done at Hornsey ?? It certainly had the W&P Hornsey coachwork look about it !

According to the record some 23 Seventeens were built

The Delamare Road factory was divided in to 3 distinct buildings, - Lotus Cars, Team Lotus, and Lotus Components, the later being for customer racing cars

This is HLR's early production record

http://www.historicl...ars/thecars.htm

#62 Charles Helps

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Posted 08 May 2007 - 16:31

Peter Horsman should know that link well as he appears under the Seventeen! Peter, you probably know a lot more about this but there is a copy of Alan Stacey's article in the July 1959 issue of Sports Car and Lotus Owner titled "Sorting out The Seventeen". Ian Smith refers to the Seventeen having been announced at the beginning of 1959 and Stacey refers to having raced it at Goodwood on Easter Monday, Aintree on 18 April , Silverstone International Trophy and Crystal Palace for the Whit Monday meeting (end of May?). He also refers to Derek Randall's Seventeen. This suggests that at least two cars were built before the move from Hornsey (although I suppose it is possible that they were built amongst the builders' rubble at Cheshunt).

Good to see you at Grove Park, Peter, after the talk.

#63 David Beard

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Posted 08 May 2007 - 17:47

Was there a work shop at Edmonton that made up for a lack of space at Hornsey before Cheshunt was ready in mid 59?

I get the impression that after 3 16s had been built at Hornsey in 58, the 1959 Len Terry redesigned 16s were built/prepared there...which really amounts to bringing together parts from Progress, W & P, CC etc. Would probably apply to the 15 too?

I believe David Piper said he collected his 16 No. 368 from Edmonton when he bought it, ex Team.

#64 RTH

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Posted 09 May 2007 - 10:09

In Dennis ortenburger's book 'The Original Lotus Elite Racing Car for the road ,

...he says in early 1957 New Zealander John Frayling Ex - Ford Mo Co. set to work crafting a full size model of the Elite from plywood, wire and plaster of Paris in an industrial building Colin Chapman had rented in Edmonton .

It was at the end of a dead end street and bore no identification save it's address. Photos show a brick and block building with plenty of windows looks quite spacious, room to work on a number of cars at once. The location a few miles down the road from Hornsey was chosen for reasons of secrecy as well as no available space at Hornsey.

Seems reasonable that these extra premises would have been kept on until Cheshunt was in full swing in September 1959.

The '57 Motor Show Elite which was just a mock up afterwards was taken behind the building at Hornsey and unceremoniously broken up.

Anyone have any record of the Edmonton address.........I wonder if it is still there and what it looks like now ?

#65 Gary C

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Posted 09 May 2007 - 16:13

Maurice Levy seems to be being prevented from posting here at the current time, but he asks me to pass this message on : 'I can confirm the 16s lived in Florence Road , Edmonton , just off the North Circular near Aberdeen Motors. This indeed was the address where the plaster of Paris Elite also resided amongst a myriad of mice!.' Maurice.

#66 David Beard

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Posted 09 May 2007 - 16:32

Maurice Levy has E mailed me too, to tell us that the Lotus Edmonton workshop was in Florence Road.

He says

“This was where the plaster of paris Elite resided along with the team 16s. As one of the unfortunates who worked amongst the fibreglass and mice to maintain the Team cars, I should know!

I don't know if the building still exists but it think it belonged to Ward Lock (the publishers)and was used for storage .It was a dismal place but seeing as we worked all day and night, it didn't make much difference to us !”

This site confirms the Ward Lock binding works was in Florence Road…

http://www.wardlockr.../RGaboutWL2.htm

#67 RTH

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Posted 09 May 2007 - 17:33

Are we sure Florence Road is correct ? Maybe its me but I can't get multimap to find a Florence anything in Edmonton............in Finsbury Park and in Enfield yes, but neither is near to Edmonton !

When I look at a street map of Edmonton I don't see a florence road either.

I looked at the Ward lock site it says in the early 50's the binding works was in Edmonton but I could not see the road name mentioned. Maybe the road name has been changed in the last 50 years? Any clues ?

This is where the A10 crosses the North Circular

http://www.multimap.....x=289&down.y=3

So I sort of expected to find it somewhere in this area ?

Interestingly the Bruce Castle Museum where the talk was held is Edmonton.

#68 Gary C

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Posted 09 May 2007 - 17:54

Maurice says emphatically that Florence WAS in Edmonton!

#69 David Beard

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Posted 09 May 2007 - 18:11

Originally posted by RTH
Are we sure Florence Road is correct ? Maybe its me but I can't get multimap to find a Florence anything in Edmonton............in Finsbury Park and in Enfield yes, but neither is near to Edmonton !


Well, it was there in WW2....

http://www.bbc.co.uk.../a2528868.shtml

But yes, sorry, I have to admit the Ward Lock site only mentions Edmonton.

#70 RTH

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Posted 09 May 2007 - 18:14

Well I'm puzzled this is the nearest Florence Road

http://www.multimap....m=1&scale=50000

but it is well south of Hornsey in N4 and Edmonton is well to the north east of Hornsey .

#71 RTH

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Posted 09 May 2007 - 18:18

Originally posted by David Beard


Well, it was there in WW2....

http://www.bbc.co.uk.../a2528868.shtml

But yes, sorry, I have to admit the Ward Lock site only mentions Edmonton.


Yes so it is , well perhaps it's me then can anyone else find it now in Edmonton ?

#72 David McKinney

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Posted 09 May 2007 - 18:45

Originally posted by RTH
Interestingly the Bruce Castle Museum where the talk was held is Edmonton.

You missed out the "only a few miles from", as in "the Bruce Castle Museum where the talk was held is only a few miles from Edmonton". It is of course in Tottenham

#73 RTH

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Posted 09 May 2007 - 19:02

OK its not right in Edmonton , but I would call that pretty close

bottom left on this map

http://www.multimap....up.x=288&up.y=4

Certainly was coming home from the talk , within just a few moments I was A10/A406

#74 PeterTRoss

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Posted 16 May 2007 - 19:57

Maurice Levy has emailed me with lots of information to add to the list of Lotus employees at Hornsey, and he also sheds light on the location of Florence Road. Here is the relevant extract form his message:

Regarding the Florence Road premises, if you look up www.streetmap.co.uk on the web and put in N18 3AM you will bring up a map where the "new" (to me anyway) Meridian Way is prominent.

[PTR adds This did not work for me, so I instead put in “Meridian Way” and clicked “London Street”]

Where Angel Road intersects it you will find Montague Road. Just up Montague Road on the right was Florence Road but quite why is has vanished I am not sure. Possibly the area of Conduit Lane has been established where Florence Road once was? I'm not sure but I believe that Cosworth at one time were in Kenninghall Road which is adjacent. Perhaps Mike Costin would recall that and even what happened to Florence Road as well?

It may interest you to know that if you look further down Dysons Road, where it becomes Willoughby Lane and a little way down, there is now a mini roundabout with Brantwood Road off it. That was the home of the J.A.Prestwich (JAP) sweatshop (where I also worked as a 15 year old for a while). Dear old Tottenham eh?

#75 RTH

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Posted 17 May 2007 - 12:09

Good work Peter, must go and have a look.

Gary, get the film camera out !!

#76 Terry Walker

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Posted 17 May 2007 - 12:57

This very old map of the area - 70s I guess - shows what it looked like before Meridian etc arrived, no doubt part of tarting up the N Circular there.

Can't find Florence.

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#77 RTH

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Posted 17 May 2007 - 14:55

Well now that is a worry Terry. Do you know the age of the map ?

I was expecting from the instructions on a period map of 1956 to see the illusive 'Florence Road' where on your map the little Cul-de-sac road 'Derby Road' is shown.

Does anyone have any piece of paper from the time with the Edmonton address printed on it?

Could Florence road have been changed to Derby road and then changed again to Conduit Lane ( as a traffic relief road link 'Conduit' makes sense, also it makes sense the factory buildings there would have been compulsory purchased and the old road obliterated in a traffic road scheme.

I am still not happy we have the right spot without a bit more firm evidence ???

I am happy to go down there its only about 20 miles for me and take some photos but we do need certainty of the precise spot. Anyone ?

#78 David McKinney

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Posted 17 May 2007 - 16:45

Meridian Road does not appear on my 1989 map of the area (and, no, Florence Rd doesn't either :lol: )

#79 Terry Walker

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Posted 18 May 2007 - 02:16

My map came from an A-Z with no publication date, but it's pre M25. The southern route of the M25 is shown dotted; the northern route is not shown at all. The London end of the M40 is shown from Denham west, with the notation "estimated completion 1973" so I guess not long before 1973 would be the date.

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#80 PeterTRoss

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Posted 18 May 2007 - 08:51

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This photo from Graham Robson's book "Cosworth - The Search for Power" page 58 shows the Cosworth works at 2 Kenninghall Road in about 1962.

Mike Costin rang me last night with the answer to the Florence Road mystery.

It seems that the Lotus building and the Cosworth Building were one and the same. Cosworth took over the lease from Lotus.

It is not clear why Cosworth are shown as being at 2 Kenninghall Road whilst Lotus was at Florence Road, but maybe they were on a corner. Mike referred to Florence Road.

So where was Florence Road?

If you look at the OLD map provided by Terry Walker and find the junction of Montagu Road and Angel Road (the A406 North Circular Road) you should turn out of Angel Road into Montagu Road. The first turning on the right is Derby Road, and the first turning to the right off Derby Road is Kenninghall Road.

The first turning on the LEFT is Florence Road. It is not named on the map, but it is "above" the "N" of "Kenninghall".

So what happened to it?

Now we have to look at the new (Streetmap.co.uk) map and we see that Kenninghall Road has been re-shaped to come out at the junction of the new Conduit Lane and Montagu Road. Derby Road is still there but Florence Road appears to have had a large building constructed over it.

That's progress!

[Johnny Teych will tell you that Progress was the name of the company he founded to make the Lotus MK VI frames- but that's another story].

#81 PeterTRoss

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Posted 18 May 2007 - 09:03

Now that the Florence Road mystery is solved, can anyone locate the Edmonton works of the Progress Chassis Company and Williams and Pritchard?

I don't have an address, but I guess Dave Kelsey would. I must ask him.

#82 Terry Walker

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Posted 18 May 2007 - 09:51

H'mm - how it is today:

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#83 Charles Helps

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Posted 18 May 2007 - 11:33

Ron Welsh used to run Edmonton Tool and Engineering from 2nd [Second] Avenue, Edmonton. They supplied machined parts to Lotus for many years. I'm sure I have an article about him from one of the classic car magazines but can't put my hands on it for the moment. I think that Williams and Pritchard had their works quite close to him.

Edited 'Pritchard'

#84 RTH

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Posted 18 May 2007 - 11:34

Fascinating. I will go down there and try to get pictures of the site as it is now.

Any other addresses in the area whilst I am there I could go and photograph as well ?

#85 Charles Helps

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Posted 18 May 2007 - 11:39

Aha! Just come across an advertisement in thoroughbred & classic cars november 1975 for Williams and Pritchard at 25, First Avenue, Montagu Road, Edmonton, N18 3PA

#86 David McKinney

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Posted 18 May 2007 - 11:57

First Avenue (or part of it) can be seen on the right of Terry's map
Secoond Avenue is at the northern end of the same industrial estate (but off this map)

#87 RTH

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Posted 20 May 2007 - 06:43

Originally posted by PeterTRoss
Posted Image

This photo from Graham Robson's book "Cosworth - The Search for Power" page 58 shows the Cosworth works at 2 Kenninghall Road in about 1962.

Mike Costin rang me last night with the answer to the Florence Road mystery.

It seems that the Lotus building and the Cosworth Building were one and the same. Cosworth took over the lease from Lotus.


45 years later sat 19th May 2007 here is a picture of the same building still there little changed

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The men you see here work inside the building were friendly enthusiastic Malaysians who had absolutely no idea of the previous illustrious use if the building some half a century earlier and when we showed them the above black and white photo were thrilled to think they were in a famous factory building where Lotus cars were made and Cosworth racing engines started.

Final irony...........Lotus are now owned by the Malaysians !! Proton Car Company

: Posted Image

Just for address confirmation this is norton hydraulics home page

http://www.norton-hydraulics.co.uk/

Factory 2
Kenninghall Road Edmonton
London N18 2PD

It is just off Kenninghall Road , a tarmac roadway no more than 20 metres long to their gateway no doubt at one time this was called Florence Road but because it is so short we think it was delisted by the local authority

#88 sterling49

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Posted 20 May 2007 - 07:34

Irony indeed! The Malaysians are such a car mad enthusiastic bunch, their enthusiasm is hard to hold back, but I had to bite my lip hard, when told that the "then new" Proton Waja, had an engine developed by the famous Lotus company of England.......I am sure they had some input into the car.....but a Lotus Sunbeam this car was not :eek:

I wondered if they had heard of the term N.V.H..........


Sterling

#89 RTH

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Posted 20 May 2007 - 10:13

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The building where John Frayling crafted the Elite body in plaster almost single handed in early 1957 .....50 years maybe to the day ?? Then the internal panels were made and the car mocked up to appear on the Lotus stand at the 1957 Motor Show.

Team Lotus moved in and built and prepared the 16s and probably a whole lot more ?? Before the move to Cheshunt.

Mike Costin and Keith Duckworth .....Cosworth Engineering took over the lease of the building and stayed at least to the mid sixties before the move to Northampton.



Do Lotus cars I wonder plan to do anything to mark the 50 years since the Elite debut, which was a landmark car by any standard and its 620kgs kerb weight is unmatched by any GT car today it still looks fresh and modern !.

#90 PeterTRoss

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Posted 20 May 2007 - 10:52

Where were the Progress Chassis Company and Williams & Pritchard?

I have now heard from David Kelsey and he confirms that Progress and Williams & Pritchard were at First Avenue (Charles has told us No.25 for W&P).

As David McKinney says, First Avenue can be seen on what I will call the ”Old” map along Montagu Road just three turnings north of Derby Road, so all these places were quite close together.

David Kelsey wrote “When we were there, the estate was entirely new, so some of the roads weren't built or named. I think Williams and Pritchard would have been the building above the text of the continuation of First Avenue, and I don't think there was anything on the other corner at the time. I don't think Stacey Avenue was built then. The whole site was like the moon, with few buildings on it, the first arrival being, I think, a metal scrapyard on the right about half way up First Avenue heading towards Montagu Road.

I think Progress were at the tee with part of First Avenue on one side and Stacey Avenue on the other. First Avenue was a new estate built by the local Edmonton Council for 'non-conforming users', by which they meant firms which did not have planning consent to be where they were.

As far as I remember, the rent for the factory was 3/- per square foot, and for the large yard, 1/- per square foot. Because the Progress factory was the tee, when John Teychenne was building karts, we could race down the leg of the tee, do a sliding turn in the side yard, and back up the leg again. I wasn't with John then, but we used to meet in the evenings to race his karts, mainly at Tring.”

In the aerial photo provided by Terry Walker it looks as though the “Tee” has been extended to become a Cross with a new road up to the railway line. A site visit by Richard with his camera would be interesting.

Cosworth had previously been at 43 Friern Barnet Road, Friern Barnet, and according to Graham Robson’s book “adjacent to the Railway Tavern”. I did a search for the Tavern on Google but I think the name must have been changed.

#91 Gary C

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Posted 20 May 2007 - 11:05

Richard, those are great photos!

#92 Terry Walker

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Posted 20 May 2007 - 11:16

Two "TNF Guide to former premises" subjects in one go!

I had the Cosworth premises pencilled in for my visit last year, but I ran out of time, and anyway I didn't know exactly what I was looking for, so I would have photographed the wrong building no doubt!

Well, maybe next June . .

Thanks very much, Richard, for the photos.

#93 RTH

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Posted 20 May 2007 - 11:42

Oh I have got plenty more pictures to bore you all with from yesterday over the next few days, of the W&P building at 25 First Avenue, Edmonton Tool in 2nd Avenue , and a load of Cheshunt !!

Blimey I'll have to make another trip to Friern Barnet now !................any more requests in the area ???

#94 paulsenna1

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Posted 20 May 2007 - 15:21

The Railway tavern in Friern Barnet Road is now called S3 bar, a 'trendy' wine bar.. £9 drinks!!!

It's about 100 yards north of New Southgate station on the Kings Cross- Edinburgh line.

From memory the Cosworth premises maybe occupied now by a dentist supplies company.

#95 RTH

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Posted 20 May 2007 - 17:02

Thanks for that Paul.

This is 25 First Avenue Edmonton, a pretty run down industrial estate now it must be said,
This then was the premises of Charlie Williams and Len Pritchard the two talented panel beaters who produced those delicate aluminium bodies of perfect shape and elegance of line much prized by Colin Chapman for the early cars of the Hornsey era.

We understand that as Lotus demand grew W&P worked exclusively for them and to save transport to Hornsey moved there works from their original site in Enfield in 1953 to a section of the Lotus stable block. When this proved to be too cramped moved again in 1956 to this factory unit in Edmonton

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photo museum



#96 sterling49

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Posted 20 May 2007 - 17:16

Great pictures Richard....the irony is that I used to have lots of clients around there but never knew where the factories were located.....

The last photo looks good with Henry's finest in mint condition and logo'd registration plate RTH!

#97 RTH

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Posted 21 May 2007 - 06:14

This is Second Avenue Edmonton on the same industrial estate just a short distance from W&P works.
This is a very short piece of road the photo below shows the premises we believe to be those which were Edmonton Tool Company of Ron Welsh who were subcontractors to Lotus for precision engineering and I believe Ron became a good friend of Colin Chapman.

This is the only factory premises that properly fronts on to Second Avenue and the only one with 1950 s style of building whilst we do not have a number and indeed there do not seem to be any numbers it is reasonable to assume this is the factory building.

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#98 RTH

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Posted 21 May 2007 - 09:08

This is the latest newsletter update from The Colin Chapman Museum and Educational centre with thanks to Chairman Neil Duncan on what happens next



May 2007 News Letter - Number 1

In 1952 Colin Chapman started the Lotus Engineering Company Limited in Hornsey, North London . The original building was set up in the old stables behind the Railway Hotel in Hornsey with the aim of producing racing cars and road going machines.

The original building still exists:



As does the Railway Hotel, although it's currently called the Wishing Well.

The Colin Chapman Museum and Education Centre was setup by a group of enthusiasts who love Lotus and want to preserve this important heritage site. The directors and trustees are wide ranging in their interests and include amongst others Alan Morgan, Chairman of the Lotus Club, to Michael Oliver a well respected Motor Sport Historian, whose books on the 49 and 72 are considered leaders in the field to John Scott-Davies our President, owner of a replica Lotus 6, retired racing driver and total Lotus fanatic.

The aims of the charity are to promote the achievements of Colin Chapman and Lotus cars in the field of engineering and design. The museum will promote the value of engineering as a career path for young people and we aim to establish links with Universities who provide graduate courses in this field.

The original workshops will be restored and exhibits of cars and racing cars of the era will be there. We do however want to provide many examples of engineering and design from the period as well and will be trying to have examples from companies like Ford, Cosworth, and Hewland in the museum. As we want to have this as a dynamic museum rather than static displays our President is working with Caterham to see if we can have an example that can be built and rebuilt by young people from the schools in the community.

The brewery who currently own the Wishing Well pub are very much on board and will rename the pub back to its original name of the Railway Hotel and give it a Lotus theme.

As with ventures of this kind finding the money is always a challenge, so we are working with the London Development Agency and will be putting a bid in to the Heritage Lottery fund. We have the enthusiasm and the right team so hopefully we can make it all a reality.

A monthly newsletter will be put up on our website so interested people can follow our progress.

Neil Duncan

Secretary to the Colin Chapman Museum and Education Centre

Follow developments here on the museum website http://www.colinchapmanmuseum.org.uk/

#99 Twin Window

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Posted 21 May 2007 - 09:30

Does anyone think that this thread should be re-named? Or maybe split?

It's evolved quite dramatically from it's origins and I don't think the current title reflects the current theme - or indeed the progress which has been made - too well.

Please email me with your thoughts (to save unnecessary cluttering here).

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#100 Terry Walker

Terry Walker
  • Member

  • 2,976 posts
  • Joined: July 05

Posted 21 May 2007 - 10:01

Just a suggestion: there's at least 2 "TNF guide to former premises" threads here...maybe three. using titles like that would make it easier to search...