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Author Topic: Chas. Hayward & Sons / Caffyns, Ashford  (Read 3043 times)

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Re: Chas. Hayward & Sons / Caffyns, Ashford
« Reply #3 on: December 02, 2011, 14:05:39 »
Caffyns has been repairing cars in Brighton for about a century, and they have quite a few branches throughout Kent and Sussex - not sure that they have as many as they used to. I remember the Ashford, Maidstone, Tonbridge (closed about 1980, hence sending a wave of ex-military customers to Ashford..), Canterbury, and Folkestone branches, the rest were just place names never visited.

Back in those days I just wanted to work on every Mini that came through the door.

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Re: Chas. Hayward & Sons / Caffyns, Ashford
« Reply #2 on: December 02, 2011, 12:26:43 »
Very interesting Faraway had a very similer apprenticeship myself. Went to Caffyns at Maidstone many times for spares, never realised there was more than one do you know if there were anymore of their garages about?  Caffyns where BMC agents and added Riley, Wolseley & MG to Austin & Morris in the 60s I think.

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Chas. Hayward & Sons / Caffyns, Ashford
« Reply #1 on: December 02, 2011, 11:38:52 »
I worked for Caffyns when it had its Ashford branch on New Street, just outside the ring road. Bought by Caffyns from Hayward & Sons in 1967, this branch was a mish mash of buildings, easy for an apprentice to disappear for half an hour or so. All the buildings were demolished in the 1980s and replaced with supermarkets, although the concrete secondhand sales building I started in was re-erected in a field near the Warren and is probably still there today.

The main workshop looked like it had been built from parts of a hangar, added to the earlier buildings probably sometimes in the 1950s. The older part of the workshop had a strengthened roof so that cars could be displayed on top of the building, although that ceased long before I was employed - and the remaining, lower part of the ramp was used as a convenient way of pressure washing commercial vehicles before they went off for their annual test.

There was a 2 wheel 'ambulance', once used for towing vehicles but never used in my time there, a Landrover breakdown vehicle that I loved going in, even if it was always me who had to wind the manual crane. There was a 1938 Morris 4-wheel drive truck, converted into a breakdown vehicle from a gun tractor that I went in more rarely. What I remember most about the Morris was dipping the fuel tank with the graduated dipstick after the engine cut out to discover we had run out of fuel as there was no fuel gauge in the cab, the fact that the front windows could be opened, and all four wheels spinning gently on dry tarmac as we tried to pull a Morris Marina van out of a hedge.

I believe that Haywards had a Riley dealership, but Caffyns were British Leyland, and the only Rileys I saw were the occasional Mini-based Riley Elf. I saw too many Allegros and Marinas, and while the Wedgy Princess and SD1 Rover were much better too look at, the Maxi useful in its luggage carrying ability, none ever felt they had much in the way of quality - too many fragile pieces of plastic used.

The only customers I remember were an ex-captain who complained that I did not call him 'sir' and an old gent in the most delicate Morris Minor I have ever seen on the road. Delicate because there was not a lot of metal left, most of the car seemed to be held together by a liberal coating of some kind of tar-like substance, and the only reason that it passed the MOT was that it was driven very slowly, very occasionally, and the customer was a very old one.

There was a Morrison indoor bomb shelter, which was a rather heavy steel table we used to store things like engines on. This is the only one I have ever seen, and it only lacked the wire mesh sides. There was a filled in lime pit, formerly used to produce acetylene, huge Flash Gordon like machines once used to test dynamos, and strange tools for which I never found the purpose but which was part of the interest of a workshop that been around at least, I estimate, since the 1930s.


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