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Campbells Garage

A garage was one of the first new buildings built in the 1930s at the northern end of Station Approach
A garage was one of the first new buildings built in the 1930s at the northern end of Station Approach

A motor garage with servicing facilities was built on a plot of land at the north end of Station Approach, Hayes, to meet the needs of the growing motoring community in the early 1930s.  Known originally as Surridge’s it opened about 1932 but changed in 1933 into Hugh K Campbell’s ownership and became known as Campbells.

Campbells, Hayes, Kent

Keith Wilson, a racing car enthusiast, recalls that in the late 1950s/1960s he “used to nose around Campbell’s Garage at the bottom of Station Approach when it was run by George Henrotte who used to do quite a lot of racing.”  The garage did not look very different from the photograph below which was taken in 1952 when there was an appeal against a refusal to allow a large Esso advertising sign similar to the RAC sign.

Campbells Garage in 1952 (with thanks to Bromley Historic Collections)
Campbells Garage in 1952 (with thanks to Bromley Historic Collections)

George Henrotte built his own car, the Ettorne in 1953, and in the early 1960s he took over the Gemini Formula Junior. In 1966 he founded Piper Cars, a name said to be inspired by the logo of Campbells Garage which was a kilted bagpiper.

Piper Cars, Hayes, Kent

George Henrotte worked with engineer Bob Gayler and a number of racing cars were designed with Tony Hilder. “A low volume sports car, the Piper GTR, was produced. It did not sell as well as they had hoped but is today very collectable.”

Hayes-built Piper GT racing at Crystal Palace 1967 (photo Peter Collins)
Hayes-built Piper GT racing at Crystal Palace 1967 (photo Peter Collins)

Peter Collins recalls going down into the garage’s cellar where there was a dynamometer to test the racing car engines. It was fairly claustrophobic but at least the noise didn't get out!  He also remembers seeing Toyotas in the showroom and recalls that Campbells was one of the first dealers to sell Japanese cars in about 1966.

The company exhibited at the 1966 Racing Car Show and below is the the entry for Piper and the front cover of the programme.

Piper Cars, 1966 Racing Car Show, Olympia

1966 Racing Car Show, Olympia

As the Company expanded it outgrew its premises in Hayes and car production moved to Wokingham. Henrotte and Gayler, who had produced camshafts for all sorts of engines remained in Hayes and continued the production of Piper performance parts. The company was known as Piper Cams.  It moved to Ashford in Kent.

In 1967 the manager of Piper Cars & Engines at Hayes was Peter Orr and during that year he raced a Briham PH4 produced by Peter and Brian Hampsheir.

With such enthusiasm and interest in producing and driving racing cars it is understandable why many motoring enthusiasts visited Campbells Garage in the 1960s.

We would be delighted to receive any further information or photographs that exist for the garage and its owners.

Howard King moved to the estate agents, Shefford Sedgwick and Dacombe, in Station Approach, Hayes just after the end of World War II. He retired in 1979. Many of his photographs are included in "Hayes, A history of a Kentish Village" but since its publication his son, Tony, has found several interesting ones in his father’s albums. He has kindly agreed to their publication.

Mac Fisheries, 36 Station Approach, Hayes, Kent, 1950
Mac Fisheries, 36 Station Approach, Hayes, Kent, 1950.

Howard King recorded the various shop window displays in Hayes entered in a competition organised by the Hayes Chamber of Commerce. Mac Fisheries Ltd was set up by Lord Leverhulme after the First World War and soon had a chain of wet fish shops throughout the United Kingdom. The shop opened in Station Approach in 1934 and remained for over 30 years. The photograph shows that in 1950 rabbits, pheasants, partridges and some groceries were sold as well as fish. It closed in about 1970.

Kent Fire Brigade, Fire Engine in Hayes Street in 1954
Kent Fire Brigade. An interesting photo of a Fire Engine in Hayes Street in 1954.

In August 1941 local Fire Brigades and the Auxiliary Fire Service, which was established in 1938, were combined into the National Fire Service. The fire service was returned to local authority control on 1 April 1948 and the Kent Fire Brigade was formed. It remained responsible for providing fire services to Hayes until its role was taken over by the London Fire Brigade in 1965.

Fire at Hawthorndene December 1962
Fire at Hawthorndene December 1962.

Major Basil Binyon, who helped to set up the BBC in 1922, lived at Hawthorndene, a large Victorian villa in Hayes, until April 1962. In that month he remarried and moved to Farnborough Park. The house and its grounds were sold for development but in December 1962 a fire broke out and caused substantial damage. It was later demolished.

Hawthorndene land

Hawthorndene building preparations

These photographs show the land on which Hawthorndene had stood and the preparations for the building of Hawthorndene Road and Hawthorndene Close, Hayes.

Does anyone recognise the boys in these photographs?

Paul Brown of Orpington sent us this photograph from his family album. It shows Nest Cottage in Baston Road in 1902 and is captioned ‘Grandma Wynn, Auntie Anne and Minnie Stone’.

Nest cottage

The cottage still exists today. It dates from the early nineteeth century and was first lived in by Henry Blake and then by William Hards and his family from 1831 until William died in 1878. George Wynn and his wife Fanny moved into the cottage in 1882 and remained there until 1905. It was here that their daughter Anna was born in 1885. At this time Nest Cottage was used as a staff cottage by the owners of the Nest and George, a gardener, probably worked for Huson Morris, who lived at The Nest. With the arrival of Henry Wellcome at The Nest in 1905 the Wynn family left and Mr Farquhar became the new occupant of Nest Cottage.

The cottage was sold to the Robjant family before World War I and they occupied it for almost fifty years. In 2018 planning permission was granted to demolish Nest Cottage and replace it with two detached properties.

Baston Cottages are almost opposite Nest Cottage. They were built in 1870 by local Hayes builder, William Ledger, who also built the greenhouses for Charles Darwin at Down House. His son Thomas Ledger, a carpenter, was the first occupant of Cottage No 1 (113 Baston Road). By the time of the 1871 Hayes Census he and his wife Julia had four children, aged from six months to six years old.

Baston Cottages
Baston Cottages

Henry Brown, a gardener moved to 4 Baston Cottages (119 Baston Road) in 1897, when he was 32 years old, with his wife Sarah and two daughters Rhoda and Ada, aged five and two respectively. Henry was born in 1898 and Richard Jack in 1904. Sadly, Henry died in 1920 from the effect of blood poisoning from boils he had acquired in the trenches in World War I. Jack became a chauffeur to the Legges at Nash Farm and a bellringer at St Mary’s Church.

Rhoda married an Australian soldier, Percy Alexander Allen, in 1919 and went to Australia where she lived for the rest of her life. Ada married George Jenkins in 1922. Their grandson Richard, who emigrated with his parents to Australia in 1958, has kindly provided us with a great deal of information about his family's time in Hayes.

Richard's grandfather, George Jenkins, was a professional golfer and became assistant to the renowned golfer Henry Cotton when he took up his post at Langley Park Golf Club in 1926. When Henry Cotton left the club in 1933 George decided to stay in Hayes and became a postman until his death in 1940.

George Jenkins Postman
George Jenkins as a postman

Richard's father Spencer was born at 4 Baston Cottages in November 1923. He recalled that he went to

"Hayes Primary School - a typical village school with a headmistress and two teachers in charge of about six forms of children ranging from the age of five to eleven years of age in 3 rooms. The head teacher was Miss Page who was assisted by Miss Barnes and Miss Kiely. The school only had a bitumen playground about 100 feet square so we had to go to Hayes Common to play games such as cricket and soccer. Hayes Common was an extensive expanse of grassland, bracken, gorse and birch trees in a wide park south of the village. The common also provided us with unlimited space for our games after school and on weekends.
There was a pond on the Common near our cottage, where we collected frogs spawn which we kept in jam jars until they became tadpoles and we also collected newts. The village cricket ground was close by.
...Radio was the main source of entertainment at home. Gramophones were also very popular... Most people lived close enough to walk to school. Everyone had annual holidays and my parents and I together with my grandparents went every year to Southsea in Hampshire...
At the age of 11 I was able to sit for a scholarship for a free place at the local Grammar School, fortunately I was successful and began my secondary schooling at Bromley County School. Secondary schooling was very different from primary school, not only did we have to go to school Monday to Friday but also on Saturday morning. My grandparents gave me a new bicycle for winning the scholarship. I was able to ride to and from school on it."

In 1941 Spencer joined the Air Training Corps prior to joining the RAF in 1942. In 1945 he returned briefly to England to marry his teenage sweetheart Eileen and was immediately posted to the Far East. Eventually demobilised, he returned to England and continued his career as an audit clerk. His son Richard was born in 1947.

Baston Cottage Garden
Richard Jenkins in back garden of Baston Cottage with his great-grandfather, Henry and his grandmother Ada in 1948

Richard started at Hayes Primary School and remembers "a teacher named Miss Hardcastle - I recollect acting out 'three billy-goats gruff' with a bridge formed by desks. Miss Brown was my next teacher...". The family moved to a house in Mounthurst Road and Richard then went to the newly opened Pickhurst Primary School. The head was Mr Harmer who had served in the western desert and who remarked how "the soldiers sat for hours in the desert with no shirts on and never got sunburned and yet a day on the beach at Brighton was excruciating."

Great-grandfather Henry died in 1957 and the following year Richard's parents emigrated to Australia. The family has since made the occasional return visit to Hayes.