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Pictures from the Heritage Archives

In this first picture it is almost 20 minutes past three in the afternoon of July the 23rd 1954 and we are permitted a glimpse into the cutting room of the upholstery department. Here we see the hide laid out and the patterns marked off in readiness for careful cutting into the pieces which will become the seats and interior trim. Note the weights used to flatten and hold the work in place. This is a highly skilled task and any mistake made here could be expensive.

Connelly of Canterbury were suppliers of leather to most of the British motor industry and Armstrong Siddeley were no exception. Back in 2000 a group of Armstrong Siddeley enthusiasts visited the tanning works in Canterbury, following on to the factory in Ashford. Wonder was expressed, when given the basic details of a members car, the guide went to a cabinet and pulled out the full specification, including colour, of the materials Connelly had provided specific to that vehicle.

Our second picture takes us into the machine shop where the pleating, padding, piping and shaping of the seats and trim are carried out. These ladies had a job security at this time, which was not always the case, due to the strong demand for the 'Sapphire' range of cars. At one time it was general in this industry and not unusual to be given payment on the Friday and told that there would be no need of one's services the following Monday.

It is nice to observe the human touches in this photo. Handbags and teacups share space with the rolls of material on the shelves behind and right at the centre back of the shot two ladies have spied someone with a camera and can not resist having a peek.


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