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Pictures from the Heritage Archives

Workers cars part 5

Still standing at the mouth of Paradise Street we turn around to view along Parkside, back in the direction of the bicycle sheds. On our left

the buildings house the Sphinx Social Club and the furthest in this block is shown on the company plan as housing the Fire Station, beyond this the bicycle sheds once more.

On the right hand side is the somehow unexpected location for a group of houses. These are shown on the plan and referred to as 'the cottages'. It is evident as time passed these were absorbed into the factory complex.

All but one of the cars in the picture show decidedly British styling. The exception being the first car on the left by the cycle sheds. A Vauxhall Wyvern or Velox, which by1950 along with Ford had introduced a Stateside look to U.K. car styling. Interestingly with these early cars Vauxhall experimented with the bonnet section lifting from the side, however, they soon reverted to the more familiar alligator style.

As the war clouds gathered, which would soon plunge the country into a second world war, the Armstrong Siddeley management took the sensible precaution of moving the Fire Brigade section outside the confines of main factory.

In our second picture we see again, to the left, the Sphinx Club buildings, with the new Fire Station in the process of construction. The plaque above the doors reads AD 1939. The 'engine' is based on the Commer type LN truck and the pump unit parked beside it the once ubiquitous Coventry Climax FSM type, Series 2, Fire Trailer. Both were new designs introduced in 1938. The fire pump trailer was a joint design with the Home Office and many hundreds were made, though very few have survived till today. Note also the sandbags placed against the right hand wall of the Fire Station building. Referring back to our first picture this week we can see that by the 1950s the building had undergone some changes and the exit doors had been moved round the corner.


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