06. visit to Kent

Chapter 7 a visit to Kent    

I had to go down to Kent first week in May to collect a vintage BSA motorcycle.

1929 BSA 350CC Sloper

Me and my business partner Ken run a vintage motorcycle business-www.vinandvet.com 

I went down with my wife Lynn and we took the opportunity to visit some of the places associated with my Buick story.

The chap I was collecting the bike from lived in Dunkirk, about 20 miles from Westgate-on-Sea.  I had told Richard that I was researching my old car, and when the BSA was bought he asked about my Buick, and guess what, he remembered seeing old vehicles in a  yard on the road into Westgate, and this was Hundred Farm Stables where my car was found.

Richard said he knew just the man to ask, Len Adlington, who used to be a policeman in Wesgate. He rang Len for me and passed the phone over-

The conversation went something like this-

Hi Len, do you remember a chap called Ivor Read in Westgate?

Oh yes, he was a real gentleman, very kind, a charming person. He owned the tennis courts and a big house called the Pavillion. I had 5 kids and a small police house and Ivor said I could rent the Pavillion house, but my inspector was jealous because it was bigger than his house and wouldn’t pay the rent. I ended up in a new council house instead.

Ivor never married but he had a rich girlfriend. Lovely girl.

Do you remember Ivor’s sister Olive?

Oh yes, Olive liked a drink, fell down stairs one night and broke her neck!

Wow! Really?

Yes, I was a coroners officer, but I wasn’t on duty that night. It was Sargeant Arthur Norris, but I went with him next day to the big house she shared with Ivor. There was a gap in the banister at the top and 18 stairs, I had to count them.

At this point I should tell you that Len is 92 years old and having trouble with his legs, but there is nothing wrong with his memory. This all happened 47 years ago and he wasn’t expecting my phone call.

Olive used to go into Margate shopping on Saturday morning, her chauffer drove her in a big american car, and had to wait for her outside the Kings Head pub.

Do you remember seeing a Buick car towing the mower on the golf course,  Len?

No sorry, but I did sell Ivor a 5 cwt pickup to tow that mower, probably when the Buick gave up.

Thanks Len, really nice talking to you.

Next day we went to find out more-

Is that a Buick mowing in the distance?

I had arranged to meet Terry Sharp at Westgate & Birchington Golf Club to see the gang mower that the Buick used to tow. It was in a shed on the course and we took some photos-

The gang mower.

and again

Terry then took us across the main road to the new housing estate, recently built at Hundred Farm Stables, the yard where my Buick was found in 1986 ish.

The new sign.

Terry thinks the barn was on this side of the yard.

Buick found here.

We then went back to Terry’s office where he showed us a photo of the golf club members in 1937, and I saw my first picture of Ivor read, his father Arthur, and Olive Read.

Golf club members 1937.

Arthur is centre front, Ivor 3rd from left, and Olive in the white dress.

List of members in photo.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Later that morning we had an appointment to meet Dr Dawn Crouch. Dawn runs the Westgate Heritage Centre, and she has a particular interest in Ivor Read, and researched Ivor and his family for her doctorate.

I saw pictures of Ivor when he was young, and Dawn told me that Ivor was well educated, attending Harrow Public School and Clare College Cambridge, and then worked at Price Waterhouse Accountants in London.

Arthur Read, Ivor’s father, died in 1953, age 86. Olive died on 6th July 1965, age 65. They are buried in the family grave in Margate cemetary along with Ivor who died on 5th December 2001, age 98. Ivor left £15 million pounds to 4 charities, having never married and no children.

Dawn knew nothing about the attack on Mr Beer while driving the Buick, but as I later found out, Westgate and Margate were bombed or machine gunned almost daily in the early part of the war.

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