Perhaps the best known early photograph and postcard scene of the village is the one that has been hanging in the Chequers for many years and is on this month’s front cover. The man in the car is Frank Wellington. The photo was taken in 1906 and at the time he lived in Danbury, but was related to the local Page family who were farmers. In his day Frank was a very well known automotive engineer, vehicle manufacturer, dealer, motor and motorcycle racing enthusiast.
In 1897 he was photographed driving “the first car through Goldhanger” (PM cover photo and article in Sept. Last year), and had registered a patent for “Variable Gearing” for a motor vehicle.
In 1900 he began production of the “Wellington car” in London and was winner of the Crystal Palace “Brassard” race, beating all previous records. In that year he was also chairman of the Motor Car Club, which became the Royal Automobile Club (RAC) in 1907.
Between 1900-1910 he was a member of the management committee of the Motor Users Defence Association, an organisation set up to protect motorists against legal actions. It merged with the Automobile Association (AA) in 1910.
Between 1900 & 1914 there were numerous adverts for F. Wellington Cars Ltd, many associated with Dutch built Spyker cars.
In 1903 he published a book: “How to Buy a Second hand Car”.
From 1905 onwards he raced Spyker cars throughout the UK.
In 1907 he became the manager of Spyker Cars in Amsterdam.
In 1910 Frank Wellington & Bowring Ltd, opened showrooms in Great Portland Street, London.
Frank died in 1917, aged 49 after a motoring accident and in 1924 his business, which also had a showroom in Torquay, was dissolved.
One of the two main cars used in the 1953 film “Genevieve”, which was about the London to Brighton run, was a 1905 Spyker. As the main importers of this car, F. Wellington Cars Ltd probably sold it originally. This actual car last did the London to Brighton run in 2013 and it is now in a museum in The Hague, Holland.
Expensive sports cars are still produced by Spyker in Holland today.
For more about Frank and pictures of his many cars and motorcycles search for: Wellington Goldhanger
Article by David Newman