Cars in books, December 1963

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From “Essex Schooldays,” by Simon Dewes (Hutchinson, 1960), we learn that Sir William Hyde-Parker, who resided at Melford Hall, had a “very old, high-off-the-ground Ford saloon . . . driven by a chauffeur who was a good deal older than Sir William and had been promoted—although he did not look at it that way—from horses. It travelled very slowly and sedately with much sounding of the horn. The interior was upholstered in a kind of chintz that had been left over when the couch and chairs in the study were covered.” This Ford, I assume, was a model-T, unless it was a very early model-A.

Mr. Dewes tells us also of Mr. Topham who “had had one of the first motor cars in Suffolk, somewhere about the turn of the century, and, however depressed he became, he had always kept up this interest in motors, one monster succeeding another and all of them being open tourers of anything between 40 and 60 h.p.” At one time Rector of Melford, and later, between fits of depression, moving to Boxford, Mr. Topham apparently retired to Twineham on the South Downs. In earlier years, “In these enormous vehicles, Mr. and Mrs. Topham, still dressed in the clothes of pioneer motorists—veils and goggles and leather coats with fur collars—had travelled over most of Europe, going to Spain and Italy and Greece and, before the Revolution, to Russia, sending all their friends picture postcards of these places, for their whole interest lay in the length of the day’s run or how steep a gradient they had climbed in top gear, or other things which would be of moment only to equally mechanically-minded people.”

Can anyone enlarge on this and tell us what cars the Rev. Topham and his motoring-minded wife used?—W. B.