Sparkford Museum workshop

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A pleasant and well attended party recently took place at the Haynes-Sparkford Motor Museum, in association of the opening, by the Chairman of S Somerset DC and Her Worship the Mayoress of Yeovil, of Hall Four, newly-erected in honour of William Morris. This new hall replicates The Morris Garage Limited, just as it was at Longwell Street, Oxford in 1912.

The premises are, in fact, a workshop for historic vehicles, not as might be supposed for public use, but simply to show visitors to this museum that John Haynes requires every exhibit there to go through this workshop to ensure that it works, is fully presentable and historically correct. This is a laudable ideal, helped by the one-kilometre test track surrounding the museum buildings, on which cars can be driven without having to be taxed. This should be a useful facility for journalists wishing to try them, too.

Four skilled mechanics look after the workshop, doing everything but electroplating and upholstering. This ‘garage’ is a fine period reproduction and in it stood, among other cars, an A7 saloon listed for sale at £15 12s 6d!

In Hall Four itself were six MGs and a whole line-up on both sides of representative Morris cars of all ages, commencing with a pre-1914 bull-nose two-seater. However, this had not exhausted the MG element in the main exhibition halls, where we saw an MG PA, for instance. (Incidentally, the Haynes Classic Car Tour will start from the Museum on May 23, on its way to the NEC in Birmingham.)

Although the visit was to see this new workshop and the William Morris Hall, one was reminded again of how very attractive this Somerset Motor Museum is. The 154 cars on display, together with motorcycles, children’s cars, models and automotive memorabilia of all kinds, are all so sparklingly clean (yet are maintained, so John Haynes told us, by one man and his feather brush which says much for their original quality), of such variety and so well displayed, in light, airy well illuminated halls. And where else might you see, in this country, a 1917 Haynes Light-12 tourer, a 1925 Stearnes-Knight or a 1928 Jordon Playboy Roadster? On this occasion a very tastefully prepared and tasty buffet luncheon was provided. Journalists should not put a priority on such hospitality I would not have gone to the Renault Reinastella launch just because it was staged at the Visonarium at Euro-Disney! – but it did round the day off nicely.