A Davenport Vernon centenary

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D. R. Denne, the Joint Managing Director of Davenport Vernon Ltd. of High Wycombe, the Buckinghamshire town now by-passed by the M4, sent us a copy of an elaborate illustrated history of his Company, remarking that he thought it might cheer us up, at a time of so many mergers or bankruptcies, to hear of a small Company beginning its second 100 years in a good state of health.

We associate his father with an Edwardian 12/16 Sunbeam which used to grace STD Register rallies and the Company is now a Chrysler International Main Agent, still selling Sunbeams. To bicycles were added motorcycles, at the turn of the century, the first meeting of the High Wycombe MCC being held outside the firm’s premises in Corporation Street in April, 1904. The Vernon family were keen motorists and acquired an agency for the Allday car; their own car was a Beeston Humber. Before the first World War the Rover agency was added, and Crossley was secured. In 1926 all other interests were abandoned, in favour of the motor side of the business, and the premises at 15, High Street and the garage behind it devoted to this cause. A year later Lee Motor Works almost opposite was purchased and became the commercial vehicle depot. Incidentally, at this time cows were still turned into High Wycombe High Street at night.

The Company expanded the old Lee Works between 1927 and 1931, pictures in the History showing Rover 8, Model-T Ford van and 11.4 Standard cars in the early depot, a Commer breakdown truck bringing in a crashed Commer lorry and a Lanchester 10 outside No. 32, High Street. They repaired Wellington bombers for Brooklands Aviation Ltd. during the second World War and in 1946 forsook Austin, BSA, Daimler, Rover, MG, Wolseley and Lanchester agencies to become Rootes Main Dealers for most of Bucks.

New premises were opened by Lord Rootes in 1967 and the Wycombe and Bletchley branches are Chrysler Main Dealers, Risborough dealing in Austin, Rover and Land Rover.—W. B.