London Road

Photographed from a train

By Stuart Joseph

An unusual shot

In my youth I took a number of unusual photographs and I recently came accross this one. it took me a few minutes to think how & where the photo was taken.

London Road Viaduct

I think I must have taken this one from a moving train over the London Road Viaduct. Preston Park is in the background. The blue & white building initially threw me but I think its the Endeavour Motor Company building. If I remember correctly they were a Ford dealership, now long demolished.

Click on the image to open a large version in a new window.

Photo:View of London Road

View of London Road

Photo by Stuart Joseph

This page was added on 19/05/2011.
Comments about this page

Yes Stuart you are right about Endeavour Showroom and Stores. Not a building I shall forget in a hurry. I was fortunate to sit in and fire up a Le Mans GT40 in that building. Unfortunately not allowed to drive it out of the showroom. I'm still dreaming, has any one got a million quid or so they don't need?

By Bob (originally from Brighton) (20/05/2011)

The block of flats to the left of the photograph used to be Endeavour Motors, the Ford agents and service garage.

By Paul (20/05/2011)

The "block of flats" to the right of the photo "is" Endeavour Motors! I guess the photo is probably late 1970s or 80s when the Endeavour building was still there. It looks like the BP fuel sign behind the tree. The roof in the foreground was the engineering facility of Brighton Technical College, which I attended between 1970 and 1974. I remember some classrooms looked out over the Endeavour building. Another interesting fact about Endeavour and the petrol station in front of it, was the fact that it must have had one of the first "pay and pump" facilities going! I can remember almost running out of petrol, probably late at night; in those days there was no 24 hour fuel. The BP garage in front of Endeavour had a machine where you could put a pound note in, and then the pump delivered a couple of gallons of fuel. It was however very temperamental!! The Endeavour building was removed and replaced with the current wooden faced flats about 1994!

By Peter Groves (21/05/2011)

What year was this taken?

By Julie Annets (21/05/2011)

Endevour Motors, a Ford main dealer, was once named by the News of the World (I believe) as having various teams of mechanics competing to see who could process the most number of car services per shift. Of course, some teams cheated, so a number of cars were delivered back to their owners without having had anything at all done to them. This caused uproar at the time in Brighton.

By Alan Phillips (22/05/2011)

I wonder is there a year for this picture. The few cars in view look 70s / 80s. The BP sign more like 1960s. However, the shot was taken after the A23 was diverted southbound via Stanford Ave and Beconsfield Road, which was sometime in the 1970s I think. (Help please Andy Grant) "The building on the right" was of course the headquarters of Endeavour Motor company 90/96 Preston Road, the main workshop and stores were located behind in Springfield Road. The Endeavour building and workshops were designed by the old established and respected architects Gotch & partners. The main building contractor was TJ Braybon & Sons. The new building replaced the antiquated Hartley & Migdley premises, purchased by Tommy Sopwith in 1960. Construction commenced in 1961 the main showrooms and offices officialy opened in 1962. However, because of the very severe winter of 1962/63-completion of the whole complex was delayed by a few months. Over the years the Endeavour showrooms became one of Brighton's landmark buildings, it all seemed to sit comfortably whithin its surroundings, when floodlit it did brighten up the area and the rather drab looking Stanford Court flats next door. During the mid 1960s and 70s Endeavour Motor company was to become one of the most successful Ford main dealers in the UK - no mean achievement when you consider that half its potential cutomers were fishes swimming in the English Channel. It had huge success selling the Ford products of the day, Cortina, Corsair, Escort, Capri and the now legendary Transit van, to name just a few. The very large Service department opened 24 hours a day. The company grew over the years and opened several more sites in the area. By the 1990s it had changed its name to plain old Brighton Ford. Also by that time many other large town centre garages and showrooms became not fit for purpose. Sadly the Endeavour building lasted barlely four decades. Inevitably in 2002 it was demolished to make way for housing. A great shame they built such a ghastly looking block of flats on the site. I worked for the company from 1961/ 1974 it was a bit of a roller coaster ride. However, I have great memories of my Endeavour years, working on those "FAB" 1960s Fords.

By Christopher Wrapson (23/05/2011)

I passed Endeavour every day doing my paper round and I'm sure I saw Mercedes cars in there. This was 1962/3 during the bad winter. One old chap who lived on Preston Road gave me a cup of tea and said he would take his hat off to me for coming out in that weather. I was up to my knees in snow.

By Anne Newman (23/05/2011)

If memory serves, the photo was taken sometime around 1982. I remember it was a dull dreary day, not ideal for taking photographs. Me and my pal were heading off to Lewes for the day.

By Stuart Joseph (23/05/2011)

I bought a brand new Ford Cortina from there in what must have been late 60s/early 70s. It was the model with the new 'cross flow head' engine - and in metallic blue. Wow! I attended evening classes at the Preston Tech (opposite) to eventually sit the Radio Amateurs' Exam (which I passed in 1957) The Principal at the time was a Mr Palmer. I realised later that he was the father of my pal from Primary/Junior school (St Marks) and we all lived in the same Peel Road, East Brighton! Anyone heard of Neil or Neal Palmer? He passed the 11+ of course moving on to Varndean and then University. I failed, and ended up at Whitehawk Secondary! He no doubt became a Scientist or Something!

By Brian Hatley (07/06/2011)

My first job was as an apprentice at Endeavour Motor Co Ltd where I began my working life at the age of 15. Recently on meeting an old workmate I managed to recall from the memory banks around 75 people I met there during my 6 years with the company. I remember going into the basement where we stored possessions from accident damaged vehicles and seeing various wheels/tyres and parts of Tommy Sopwith's racing Jaguar. We had bad winters and I remember being sent onto the petrol forecourt armed with a shovel to clear the area to allow customers to gain access to purchase fuel, if I remember it was £1.00 for 3 gallons of 2 star back then - 6s 8d per gallon, the same price as a 45 single record of the day .

By Alan Spicer (12/06/2011)

While working at Endeavour, I remember a good looking blond haired customer who was Gary Farr, lead singer of The T Bones, his father was the legendary boxer Tommy Farr. Whilst at the Endeavour Kingsway branch we often saw Frankie Vaughan whose Mum lived on the corner of Saxon Rd, we helped him get into the boot (trunk) of his Ford Thunderbird one day, a lovely man with a super sun tan.

By Alan Spicer (13/06/2011)

Whilst an apprentice at Endeavour, I attended Preston Technical College opposite the garage. During the evening stint, we had a Maths /calculations teacher named Mr Clough. Once he got talking about his war time experiences the lesson went out of the window. A very brave man who flew unarmed photo recon missions in a stripped out Spitfire which was painted pink for some reason, we were in awe.

By Alan Spicer (13/06/2011)

When working at Endeavour commercial at Kingsway a chap called Jim Tiller used to visit us. He was a school teacher with a full beard. Mr Tiller owned a couple of Allard cars one of which was a J2 racer in which he had fitted a Cadillac engine. We gave him a used clutch from a Thames Trader truck which I believe he used in the car to cope with its new found power. When finished he let my friend Colin Bird and I take the car for a spin around Saxon Rd, the power was amazing. As a teenager I had seen the Allards in a garden near Patcham clock tower where I believe Mr Tiller lived .

By Alan Spicer (25/06/2011)

My father worked at Endeavor Moters during the early 1960s. He was a mechanic, Miles Hiern-Cooke or Bill as everybody called him. He loved the cafe over the road from the garage, the In and Out?

By Stuart Hiern-Cooke (05/09/2011)

Hi Stuart I worked for Endeavour Motor company back in the 1960s and remember your Father well. I never knew he had such a posh name! As I recall he was a very popular member of the workshop staff. To his colleagues he was affectionately known as Cookie or as you say "Bill" For a time he taught us apprentices. He was also one of the few mechanics who were privileged to work on Mr Sopwiths fleet of sports cars. Cookie was a true petrol head and was never happier when working on, or road testing, those Big old meaty Zephyrs and Zodiac. I to remember the "In and out Cafe" and as a special treat on a Friday we would all have our lunch there (couldn't afford it every day) my favourite dish was Spaghetti Bolognese and chips. Your Father was a larger than life character, a person you never forget! I don't remember which year in the 1960s he passed away. It was indeed a sad day when we were told that Cookie had died tragically as a result of a road traffic accident. Your Father is always remembered along with others at our regular EMC re-unions: Kind Regards Chris

By Christopher Wrapson (07/09/2011)

I'm trying to get together some information about the Endeavour Motor Company in the early 70s for a car club magazine article. Specifically I'm interested in their designation as a Ford Ralley Sport dealership. If anybody is able to assist with any information or memories of this time I would be very grateful. My e-mail address is editor@avoclub.com . Thanks very much, Stewart

By Stewart Anderson (27/09/2011)

Hello Christopher, Thanks for sending me the info about my dad. It was nice to know he was well liked by everyone there. Any information about him is great as I don't know much about him being only 10 yeas old when he died. I very much appreciate you getting in touch. Kind regards Stuart Hiern-Cooke

By stuart hiern-cooke (09/10/2011)

Hello Christopher, just wanted to add my thanks too, for the info on my father Bill (Miles HC). We know so little about him although I knew how much he loved cars. He was driving an E Type Jaguar, when he crashed so at least he went out in style. To know he was well thought of is great news, and that he had a job he loved doing. Any further memories from anyone else who knew him would be great.

By Kirsten Hiern-Cooke (19/11/2011)

I too worked at the Endeavour Motor Company from 1960-1987 and I remember Bill Cook "Cookie" very well. In fact I reached a landmark stage in my life when out with him in an AC Cobra, he was driving, and it was the first time I experienced a 100mph. Bill used to live with his partner in a very small cottage on the outskirts of Henfield. He was an extremely tall man and I often wondered how difficult it must have been for them both living in such a small dwelling. The cottage is no longer there; it wouldn't surprise me if it was blown down in the hurricane of 1987! Every Friday lunchtime his partner would meet him for lunch and they would go to the cafe in Preston Road mentioned above. Fond memories.

By Laurie Evans (05/03/2012)

If the photograph was taken in 1982, then I was probably sitting in my office at the front of the building on the first floor. I was secretary to the Managing Director at that time. My stay with EMC lasted from 1973 to early 1992. It didn't seem long after that the company disappeared for good.

By Linda Penn (06/03/2012)

I worked there as an apprentice from 1962, originally at Hartley and Midgley in Hove and transferred their until I left in 1971 to move to Canada. Also have a friend close by that worked there on night shift - Peter Leaney. Also attended the college across the road.

By Colin Tettersell (19/04/2012)

My memories are many fold. The 24hr parts department was a blessing as I seemed to be an old Ford owner at the time. The service department's poor reputation made me a lot of money. Several neighbours had Fords that I serviced rather than them 'risk it'. As for Mr Clough, that really brings back memories of the Tech Building. Now feeling quite old!

By Steve Green (27/06/2012)

I was an apprentice there in the mid to late 70s and also went back there a couple of times in the 80s, thanks Laurie Evans for taking me back! I have the fondest memories of working there, it was a great atmosphere (most of the time). I have been trying to locate pictures of the building online but to no avail. If anyone can help I would be grateful. Thanks.

By Mark Oliver (24/09/2012)

I lived almost opposite in Dyke Road Drive. In the 1960s I was in the 4th Brighton Scouts at St. Augustine's in Stanford Avenue; after Scouts finished (on a Monday night?) many of us went round to Endeavour's repair section in Springfield Road where there was a drinks machine that could dispense hot soup. It was a mysterious powder dropped into a plastic cup, filled with hot water, probably all additives! but to a 13 year old very tasty and being amongst 'real' workers felt very grown-up!

By Geoffrey Mead (25/09/2012)

Hi Mark Oliver. It's nice to hear that someone else has good memories working for Endeavour Motor Company, as expected some of the previous comments do seem a little negative! I like to think as an ex-employee the good times outweighed the bad times. I have several photos of the Endeavour building taken when new, back in the early 1960s, also pix of the workshop in Springfield Road and the commercial workshop 77 Beconsfield Road, it would be good to share these pix with others. My email details christopher.wrapson@ntlworld.com The Evening Argus is another source re the Endeavour Motor Company, they have a wealth of pictorial material in their archive department. However, good luck with persuading them to part company with anything to do with EMC! Nowadays there is no trace in Preston Road that the Endeavour building ever existed. Sadly this once very high profile Brighton main Ford dealership has more or less disappeared off the radar screen.

By Christopher George Wrapson (19/10/2012)

I have just bought a Ford escort series one turbo from here on the PDI sheet I have some intials of mechanics don't know if anyone knows them there RT? SR? and appearance checked by CG. This was in Feb 85. I don't suppose anyone has a endeavour keyring from then or brochures from 1985? Either series one related or other they'd like to sell? I'd have loved to have drove down and took pictures outside that building - its gone!

By Lee Morrison (23/11/2012)

Hi, what a lovely photo, it really takes me back and feel all nostalgic. I worked for Endeavour Motor Company from Summer 1985 to Xmas 1986. Not very long, but seemed long at the time as it was my first job after leaving secretarial college. I was a Clerk Typist (you don't hear of them anymore!) I worked on the first floor under the supervision of Pauline. Really funny old building with a central lift and a Tea Lady called Peggy, who used to make everybody in the offices their morning and afternoon cuppas every single day! I used to love working on the switchboard downstairs in the showroom, surrounded by brand new Ford Cars (Ford Escort 3Xis and Fiesta 'Holidays' and Sierras!!!) I live in Winchester now and love to see old photos of Brighton - takes me back!!

By Tonia Edwards (08/01/2013)

I worked at Endeavour for 1 year between 1963 and 1964 in the accounts department. Unfortunately I cannot remember the names of the other three guys I worked with (I think one was Eric). I remember Tommy Sopwith kept an office and one day I had a nose around at all the racing car memorabilia.

By Rod Tempest (20/01/2013)

I was employed at Hartley Midgley Ford tractor section from 1948 to 1952. As a young lad going around the farms in Sussex servicing tractors was great.

By Philip Davey (18/03/2013)

I joined Hartley & Midgley tractor department in 1959 and started my Indentured Apprenticeship in 1960. There were no other apprentices when I started although a few more joined up shortly afterwards. There were three skilled mechanics I worked under (not all at the same time). Each mechanic had a Fordson 10cwt Pick Up and we spent each day travelling to farms around Sussex repairing tractors and other agricultural machinery. The tractor department gradually evolved into the commercial department - more suited to its location. This was situated underneath the railway arches in Beaconsfield Road, not ideal for large trucks. By this time I worked in the car department which was in the old workshops in Springfield Road. I was still an apprentice when the all new Endeavour Motor Company buildings were finished. Up on the mezzanine floor we had the Endeavour apprentice school. This was under the supervision of skilled technicians, one of them being Bill Cooke. I have very fond memories of Bill, he had a great deal of knowledge and we all learnt a lot from him. He was quite eccentric in his manner, very proud of his 'genuine beduine' hand carved ivory cigarette holder and he also wore 'bungee' footwear.' One day we were out on test in a Mk III Zephyr Zodiac, heater on maximum, Bill fully relaxed and myself 'white knuckling' as we went round the bend at Old Boat Corner at a fair rate of knots! The roof in the foreground of the picture is one of the buildings that was used by Brighton Technical College for training Motor Vehicle Technicians. I completed by apprenticeship on 26th April 1965. I left Endeavour Motor Company in 1967, and have lots of great memories of my time there. I met a great bunch of characters many of which I am still in contact with today.

By John Champion (24/03/2013)

Hi John Champion. Nice post Johnny boy! Both interesting and informative. I too have good memories of my Endeavour years 1961 / 1973 and many of the things you mention. If anyone would like to read the Endeavour Motor Company Story - which includes the early Hartley & Midgley era - please email christopher.wrapson@ntlworld.com

By Christopher Wrapson (25/03/2013)

In the early 1990s I used to have layovers in Brighton, as I was a cabin crew member of Northwest Airlines, based in Boston. I was/am/will be a motorhead, a Ford motorhead, and I used to haunt Endeavour Ford. The sales staff were very kind to me and let me inspect all of the cars. They even let me drive a then-new Contour around the block. If I remember correctly the sign on the building was simply "ENDEAVOUR" in the familiar Ford-style block letters. Good memories of this place thanks.

By John (23/05/2013)

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