Preston Road

Photo:Endeavour Motor Company :  click on the image to open a large version in a new window

Endeavour Motor Company : click on the image to open a large version in a new window

From the private collection of Christopher Wrapson

Photo:Staff at the Endeavour Motor Company 1964 : click on the image to open a large version in a new window

Staff at the Endeavour Motor Company 1964 : click on the image to open a large version in a new window

From the private collection of Christopher Wrapson

Ford Endeavour Motor Company

By Christopher Wrapson

Owned by Tommy Sopwith

(EMC) is best remembered as a high profile Ford Main Dealership, owned by Tommy Sopwith son of the famous aviator 'Sir Thomas Sopwith'. The company`s headquarters were based in a brand new purpose built building 90/96 Preston Road and became established in the early 1960s. The site was previously occupied by Hartley & Midgley whose roots can be traced back to the early decades of the 20th century.

Popular Ford models

It is widely acknowledged that EMC heydays were in the swinging sixties and seventies, when the Dealership enjoyed huge success selling and maintaining Ford products of the day Anglia, Cortina, Corsair, Zephyr / Zodiac, Escort, Capri and Granada.

Demolished in 2002

Time passed and the business at Preston Road slowly declined, subsequently EMC disposed of the Ford dealership. However, they retained many of the properties. The Business was renamed 'Brighton Ford' until eventual closure at the beginning of the new millennium. The Endeavour building existed for barely four decades; sadly it was demolished in 2002 to make way for a vast complex of flats to be known as Wellend Villas.

To read a more compressive story on the history of Endeavour Motor Company up to 1973. Please e-mail christopher.wrapson@ntlworld.com

This page was added on 11/04/2013.
Comments about this page

My grandfather Lawrie Sargeant was with Tommy Sopwith (senior) building aeroplanes during WW1. He moved to Brighton after the War and had the first petrol pumps in the town at Clarence Garage, opposite St Mark's Church, Eastern Road. Do you remember Desmond Rippon (my father's ex business partner at Bristol Garage, Church Place) who was with Endeavour in the 60s?

By Tim Sargeant (12/04/2013)

I had my first job at Hartley and Midgley (later to be changed to Endeavour Motor Company) straight from school in 1959. I made life long friends with people from the office and also from the garage, and marrying one of the mechanics. It was a happy time and full of expectation of the new building that was going to be built, but unfortunately, I had left by the time it was finished. I worked in the 'Sales Promotion' office and remember the thousands of leaflets we posted for the new Ford Anglia and others that followed.

By Pat Salmon (12/04/2013)

In reply to Tim Sargeant`s post. Sorry Tim I don`t remember Desmond Rippon! I started working for (EMC) in 1961 at the age of 17 I was employed in the old Hartley & Midgley workshop. By that time the business had been renamed Endeavour Motor Company Ltd and we were all looking forward to moving into the planned new building. The early 1960s was a great time to be a young person working in the motor trade. Ford Motor Company in common with other car manufacturers would launch new models every few months or so. Bright new colours were introduced that seemed to give a statement that Great Britain had finely emerged from the austerity of the post WW2 years - so much so that Harold Macmillan, Conservative Prime Minister of the day, had recently informed the nation that we had never had it so good. I will never forget working in the brand new Endeavour building or the swinging sixties. Those are the years I will always remember with happiness and as Pat Salmon says full of expectation. Regards Chris.

By Christopher Wrapson (17/04/2013)

I own a Ford Fiesta Mk1 that was originally sold by Endeavour. It came up north to Cleveland in the 1990s when the original owner passed away, and the car was given to his brother. I bought it when I was 17 in 2002. It was in decent condition but needed a tidy up. I took it off the road for a full restoration in 2006 after I bought a more modern car. As yet, it still isn't back on the road. It had the original rear window sticker and Endeavour logo'd number plates. It's a shame the dealership has been demolished, as the return was a distant plan of mine once restoration is completed. Unfortunately, the rear window became broken during a snow fall incident from my parents' house roof. Hope it's back on the road again soon. Does anyone else have any Endeavour cars on the road?

By Stuart (22/06/2013)

I own a Ford Escort RS turbo in red bought new from Endeavor motor company. I have the original bill of sale and order form and also the salesman's business card! I'm currently restoring it (I'm in the final 3weeks of completion), and am trying to get images of the dealer logo's for the number plate, rear window and possibly tax disc holder, if anyone can provide any info on this please email me at lee.keefy@hotmail.co.uk.

By Lee (07/08/2013)

Had a fantastic time at EMC in the 80s. Sold loads of cars and made some really good friends. Anybody there at that time please get in touch, I would love to see some photos of that time. Alan Furze, Ray Goody, Alan Pockney - great people. Thanks

By Nigel Collard (08/09/2013)

A lot of my family worked at Endeavour. My cousin Doug Peters from school to retirement in the workshop, his and my uncle Les Hyde was works manager for both Endeavour and Hartley & Midgley. I  went on to look after Tommy Sopwith's speedboats. My sister Vera Lammie was in the office and on reception and my mum Ivy Hyde was tea lady.

By Terry Hyde (22/10/2013)

Endeavour Motor Company was my second home from 1963 until I left in 1992, and felt like a family as my Father Mother and future husband all woked there it was a great place to grow up and have some very happy memories, I worked in the filing office when I left school in 1965 and then went on to work on the main switchboard with Vera Lammie & fondly remember Ivy and her tea trolly.

Happy days

Vida Grinyer nee Johnstone

By Vida Grinyer (02/12/2013)

During the excavation of the Endeavour site in 1962 and in preparation for the new buildings, human bones and artifacts were discovered that proved to be Roman.  Previous excavations of the site in 1876/77 had discovered evidence that a Roman villa or a place of worship had existed there. The villa is commemorated on the stone pillar at the southern entrance of Preston Park. The artifacts discovered in 1962 included human bones, pottery, tools and coins.  All construction work was halted on that part of the site, while a four week archaeology dig took place; led by company director Jack Whitehead who was an amateur archaeologist. Many more items were discovered and eventually all the artifacts found were displayed in a glass cabinet in the new showroom.  Subsequently this valuable and interesting collection was donated to the Brighton Museum. Who remembers the huge mural located in the waiting area in the showroom depicting Brighton Pavilion? More detail here: http://www.mybrightonandhove.org.uk/page_id__11650.aspx

By Chris Wrapson (06/12/2013)

I worked there in the late 80s. I have some very fond memories of the place. I remember some of the characters too from Peggy the tea lady to Fingers. They were all great to work with. I as still in contact with some of the guys even 25 years on.

By Neil Evans (19/01/2014)

I was the Foreman glazier on site with the new build at EMC to the finish. I was also a good friend of Tommy Lance, salesman.The good old days. Tony Freeman.

By Tony Freeman (13/04/2014)

The new Endeavour building used up 6,296 tons of concrete, 148 tons of steel rod, 250 gallons plus of paint, the building also used 2,593,000 bricks - it was once calculated that if all the bricks used were laid end to end they would stretch from Brighton to Dagenham  (I wonder if that were to be true). Tony Freeman and his Glass Men installed 10,883 square feet of glass (approx 1/4 of an acre).  The main workshops, mezzanine floor and stores covered an area of 30,500 sq. ft. and the showroom and office accommodation a further 9,500 sq. ft. The main building facing Preston Road was illuminated. Its lighting was designed to shine upwards and after nightfall it created a 'floating' effect to the whole structure. It was generally agreed that the new Endeavour building with its modern, but restrained and contemporary design enhanced the area, it all seemed to sit comfortably within its surroundings, and was soon to be recognized as one of Brighton's landmark buildings. 

By Chris Wrapson (17/04/2014)

Not sure if anyone can help me, I own a MK1 Escort RS2000 which was purchased new from EMC I have been told its original owner was Managing Director of EMC which would have been in March 1975. The name I have is David Gardner, could anyone tell me if this is the same man as it would be more interesting history on my car which is still going strong.  Any information will be most appreciated. 

By Mark Perriton (26/05/2016)

I worked for Endeavour Motor Company from 1961. Sorry to say I personally don't remember David Gardner as MD. I left EMC in 1973. As I recall, Bob Borradaile was MD around that time. He took over from Peter Rigden. I also remember Roy Grant. Not sure what his job title was at that time. The very best of luck with your ongoing research. Its great to know that your Mk1 Escort purchased all those years ago from EMC is still going strong especially as its a RS2000.   Check out 'Endeavour Old Boys and Girls' https://www.facebook.com/emc.oldboysandgirls/timeline.

By Chris Wrapson (28/05/2016)

Thanks Chris, I thought I had found David Gardner pencilled a letter to last known address but not had any reply, so the hunt continues. Will let you know if I get anywhere.

By Mark Perriton (01/09/2016)

Hi Mark, re your RS2000 and David Gardener. I recently received this e-mail from Endeavour Old Boy Brian McAlister who is happy to share it with others on the MyB&H website and FB. Brian wrote:

Hi Chris, re David Gardner. The only person I can remember around that period with that name was not employed by Endeavour Motor Company but was the Senior Regional Manager for the Southern Area employed by Ford Motor Company. He is seemingly still breathing and lives somewhere in Worcester. I will continue with trying to trace him and keep you posted on the way. Kindest regards, Brian McAlister. 

By Chris Wrapson (03/09/2016)

Gordon E Stewart here. Anyone remember me?

By Gordon E Stewart (13/02/2017)

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