Thursday, March 9, 2017

Where in London? Part V

Reader Nigel has put together a nice article on the London depots, using in part info from our previous posts (1, 2, 3, 4) and additional very useful local information. We reproduce it here for those of you without Facebook accounts:

This week's Friday History is a collaborative effort with Simon Taylor and Jorge Pullin to whom grateful thanks for all the info and photos; we are concentrating on the retail outlets, showrooms and service depots in London and Birmingham. As early as 1907 Royal Enfield had an office and showroom at 48 Holborn Viaduct which continued right up to 1939 but when the first sales catalogue after the war appeared in 1947 the London showroom was listed as 221 Tottenham Court Rd., the Holborn Viaduct building having been destroyed in the Blitz. No London addresses were listed by 1950, probably due to the establishment of Gander and Gray at nearby Manor Park as Royal Enfield main dealers for London - the company's own showroom would have become superfluous. (Go to to read more about Gander and Gray). In 1935 the company acquired the ground floor of the Holborn Viaduct building and the service depot was listed as 49 Farringdon St; I should explain that Holborn Viaduct crossed Farringdon St and the building complex occupied the corner plot on two ground floor levels as Farringdon Street as on a hill. The offices and showroom were in the building fronting Holborn Viaduct and the service depot fronted Farringdon Street around the corner. Simon Taylor knows the area well and writes '48 Holborn Viaduct is the same building as 49 Farringdon Street, it’s the floor below and at 90 degrees, as the viaduct crosses Farringdon street at that point. It got bombed, but the corner building which contained the public stairs between the two (built with the viaduct) survives'. From 1927 until it was moved into the Farringdon St building, the service depot occupied 5-9 Hatton Wall. Tom McDonnell, brother of RE GB member Gerard McDonnell, is CEO of Monterosa TV Productions company which is located on the second floor of 5-9 Hatton Wall and he tells me that previously the building was a jewellery factory (makes sense as its just round the corner from Hatton Garden). During the time it was occupied by RE the showroom was on the ground floor and access to the service department on the upper floors was from the alleyway at the rear of the building by an external lift which you can see from the photos. The other Royal Enfield showroom and service depot was at 24 Broad St, Birmingham during the 1920's and '30's but that was close enough to Redditch that it didn't need listing in the sales catalogues. The pics show Broad St in 1952 and what it looks like now, {screen grabs from Google and Bing}. Its very difficult to identify precisely where each building was located (apart from Hatton Wall) following the Luftwaffe's Town Planning policy for our inner cities of 1940-1 and subsequent redevelopment. Photos in order, 49 Farringdon St (Holborn Viaduct was round the corner to the right), next 5-9 Hatton Wall, No 6 is copy of addresses from 1936 catalogue, then 221 Tottenham Court Rd, aerial view of London locations, last two Broad St Birmingham 1952 and today.

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