The days of the empire

Another curious bit of the Ralph Ferrie jigsaw landed anonymously by email this week. Supplied as-is (I tweaked the images a bit for clarity), all the accompanying note said was ‘July, 1957. Lichfield Mercury, Ralph Ferrie’s new showroom.’

I thank Anonymous for this very much. I was discussing the material with [Howmuch?] yesterday and we’re unsure where this was – was it on Streets Corner, or was it the one on the site of what is now St. John’s Medical Centre? This certainly gives the impression of a busy operation, going all out for new business. He’s certainly got lots of bases covered – commercials, PSV’s, small cars, spares. Note that there seem to be three branches listed on the sign in the photo – ‘Birmingham?’ ‘Brownhills’ and ‘Midland’ – curious. Quite a find.

Brownhills Motor Sales, Lichfield Road, Walsall Wood. Part of the Ralph Ferrie empire as featured in the Lichfield Mercury in July, 1957.

The picture above came from this advert - clearly pushing a growing, can-do style of business. From what I can tell, Ralph was always up for doing a deal. From the Lichfield Mercury, July 1957.

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7 Responses to The days of the empire

  1. David Evans says:

    Hi Bob
    super ! The building was Knights of Kingstanding, formerly Hardwicks grocers shop on Street Corner, and faced Lichfield Road. The site is now boarded up and will become ( I think) a new Co-op.. The original shop had the door in a central position. There was an air-raid shelter behind it. At one time there had been a big-top tent for the very local circus..which still tours, by the way. You can just make out one of the school buildings to the top right of the photo, and to the top left I think you can make out the former Primary School building
    The cars for sale?Ford prefect(?)Land Rover,Austin A30..Dodge truck(?)Rolls Royce, Stand Vanguard..can’t make out the rest. I wonder if the Roller belonged to Mr Ferrie? I don’t think the site was open for very long. Iwonder why it closed down? mre recent years,Saturn Car Sales was there for a long time before ill health forced its closure.A big thankyou to anonymous for this super image. Does anyone have an image of the Car Sales down High Street Walsall Wood..where the Medical Centre is, or the Whyknot Cycle shop?
    David, a bit bleary-eyed.

  2. David Evans says:

    Hi Bob
    in 1957 the Suez crisis had only recently ended but petrol was still in very short supply.Hiskins Garage Lichfield, just one of many, was importing and selling great numbers of very economical Goggomobil Messerschmitt and Isetta bubble cars, Difficult time to sell big cars, perhaps.

  3. tone says:

    Hi Bob, I have a news clip which would be of interest to you and your readers however I’m a bit thick and don’t know how to send the picture to you…can you help please.

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