Dennis Hobbs in America is the recent proud owner of buying an old Rolls Royce Car. Attempting to trace the history of the vehicle, he approached me recently about references to it being in Blantyre. He sent me the following old Log book and MOT certificate which showed it made in 1965, and serviced in Broompark Road, J&A Smiths Garage, Blantyre.
The look book showed the Black “Silver Cloud” Saloon vehicle was in 1977 owned by Donald Kerr of Crossbow House, High Blantyre.
The car is noted as having 4 previous owners between 1965 and 1977.The registration of the car was JWT342C and Mr. Kerr was the fifth owner. Dennis asked if I knew anything about Rolls Royce cars in Blantyre or able to track down anything relevant about this.
Crossbow House is now demolished, but i had heard of a car being kept in the garage there. Mr Donald Kerr ran an antiques business there in the 1960’s. He used to make road trips to London and pick up many old Rolls Royce cars and bring them back north to clean them up, then sell them on. Now here is the interesting part, it is rumoured by myth only in Blantyre that one of Mr Kerr’s Rolls Royce once belonged to Hollywood great, Clark Gable!! Of course this particular car couldn’t have been Mr Gables as the famous actor died in 1960, before the car was manufactured. Mr Kerr’s business was by appointment only and he didn’t take kindly to people wandering around the property, despite its woodland, public location.
It is known that many people in Blantyre, usually wealthy or successful businessmen over the decades have owned Rolls Royce Car, perhaps treating themselves to this luxury to celebrate their achievements. Amongst them was Mr Robert Brown of Hastie’s Farm. Mr Brown, commonly referred to as Bobby ran the entertainment business just off Victoria Street. It is said if it was raining, after an evening shift he would run some of his workers home. It is known a Rolls Royce was also parked up and kept at Smiths Garage also in the third quarter of the 20th Century. The Hughes family at the Glebe in Craigmuir Road, in High Blantyre also had a Rolls, near the manse.
Much earlier to the 1970s and 1980s, Mr James Ramage owned a Rolls in the 1950’s. James lived at Viewfield in the Village and was in the business of letting out these beautiful cars for hire for weddings. Peter Wilkie, the local farmer also owned a Rolls, and it is known that at times, he took calves to market in it! T.M Simpson, the plumbing contractor at Rosebank Avenue had another. Earlier again, Micky Valerio owned a Rolls as did Mr Kelly of Blantyre Engineering. Perhaps the only surviving Rolls Royce in Blantyre today, is Peter Wilkie’s old 1950’s car. It is still kept at Bardykes today.
(c) some information from “Blantyre Explained” by Paul Veverka 2016
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