>Sepia Saturday 65: Learning to drive

>My Grandpa Charles Leslie Lionel Payne (1892-1975) probably learned to drive a motor car in 1926. Although one document amongst his Canadian Expeditionary Force service records describes him as a “driver,” I believe this was more accurately a wagon driver, rather than of a motorised vehicle. During the early part of the Great War he was serving with the 2nd Divisional Train of the C.A.S.C., and driving horse-drawn wagon loads of supplies would have been one of his duties.

Image © and courtesy of Barbara Ellison
Amongst my Dad’s papers is his father’s first driving licence, issued at Derby on 31 March 1926, at which time he was living at 154 Almond Street, Derby with his parents. Sadly, I don’t appear to have a photocopy or scan of this document, although it may be in a “safe place” somewhere. This snapshot is one of a series of three that I believe must have been taken in the mid-to late 1920s, presumably after he got his licence. I’ve sent an image to the ever helpful Surrey Vintage Vehicle Society with a request for an identification of the vehicle, in the hope that it will help me date it, and will report back on their findings. I don’t believe Grandpa ever owned a vehicle, so this one may have belonged to his Uncle Hallam – who I know purchased a Citroen in July 1921 – or to his employer Robert Clayborn.

Image © and courtesy of Barbara Ellison
The building visible behind the vehicle doesn’t look like the house at 154 Almond Street, a Street View image of which featured in my story about his mother Amy, posted a few days ago. I suspect it is either the house where he and my grandmother moved after their marriage in September 1926 (‘Marlboro,’ Chellaston Road, Allenton) or the yard at Clayborn’s in Shelton Lock were he was employed as a builder’s clerk from the late 1920s until the outbreak of the Second World War.

Image © and courtesy of Barbara Ellison
By comparing photographs taken on his wedding day (1926) and in the mid-1930s, I think this series of snapshots may have been taken in the late 1920s or early 1930s.

Image © and courtesy of Barbara Ellison
The three loose paper prints are roughly trimmed, but measure approximately 46-48 x 68.5-70.5 mm, are on Velox paper and have the photographer batch number “1369” stamped on the reverse. Another series of three snapshots showing Grandpa in his characteristic cigarette smoking stances, and at roughly the same time, also sadly unannotated, has the batch number “1380” hand-stamped in identical type on the reverse.

This post is an entry for Sepia Saturday 65, where you’ll find many more of similar ilk.

Post Script: Bozi Mohacek of the Surrey Vintage Vehicle Society has kindly identified the vehicle as a Model “T” Ford.

Various body aspects suggest a build year of c. 1923. As it could be a UK made car it may be a year later.

As the car looks fairly well used, at least to me, this would fit with a date estimate of the late 1920s/early 1930s.


~ by gluepot on Thursday, March 10, 2011.

19 Responses to “>Sepia Saturday 65: Learning to drive”

  1. >Great pictures Brett. he obviously liked that pipe.

  2. >Yes, that's how I remember him – with a pipe. Thank you.

  3. >Email received from Bozi Mohacek of the SVVS idenifying the vehicle – article updated.

  4. >Great photo. The close-up is great because you can really see the expression on his face – much warmer than from a distance.P.S. I was having trouble with the Sepia Saturday link. Might be just me.

  5. >Yes, I liked the succession of portraits, ending with the closeup, too. I have no idea who took them – perhaps it was my grandmother, Ethel, although I doubt it.Sorry about the wonky link – my fault, not yours, but I'm not sure if I can fix it.Regards, Brett

  6. >Great pictures. It seems strange now how popular it was to photograph men with pipes.I had to be a sleuth with your link.

  7. >Wonderful photos and I'm curious that a series of three were taken. Was this a common thing to do? It seems that to sit there for the three photos, it must have been important either to him or the photographer that they be taken. No way to zoom and crop the way we can with digital photos nowadays.

  8. >Yes, Postcardy, sorry about that – one of those "could do better" moments and I'll make sure I get it right next week. Perhaps it was just that a lot of men smoked pipes.Melissa – I'm not sure if it was common. I've not seen it often, but it makes me think that the photographer was a close family member. Perhaps it was Ethel!

  9. >Fantastic photograph Brett. That car must have cost a lot of money back then.

  10. >Thanks Howard. According to Wikipedia: "The standard 4-seat open tourer of 1909 cost $850 (equivalent to $20,709 today), when competing cars often cost $2,000–$3,000 (equivalent to $48,726–$73,089 today) … By the 1920s, the price had fallen to $290 (equivalent to $3,289 today) because of increasing efficiencies of assembly line technique and volume."You can't buy many new cars for $3,289 today!

  11. >Great pictures and thanks for the lead on finding the make of the car in my post. My grandfather, who took those pictures, also served in the Great War as a driver in the Canadian Expeditionary Forces.

  12. >A fascinating post Brett and those images are so evocative of the time. It is a shame that some people will not find it because of the wobbly link. If you finish up with a wobbly link in future the best thing to do is to simply add a new link and then add a comment to the Blog thread explaining what has happened and I will remove the earlier bad link asap. Regards, Alan

  13. >OK done thank you Alan.

  14. >This is a very interesting post. The photo is wonderful and I like the close up of your grandfather, he has such a gentle expression. Love his pipe!

  15. >Love the way his knees are higher than the doors.

  16. >T+L – I know how he feels. He was a tall man – according to his CEF Attestation paper, 6'1" – and I'm 3" taller than that. I hate to think how I would've looked in a Model T. I doubt you could adjust the seats backwards.

  17. >Oh my yes. Those cars were not made for people with long legs. A long journey like that would be like being stuck on just about any plane these days in coach.

  18. >Checking in for my first time. I love the old photos of grandpa and the car.

  19. >He looks just like Bing Crosby in the last photo!Barbara

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