Santler Cars ~ Malvern’s early car

Two photographs showing two early Santler cars, 1889 and 1907
Two early Santler cars, 1889 and 1907

The first four wheeled petrol car was invented by two Santler brothers in Malvern Link in 1889. Cars became a more familiar sight around Malvern after the First World War. They were not greeted with enthusiasm by a large proportion of the Malvern population judging from many letters of complaint to the Gazette in the 1920s! There are reports of motorists being fined for not displaying their number plates, travelling too fast or parking for long periods outside shops. This last problem was a source of irritation for pedestrians. Owners of pony and carts also found it more difficult to negotiate the public highway.

Motor accidents

Motor accidents were quite common in the first few decades of the 20th century. Mr John Hayes of 2 Eastfield Villas, Barbers Hill, was a lorry driver. In 1922 he received an injury to his wrist. The lorry he was starting backfired,  which had caused the handle to swing violently. His average weekly earnings had been £2 11s 3d before the accident. The Workmen’s Compensation Act entitled him to 35s a week but this was later reduced.  John Hayes could only undertake light work because of his injury and it was difficult to find a job that would bring in sufficient wages to keep his family.

Travel in Wedderburn Road

Like most residential areas in Malvern, cars were not a common sight in Wedderburn Road for some decades after the First World War.

Annie Stanton the laundress, dressed for a day trip
Annie Stanton, the laundress

By the mid 1940s, the only car in the road was owned by Annie Stanton. She used one for her laundry business.

After the Second World War Reginald Malsom realised there was a need for garaging space among some of the newcomers who had cars. He offered the use of his many sheds as garages for a weekly rent. Annie Stanton was one of his ‘customers’.

Families generally tended to travel on foot, bicycle or bus. In another extract from the Childhood booklet, Rosemary remembers having to walk up to the Baptist Church three times every Sunday, and invariably they were late! The many skilled workers who lived in the road would either walk to work or cycle. Taxis were occasionally used by older residents.