Having been in regular contact with Derek over quite a few years, we recently reported the story of his intentions to close up shop and retire after a staggering 60 years in business, pending a Council planning decision. Well, Derek has informed us that the developer is going ahead with the purchase of Derek’s site after the local Borough Council agreed with plans to re-develop the North London showroom and garage premises into housing and flats.
This will mark the end of what has been a one man owned business operating from the same premises since 1954 specialising in British cars – Derek was also an Austin Rover dealer until 1984. We visited Derek at his rather comfortable home near Slough fairly recently where it transpired his family had been pushing him to retire for some time – he had even been living in a small flat above the Neasden showroom for most of the weekend going home only at weekends.
His lovely wife Pat (a former Nursing Sister and formidable character) mentioned how she was finally looking forward to a holiday abroad – their last time in foreign climes was 1991 shortly before the Gulf War broke out. Derek states that he expects the bulldozers to commence duty in around six months time.
I never really thought there was so much goodwill out there, I’m really quite flattered with the attention received.”
– Derek Ketteringham
He told us: ‘there’s a period of local consultation with nearby residents but I can’t really see any objections – anything is an improvement over a dilapidated old garage to look at from their bedroom windows.’
Derek also wanted us to thank everybody who has taken time out to call and visit him passing on their best wishes for the future and told us ‘I never really thought there was so much goodwill out there, I’m really quite flattered with the attention received.’
Obviously, there now needs to be a push to clear out the stock from the North Circular Road premises in order to simplify the hand over to the builders. Any interest in the vehicles should be put forward to Derek via firstname.lastname@example.org and please keep enquiries towards the vehicles themselves, point of sale material such as brochures and signage is to be dealt with by the family nearer the time of final closure – any reasonable and serious offers on the cars will be accepted.
For those who would like to know more about the man and the history of the legendary Neasden showrooms, Car Mechanics Magazine will be running a feature about Derek and his business in the May issue that will be in on the newsstands in a couple of weeks time.