Desperately seeking Henlys

Sam Skelton

Researching isn’t always a bundle of fun, you know. I’m in the middle of writing an article which focuses upon Wood and Pickett in the 1980s and sources are proving difficult to find. Granted, I can find snippets which are useful to my quest – thanks, in particular, go to Andrew Elphick, Richard Nener and Jens Christian thus far – but, as far as getting the full picture goes, it’s not quite so simple as you might think.

You see, Wood and Pickett have moved premises and changed owners many times since the era my article focuses upon and their archives have sadly been lost. Henlys, who at the time owned Wood and Picket, have been through so many transmogrifications I doubt any original staff were left by the time the company went under in 2005.

I’m therefore looking for someone who either worked at Henlys or Wood and Pickett during the late 1980s – someone who can help confirm the bigger picture for me and who can help paper over the cracks by providing information about specific projects and modifications.

If you are one of these people, please drop me a line at – you’ll be credited in the final article and I will be eternally grateful for your assistance. Thanks.


  1. Hi Sam,

    I am probably of no help but I can, at least, sympathise! I am researching and writing a history of Studebaker in the UK. Henlys, in the guise of Studebaker Distributors, were the importers.

    The early days, the beginings of the company and family history present no problems. However, after the death of Frank Hough in 1935, there is very little information. It does not help that the the Liquidator of Henlys was, in turn, liquidated!

    Anyway, if I find anything of use to you I will send it on. Can I ask likewise of you?

    Many thanks,

    Andrew Minney

    • Andrew,

      I share your interest in Studebaker Distributors, although my exposure to the firm was limited to buying parts for my father’s 1955 Champion and 1958 President, together with one visit to Hawley Crescent in 1960 to have the former services.

      Did you complete your history?…..Is a copy of it available?…..I would be most grateful to hear anything you can tell me about this history

      Best wishes

      Anthony Warburton
      0797 747 9098;

  2. I sympathise with you Sam as I am currently trying to write something about the Steels Motor Group which had dealerships in Cirencester, Cheltenham, Fleet and Southampton up until the 1970s. They covered the Austin, Land Rover, Rover and Wolseley franchises. Again, there is very little information to go on as I have not yet found anyone who worked for them. I will, of course, pass on any information about Henlys to you.

  3. @Sam Skelton
    I’ve just re-read your message. I believe that, by 1985, Henlys were no longer Car Dealers. The business was bought by a private equity company, was initially linked with Coleman Milne and then got tangled with bus and coach companies. By the 1990s, 80% of the company’s business was in North America!

    Sadly, BL did for Henlys – a classic case of all the eggs in one basket! It’s a hard slog!


  4. I sold cars for Henlys Ashford in the 1970’s – the best years of my life.
    I am keen to know what became of The company’s MD Douglas Chandler as I would like to find a photograph of him.

    • Why on earth do you want a photo of what was really a gypsy.I worked at Henlys in the 70’s as group car hire manager, ashford was one of my sites. Henlys was a good company but the chandler family with all their relatives just stole everything they could which led to its downfall.One of them in ended up prison for fraud.

      • Wow, naughty boys, I didn’t know that but probably should have guessed it. I have an album full of photos that I took during my years at Henlys Ashford and needed (still do) one of him to complete it. I have one of his side-kick Maurice Bayliss, and pleasant enough guy, but I never quite had the nerve to ask DC if I could take his mug shot. Is he still alive?
        I have to say that I had no bothers with Douglas, maybe because I could move the tin but I remember how rude and unpleasant he was to others in Ashford. He had one a the girls receptionists in tears and I when he left (in his red Jag) she told me and I managed return a smile to her face with a joke at his expense.
        When Henlys Ashford closed ( I was shatter to hear the news) he phoned me with kind words, offered me a job at another branch and a sound piece of advice as I moved on in my career elsewhere, which proved 100% sound.

        • I’ve got loads of pictures of DLC but probably best to send a copy of the original of his Henlys official photo from around 1980. He died suddenly in 1999 (aged 79). I’ll happily email a copy. I think he only had one red XJ6 (EYE 721J – funny how number plates stick in your head) and it was a manual with OD and I think I’m right in thinking that is one one of the first cars available with blue “sundym” glass.

          • Hello Barry,just logged-on. Yes, I’d love to get a photo of Douglas Chandler please.
            I think I remember he had a red Jaguar, with driver, when he came to visit. He used to be a scary guy but he never gave me any bother. One of the head office guys told me about how he got his first job with England’s Leading Motor Agents.
            Best Regards and thanks,

          • Hi Barry, did you get me Email okay. I assume (never a good thing) that you’d Email the photos of DC?

          • I served my apprenticeship at Henly’s Grosvenor Garage Levenshulme Manchester in the 1970s. Does anyone have any photos of the garage or the showrooms? I loved working there, and often wonder what happened to our manager Martin Camden-Nield.

  5. Henlys took over Tom Mellor Ford in Rochdale in early 1987 and then sold the site in 1989, which while old was huge and viable with a excellent bodyshop and customer base that was second to none,a good friend worked there and i am more than happy to seek his assistance on this project.

  6. No help for your article, but Henly’s BL dealership in Bath where I spent my early years was part of the scenery, especially as it was opposite the playground in Victoria Park where I spent a lot of my free time as a nipper.

    I wish you well in your quest.

    • My memory goes back to the mid 70’s, I can’t recall a Henlys opposite Victoria Park, the only garages I recall were Hinton Garage Vauxhall dealer (closed in 2015) and Windsor Garage (Rootes/Talbot) which then became Oval, the site modernised by them and then swiftly closed in the late 90’s, the building still exists but is now an Argos.

  7. Henlys were still BL dealers in Bristol and Salisbury well in to the ’80s. My Dad always bought from them. The BL Bristol Showroom was in Cheltenham Road and has recently been converted in to flats. The jag / Daimler showroom was next door and is now Kwik-Fit.

  8. My employer bough two company cars for me – Princess 2200 autos – the second from Henlys in Colindale. That one in 1980 was the worst car I have ever had almost entirely due to Henlys total incompetence. After the ‘fixed’ a burned exhaust valve, for example, the car consumed a gallon of oil in a return trip from London to Rochdale. It broke three adapter plates for the torque converter because the transmission was wrongly adjusted; roll-out clonk stressing the drive. When I complained after three new torque convertors and plates were fitted and suggested Borg Warner should be consulted, the workshop manager told me it was an AP transmission! (Those were fitted to Minis)It even said Borg Warner on the bell-housing for God’s sake! The day I was to return it for trade in it broke down on the M40 and that’s the last I saw of it thank God. 70,000 miles, two years, and never a day without a fault from new. Good riddance Henlys.

  9. A real shot in the dark this one!! but here goes. I have recently become the owner of a classic mini, registered new via Henlys(West) Salisbury in June 1988, it came with loads of history but with a piece missing. The original label on the rear window and the original rear number plate both say `Anna Valley` the Vauxhall agent in Salisbury at the time. Within 6 months the car was in Cardiff as all the subsequent stamps in the service book show. It`s the Anna Valley bit that puzzles me. The car was registered to a Mr. & Mrs. P Wright, then of Devizes, Wilts.
    Can anyone throw any light on this one thanks.

  10. I have proud memories of Henlys Jaguar Centre The Hyde Colindale
    I was fortunate to gain their first indentured apprenticeship in 1959 after they moved from Great West Road.They used to bus the existing employees in from GW Rd
    to retain the skills for some time after the move.
    My prominent memory is of the E type launch when we were all usshered to the forecourt for the unveiling – love at first sight and is still my dream car.
    I recall the amazing characters I was mentored by – “Little” Frankie from Mauritious,Les Brady,Cliff Miles,Everest,and Mike Loooker among many others.


    • Hi all. I did my aprenticeship at the hyde colindale from 69 to was a good place to work especially under the care of Lez Brady and his good mate Everest. Taught me great mechanical and life skills. Remembering the numerous problems with the XJ6 and 12. I even managed to write off an xj6 during my time there.Also Con Brosnan. The tea lady who brought rolls around at morning break and used to blow! in the paper bags before putting the food in. Oh great memories.

  11. I feel I have to answer Paul Bowens’s reply above as I am a son of the so called “gypsy”. Nobody in the immediate family, and as far as I am aware the more distant family, has ever been convicted of fraud and/or has even spent time in prison. My father wouldn’t tolerate fools – perhaps this is why you have such a jaded view?

    There were three members of the Chandler family that used their real names, myself and my brother used aliases so that we couldn’t be accused of favouritism and our true identity was known to only a select few. Both my brother and myself left the company long before it spiralled into decline, funnily enough mostly caused by an ex-Leyland director.

    • I worked at Henly House in Euston Road from May 1976 for 4 years. I remember the Chandlers, especially Mr Gordon as we called him. He was a nice man, a real gentleman. I also remember Mr Brian and Mr Douglas, but never worked with them. It was the best and most fun job i’ve ever had, got to drive many different cars. Henlys bought Longs of Newcastle, a Ford dealership, while I was there.

      • Pamela was that opposite Great Portland Street station and near the Albany and green man pub. I worked there at that time across the road Osnaburgh street Henlys lease Ltd, Henly hall part of Henlys group Brian Chandler was the Manager

      • I remember Longs Ford dealers in Newcastle (near Melbourne St). One day when driving past, I saw the signage had been changed to Henlys. There was another Ford dealer in Newcastle called Strakers – also long gone .

      • Hi Pam. Remember me? Paul Cole from Berkeley Sq. I remember you well. Long fair hair.

        • Hi Paul and all…
          I have a very, very late (12th from last one made) Rover P5b Coupe’ that was sold new to P&O Shipping, by Henly’s of Berkeley Square – via the brokerage ‘H.E. Bentley & Partners’ in late June 1973, but which was held in storage for them until the 1st August ‘73 ready for the new ‘M’-registration letter…
          I just wondered if you or anyone else, may have a photograph of the Henlys showroom or any other interesting information to add to my cars history please?
          I believe my car was assigned to P&O’s ‘Director of Finance, but other than that P&O have no records, so it would be fantastic if anyone could shed any further light on it!

        • Hi Paul was you there 87/88 sort of time? I am trying figure to a mini convertibles history, I’m guessing it was a dealer special, it has got Berkeley on the wings and bootlid

        • I’m sorry to hear that. I worked for Henlys as a salesman at Airport depot from 1973 to 1977, and later as Regional Leasing Executive for the Midland region, and reported to Phillip Cooper and Mr Brian. I always got on well with them and looked forward to the meetings at Henly Hall.

    • Think I know who the Leyland director was. You have got to be on the ball in this game!

  12. I worked for Henlys from 1968 – 1974 and by and large I was happy there and I received an invaluable training and education and met some really good blokes.
    No organisation is perfect and there were efficiency problems as it got bigger, but I did learn a huge amount about the business as it was very hands-on.

    I can remember quite a lot about the Chandlers – Gordon the Chairman, Brian who went to Roy-Scott within the firm and Douglas (Mr D). And Maurice Bayliss who took me on.

    • Hello Martin, I hope you are well. I don’t know whether you remember me or not, Nick Hudson? I worked for Henlys from 1968 to 1978. Morris Bayliss hired me and I started at Hendon, on the Windovers side, with John Tenner who I stay in touch with. I will throw a few names around to see if it jobs anyone’s memory: Nigel Slatford, Paddy Livingstone, Alan Neeve, Albert Davy to name a few. I then went to Henly’s Corner with Rocky Knights where I learned a lot – great guy. Then onto Henry House showroom, Celia in the office who I also stayed in touch with, Tony Slatter, Gerry Cowan, Mr Dawson and Mr Byerly the manager. Then across to Henry Hall with Derek Hartley and David Black for a few years on valuations. Gordon Chandler was the MD with Bert Moore his driver – I liked Gordon, I chauffeured him for a week when Bert was away. He always had white Jaguars, I think the number was GC 777, when I first met him it was a 420 and then came the XJ6. Douglas Chandler was know as Black Douglas and an intimidating man. Many didn’t like him too much, but I always got on quite well with him and always found him very fair. His driver was Maureen. I have many stories about those days at Henlys and would love to hear from anyone of the era.

      • I’ve got great memories, most of them hilarious in one way or another, of Rocky Knights – they certainly don’t make them like that anymore. The registration number on Gordon’s Jag’s were GRC 777 and both Bertie and, later on, Maurice were his drivers. I just about remember that my grandfather (RGC) had a driver called Woody, and always had Rovers.

  13. I bought an Austin half ton van from Bristol in the late 80s, it had been used as a dairy van and so was not all beaten up inside, I got it done up and then some b…… stole it in the mid 90s. It was black and beautiful. I still have the paperwork and was looking on line, to sell on ebay, thought I would google Henlys of Bristol whose stamp is in the service book(passport to service) and this is what I found. i also have a recommended price list which shows a 3,000 mile mini service to cost £1. 16s 3d.
    The van was an A reg, and the pasport vendors signature is possibly an S. REES 1.7.63. Bought by a Thos. Collins of St Werburgh Bristol 2

    I hope the people who stole my car got some really bad luck and bad things happen to them……….

  14. Hi Sam
    You may have started something here. I was only saying to a motor trade friend last night that no one has ever written up the history of the Henlys group. At its peak, probably the mid seventies, it was a very large and diverse group of companies. I can remember looking through a company booklet listing all the different companies that made up the group and it was absolutely amazing to see the number of franchises held and the geografical spread, practically all counties of the U.K.
    I started as fully indentured apprentice at the jaguar centre in Colindale in 1964 and stayed there till 1972. The Jaguar connection was the main reason for the early success of the group sir William Lyons was a great friend of founder Herbert Henly and the group were awarded the distributorship for jaguar and rover in the area south of a line from the Wash to the river Severn. This was in the days of distributors, main dealers and retail dealers. So in the early days Henlys built their empire on their percentage of every jaguar and rover sold in the south. It was a somewhat iniquitous system and was later? Changed to the current single tier dealership system that we have now, were the manufactures have the upper hand.
    Like Mike Sutton I have very fond memories of my time there, and can remember the people he mentioned little Frankies surname was Gereedharry and he was indeed from Mauritus others who came over from the great west road site include, Albert Medland the foreman Vaughan Davis production manager Cecil Perry general manager windy rumbold workshop controller Earl Sawney mechanic Claude Reid mechanic. It was a wonderful time for me gaining experience from all these skilled people and over 5 years I worked in every department including parts. And I still have a lifelong friend from that time. Mechanics came from all over the world to gain experience on Jaguar and that certainly enriched my early working life. Stories of the antics us apprentices got up to are many and varied and would fill a book on their own.
    I have done a little bit of research on the internet but have found nothing of the early history of the company, such a pity, so come on Sam widen your scope and write the history of the whole group! There would be a good read in such a book.
    Come on all you ex Henlys employees let Sam have your thoughts
    Cheers for now
    Denis bissell

    • Might be of some interest regarding Henleys Bristol. My father Vincent Pisani was the parts manager at Henleys BMC in the 60’s before it became controlled by Leyland.

      I have some old photos of the staff if interested.
      you can contact me by email

      Also do you have the address from the original Henleys


      • Hi Paul,
        I worked at Henlys during the 50s and early 60s and knew your father very well. I would be interested to see the photographs if this is possible

    • Hi Dennis, you must have been at Colindale while I was there, though I was only there for 6 months in 1966 as an Admin Trainee, stating my programme in the workshops under George Webb, George was a fantastic chap, 16 stone, 2nd Dan judo black belt, had a weakness for large Havana cigars and drove a pale blue Ford Popular which he parked in the same spot every day in the staff car park. I can remember Mike Looker as well, and Vaughan Davis – he had a Mk1 AH Sprite. I occasionally got sent out on mobile service with one of the senior technicians, there were two LWB Mk2 land Rovers, fully equipped with compressors and sandblasters for servicing spark plugs. It was always good to do a service in a company where there was a staff canteen, I remember doing one on an E-type for the manager at McVitie & Price biscuits, the sausage and chips were excellent! Happy days!

  15. The Henly’s/William Lyons connection goes back a long way before Jaguar. It was while Lyons and the Swallow Sidecar company were still in Blackpool that Lyons persuaded Henly’s to supply him with Austin 7 chassis, which he then bodied as the Austin 7 Swallow and sold through Henly’s who took the bulk of production . It was this venture which ran to many 100s ( and possibly a thousand or two in all – I can’t remember ) of cars which led to the SS Car Company, the move to Foleshill , and of course later in 1935/6 to the first SS Jaguar saloons. Thus Henly’s were part of the seedbed from which Jaguar sprung

  16. @ Andrew Minney – ” and then got tangled with bus and coach companies ”

    Andrew, between 1989 & 1990 I did an industrial placement with Plaxton Group, the coachbuilder. There had recently been an acquisition of Henlys in some kind of reverse takeover arrangement

  17. I worked at Henlys Colindale 1970-72 in the Parts dept. Reg Northwood was over me and I shared the office with John Jackson. Others there were Bob Sadler, Ken Wilson, Chris Cook, & John Marshall,(brother of famous Gerry),who I met up with again recently. I’m also in constant touch with Trevor (looked after guard dog Storm) & Clive Smith, brothers who also worked on site. I remember a lot of the names others have recalled; an amazing mix of people. I enjoyed my time there working for what was a place of special character. I came there from Jaguar, Browns Lane, and went on to become Jaguar parts manager of Fields of Crawley. I ran a cheap old Mk2 3.4 whilst at The Hyde and was most grateful to those like Les Brady & particularly Joe Rudd for all their help in keeping it mobile! Let’s get more ex employees writing in and hope someone who knows more background will write a comprehensive history before too long. What about the possibility of a reunion meetup?

    • Hi
      I am trying to find some information on an 1962 Etype open top sports
      This car was delivered to Henlys of London and sold by them
      It has a rare plate 5079 HJ
      Are there any records of when and to whom a particular car was sold
      Perhaps someone kept the records/ledgers?
      Could any of you gentleman help
      Best Wishes

  18. Really interesting reading – actually I’m looking for some info on the dealership or the persons that delivered my Jaguar XJ6 on 8-4-75 at “Henlys Ltd., Jaguar Showroom, 88 Piccadilly, London WIVONH36” and worked on it until 9-8-76.

    Any help appreciated


  19. Another company that seemed to vanish in the eighties and were major Austin Rover/ British Leyland dealers, Appleyard. I can remember them having a huge showroom and offices in the middle of Carlisle and branches in many of the bigger towns and cities in the North.

  20. Hi ,I worked for Henlys Colindale in the mid sixties 65 I think, started as a management trainee spending months in all the departments of Windovers and then the Jaguar Service and Parts operations including the mobile service dept going to customers houses to service their Jaguars on their driveways. I also met my wife there Janet Blogg we are still together 46 years later. I ended up as the Sales Manager at the Jaguar Centre and also the Rover Triumph showroom over the road. Both myself and Jan remember Dennis Bissel plus Carl Godbeer in the service department Reg Northwood was my mentor and was such a fantastic role model. Another technician Dennis Tierney married my sister they met on one of our Friday night get togethers Jim Kimber in the cost office .
    I worked for Henlys for about 15 years, sold the last Alvis TD 21 and the first of the limited edition Black E Type with the Gold Plaque signed but Sir William Lyons.
    Henlys gave me a fantastic training for the Motor Industry which I was in for most of my life, a great company and as Dennis said it started to go downhill when the structure changed from a two tier system to a single one, they lost the 4% of sales by others. I would love to hear from any Henly employees of the mid sixties to the early eighties, can I feel a reunion coming on here, I hope so if you want please email me
    Kind Regards

    • The reference to the last Alvis is interesting. This very car (TF21 actually ) is for sale today at ACA Auction in East Anglia. Reg is SLM 167 F

    • Hi Keith, are you K.P.A. Woods ? If so, I would like to share a story with you. I am the current owner / keeper of a export RHD 1970 Jaguar E-Type FHC you sold November 5, 1970. I have traced and keep in contact with the original owner who remembers you. Both the car, original owner and myself are in Canada. I have the original Bill of Sale, typed on Henly’s letterhead and signed by you. The original owner advises this white E-Type was advised as one of the last two series 2 E-Types available from Henlys. The other, red one, the next sequential car number, shows on as originally sold via Henly’s Manchester. I would very much like to share a copy of the original Bill of Sale with you and I am sure the original owner would like to say hi again. I have previously connected all the previous owners and the car was featured in Classic Car magazine’s “Life cycle of a classic”. Hoping to hear from you. Regards, Stephen.

    • Hi Keith. I’m sure I remember you. I think we worked together at the Motor Show at Earls Court, either 1973 or 1974. I did both years. We had to go to a meeting at Jaguar in Coventry and you borrowed the XJ12 demonstrator. Am I right? Funnily enough I have worked in Coventry for the last 40 years, but mot in the motor trade!

  21. Hi I started working at Henlys Colindale in 1965-1986 I was offered the job straight from school by the then jaguar showroom manager Stan Hiscock an old family friend. I started as a Jaguar parts trainee at that time we only sold Jaguar and Daimler parts but later went on to sell all British Leyland vehicle spares.I worked with lots of the previous email contributors .The names Dennis Bissell and others mentioned are all known to me plus many more.All aspects of Jaguar service were delt with there, we also had severel Land Rover which were used for mobile service on Customers own sites. We had close ties with Browns lane and quiet often factory cars with experimental engines would appear on there test runs up and down the M1. Regards. John marshall.

    • Hi John,
      I also have some very fond memories of Henley Colindale,
      I often wonder what happened to all the people there, although I did bump into yourself some years back in Watford whilst trying to locate some parts for a friend’s S111 e type.
      I would imagine many of the older chaps are no longer with us but I did hear of Les Bailey a few years back.
      I trust you remember Albert Medland…… what a character!!!!

  22. My Grandfather was chairman of Henly’s., I was brought up surrounded by Jaguars. Sadly he died in 1977.

  23. Yes a reunion is definitely neaded, 69 to 73 aprentice at colindale. Jaguar mechanic.

  24. I was employed by Henlys from around 1970 to 1976. The branch i worked at was Cheetham Hill Manchester and at the time we sold Jaguar, Rover and Triumph. I worked in the parts department with a great bunch of people some of whom I kept in touch with over the years.

    • Hi, i used to work for Henlys Cheetham Hill. I was in Service reception with Bill Kearns. The GM was John Milton and Parts Manager was Wilf Davies.

      • I think i recall Paul who i think worked alongside peter taylor. The workshop was immense, about the size of a small It must have taken a lot of service bookings to fill it each day.

        • Hi Alan, yep i remember you very well. It was Peter Smith in Reception with me plus Brian Stimpson. Hope you are well

          • Hey Paul , I also worked on reception with you ! After all the others had gone ! It was in David bells days
            We used to play darts after work and you alway won !!!

      • I had a great apprenticeship with Henlys in Burgage (Grosvenor Garage), I worked there from 1971 to 1977 and loved it. I often delivered or collected cars from the Cheetham Hill branch and recognise some of the names mentioned. It’s surprising how hard it is to find photos or information on Grosvenor Garage. I have now reconnected with Graham Lake who trained me when I was an apprentice. I would love to see any photos anyone has….

      • Hi mr weller hope you are well, long time since we last spoke, now retired where did those years go. My mobile is 07773-391579 if you like a natter?

  25. My Father Miles Baker worked at Henleys Northampton firstly The top on Gold Street site then opening Henleys Weedon road in the Early 1970 s few names
    I remember Mike Yardley Norman Godfrey , Roma Adams , Philip Hortin Stan (I think Richards ) in the stores Ray in the prep department Mike Shelley workshop, Can you believe I own amusingly a Marina 1.8 TC coupe for old times sake. Nick Baker.ex parts van cleaner on Saturday mornings! 25 p per van!

    • I worked at the Weedon road site on Saturday mornings, cleaning and painting where the fuel pumps were and trucks for sale, big John was my boss then, around 1977. I remember Nick very well, nice chap and Miles Baker top man.

    • I remember Miles well from my time at Henlys Coventry. When he left he sold me life insurance, and I still have one of the policies!

      • Hello thanks for your response. Sadly my father died in 1987, Yes he was selling products for Manulife now Canada-life I think. I recently brought my Father’s old Jaguar 240 we had as a family in the 70s it was in a bad way, but is now back on the road. Hope you are keeping well . Kind Regards. Nick Baker North Norfolk.

  26. Wow, I am so glad I came across this site, I have often wondered what has happened to all the people I knew at Henlys – particularly Colindale where I started work in 1962 soon after I dropped out of university. I well remember Les Brady and his mate Everest. I did not have much respect for the service department which was such a shame as the cars themselves were fantastic. One day, while working in the workshop, I was approached by the sales director (whose name escapes me for the moment) – he had obviously been told that I was ‘potential salesman material’. I transferred to sales in the ‘Jaguar Centre’ – where initially I worked under John Attenborough, (brother of Richard and David) along with Robert Bell and – name escapes me again. David Ewer joined us later on. Managers changed, John left and was replaced by Gerry ???? for whom I had an affinity – me being Australian and he having an Australian wife. When Gerry left, Stan Hiscock, the manager from the adjacent general show room became our boss. We were left pretty much to our own devices and I enjoyed the years I worked there. A year after the first XJ6 was announced, due to persistent strikes at the Jaguar factory, we simply did not have the stock to sell and I decided to go home to Australia. Things did not go well for me and after a car accident (green cars seem to be jinxed as was my Lotus Elan!) I went back to England for a holiday. I had sold 2 Jaguars to the directors of Alpine Double Glazing just before I left and gone home and they said if I returned to the UK, come to them for a job where I would make lots more money. This I did – and they were right! But that company was top-heavy with management and it went to the wall, but that was after I returned to Australia in 1980. Now, at the age of 76, since taking early retirement, I have been doing forestry research – this is my real passion! I have discovered ways to grow high-value timber in arid regions – once I can get traditional foresters to adopt the methods, we can address climate change and save mankind. Not much about Henlys here, but hopefully my ramblings will be of interest to this who knew me so long ago!

  27. Hi Dave Kennet
    Fascinated by your life journey since Henly days
    I remember you fishtailing your white 3.8 MK 2 Jaguar in Park Lane when night clubbing
    with myself and Paul Silva, you did however thankfully managed to control this without actually
    spinning or augmenting the street furniture.
    I left Henlys shortly after completing my apprenticeship and went on fleet maintenance on
    Post Office fleet vehicles in order to continue my tertiary education ( sublime to agricultural )
    I then worked in Kensington as service manager of a small specialist car company later Saab franchised, and promoted to director shortly afterwards.
    My next move was to a Luton based Saab dealership as service director until my retirement in 2002
    My last five years in the motor industry was largely developing computer software for all aspects of the franchise enabled by generous encouragement from my boss.
    After retiring I continued programming for a leading communications company developing data processing software.
    My last five years have been usefully utilised in a complete chassis up restoration of a 1960 MGA
    (rust on wheels) purchased in 1979 as a MOT failure but work halted by the loss of my wife to cancer
    – my two children taking priority.
    I was delighted to learn of your research project and wish you every success

    Best regards
    Mike Sutton

    • Hi Mike,

      I hope you are well. I’m currently trying to track down some info of a car that I believe was at the 1961 E-type launch at Henleys you mentioned above and I wondered if we could have a chat.

      I saw you mentioned that it was a prominent memory for you so I’m hoping you’re able to help with any info relating to the car. Could I drop you an email to discuss?

      Kind Regards,

  28. Hi
    Can any of you ex-Henley’s gang solve a puzzle about my Dad’s E-Type. It was sold new by Henley’s Sheffield in 1964. Opalescent Golden Sand open two seater. But the registration was BCG 20B which is London SW. Was this typical?
    Also, is there any sort of archieve – I’d dearly love to know who the first owner was.

  29. Hello Barry,just logged-on. Yes, I’d love to get a photo of Douglas Chandler please.
    I think I remember he had a red Jaguar, with driver, when he came to visit. He used to be a scary guy but he never gave me any bother. One of the head office guys told me about how he got his first job with England’s Leading Motor Agents.
    Best Regards and thanks,

  30. What happened to Maurice Bayliss, he seemed a reasonable fellow? Smartly dressed guy smiley with nice shoes and a leather briefcase…?

    • I remember Maurice Bayliss very well, he fronted me in the workshop at Colindale on day, (no doubt following a suggestion from Cecil Perry) with a suggestion that I go into sales. This I did, and worked their initially under John Attenborough (great person!) with David Barlow and Robert Bell. John left and went to Alfa Romeo and was followed by Gerry Townsend (very different from John, but a good motivator) – and when he moved on, David, Robert, David Ewer and myself were managed by Stan Hiscock from the General Showroom. There were some great young guys there as well, David Collier, Martin?, Keith Woods and (part asian, remember the face so well). All these people were great work-mates. My memories of Douglas Chandler are also of a highly admirable man. While very abrupt, it did not matter what time of day or night you phoned him for a part-excahge valuation, he welcomed the call. His memory was extraordinary – I recall phoning him for a valuation on a car I had called him on some month previously and he asked ‘Has the slipping clutch been fixed?’ In deed it had, but how he remembered that I will never know. They were happy times in most respects, but a year after the announcement of the XJ6 in October 1968 (as I recall), they were still as scarce of hen’s teeth and I decided to return home to Australia.

  31. How the motor busines has changed since my car sales days at Henlys Ashford (Kent) in the 1970’s. No fun anymore.
    The branch was just a dealer under Henlys Folkestone but we frequently sold more cars that they did. The place was perfectly situated with the petrol forecourt cashier’s point ( inside the showroom) just a few yards from my desk, perfect!
    We were situated on a corner, a main exit route with long queues each evening so I would to walk&talk to the drivers stuck in their cars……..captive audience!
    We used to have regular Henlys reunions,getting old now.
    Great days great people great memories.

  32. I worked at Henlys Manchester during the 1960’s / 70’s. The work force was like a huge family. Best place I ever worked at.

    • Harold, it was. What a great place to work. I still talk to some of the team, Bryan Stimpson, Phil Morris to name just a couple. Hope you are well

  33. Henlys I was their from 71 to 77. I saw an advert in the daily telegraph for a group car and van hire manager. At the time I was an area manager for Hertz so I thought I would give it a go. It was arranged for me to see Maurice Bayliss at Henly House on a Tuesday at 11.00 am. I got there and he told me he was very busy and could only spare 2 minutes. The next day the chairman’s secretary ( Mrs Dorman I think) asked me to return again at 11.00 on the Thursday and he said Mr Bayliss had been impressed by me at interview !! and offered me the job there and then.It was the best 6 years of my working life. I was based at Henly Hall and I remember David Black, Brian Chandler and quite a few of the other names listed. I could nearly write a book myself because I didn’t realise being based at henly hall I also got lumbered with all the fetching and carrying for the directors, there’s some stories there I can tell you.One of the best parts of the job happened shortly after I started when we began to rent Rovers, stags ,range rovers and jaguars. The chairman called me over ( I thought I must be getting the sack ) and said he was very concerned these cars were going out with no mileage on. He told me to run them all in to 1200 miles. Managers/ I was only 24 at the time local directors were all complaining to him I was using top of the range cars!!.I was only 24 at the time.Others I rember were Bernard Gaffney Manchester, Keith Watkin Ewell, Geoff Dyson and David Roberts Henly House.I lived for many years in Wrotham Heath Kent, and recently found out be sheer coincidence that H G Henly lived in the same road in the 40/50’s

  34. Found out recently that Bob Adamson, Henlys director for the North West, i.e. Chester Oldham and Manchester died tragically last year.He was very ill and fell out of bed during the night after the night nurse failed to show. One of the few at the top who was a man of his word. R I P.

  35. I have restored a 1966 Jag Mark 2 and the final touch would be a contemporary rear window sticker that was from Henlys Jaguar London. I can see it in my minds eye but am unclear on the details – it was a long time ago!
    The sticker I seek would be before BL .
    I have searched the web looking for a picture without success. If any ex Henly people can remember the stickers, could they send me a picture so that I could have one duplicated?

  36. Hi all, I worked for Royscot Vehicle Contracts in Southgate in the 1980’s. Brian Chandler was the boss and I also remember Maurice Sharvell. I worked under Mr Cooper, Admin Director. Sadly, it all went down the pan and we were all made redundant. They brought in a hachet guy from the Royal Bank in Cheltenham to do the job. Sill, Great memories . Regards Jim Purdy.

  37. My Rover Vitesse Auto B987 RDD still has its Henley’s number plates on it. This was a late special order car. Kevin

  38. Hello to all from Henly’s 1964-1970 The Jaguar Centre
    Having been one of a number of apprentices employed at Colindale during the above years I will always remember the way this experience changed my life. I lived in a small hamlet called Eastdon near Dawlish, Devon when I left school. Always into dismantling anything mechanical,much to my fathers dismay as these things didn’t always go back together in the right order,I decided an apprenticeship in the motor trade might be a wise move. However, apprenticeships in Devon during the 1960’s were virtually non existent. So I wrote to all the performance car dealerships I could think of at the time. Only two companies replied, The Chequered Flag at Chiswick and Henlys Colindale. I travelled up to London to attend interviews on two separate occasions on my own, which as a 16 year old who had never been out of Devon was a daunting experience. The Chequered Flag offered me a job but not an apprenticeship. So for a trip to meet Mr Vaughan-Davis. Well he frightened me to death after he grilled me for about an hour. I was amazed by the size of the workshop and the whole site. Off I went home with a total lack of confidence as to how it all went. A week later a posh letter dropped through our letterbox with the offer of a 5 year apprenticeship. Result.
    So I moved into digs in Wembley and turned up for work on 19th October 1964. During the next 5 years I changed from a young shy country bumpkin as I was described by some of my fellow workmates into a confident young man. I remember sights Warren Pearce and John Quick driving their racing E-types into the carpark to collect spares for the weekends racing. I remember delivering cars to the Royal Mews usually NLT9 the Queen mums and The Duke of Kents to Iver.I met a lot of Names who usually rewarded me well for my efforts. I made friends with a lot of the guys already mentioned but having moved back to Devon in the early 1970’s I lost touch with most of them. As with all apprentices we each spent at least 6 months in every department in order find our individual qualities. Having this experience certainly helped me move on to other positions when I returned to the Westcountry, Foreman with an AlfaRomeo dealer and Service Manager with Porsche. Am now retired living in Dawlish and enjoying what’s left, walking, cycling, motorhoming and Lego with our grandchildren.

    Here’s a few Names. See how many you can remember. As Keith said in his post maybe a reunion one day.

    Cecil Perry or God as Mike Looker described him to me first day on the job.
    Vaughan Davis Personal Manager
    Albert Medland Foreman
    Mike Looker Chargehand
    Cliff Miles Chargehand
    Windy Rumbold Workshop Controller
    Geoff Pike Reception Manager
    Vic Spurgeon Reception
    Reg Northwood Stores Manager
    Reg Carrapiett Costoffice Manager
    Dave Tew Workshop / Admin
    Les Brady Mechanic
    Claude Reid Mechanic
    Earl Sawney Mechanic
    Dennis Tierney Mechanic
    Tony Southgate Mechanic
    Dave Thompson Mechanic
    Jim Kimber Mechanic
    Frank Gereedharry Bodyshop
    Ken Dobbs Bodyshop
    John Marshall Stores
    Loddy Accessories
    Chris Rawlings Apprentices
    Carl Godbeer
    Dennis Bissel
    Gary Cooper
    Alan Cooke
    Roger Bowtle
    Trevor Smith
    Dave Spurgeon
    Fred Chambers
    Lee ?
    Keith Woods Sales Trainee
    Janet Bloggs Cost Office
    Rita Bloggs Cost Office
    Jo Woods Cashier


  39. I wonder what happened to the two beautiful 1930s Jaguar SS open tourers that the company owned and used as showroom display pieces….

  40. Hi I am Earl Sawney son, my dad he sadly died in 1998. He worked at Henlys from approximately 1960 until 1996 when he had to retire from illness. I have followed in his foot steps for the last 33 year from mechanic to car salesman. Alec Sawney.

  41. I have recently bought a 1968 Rover P6 2000TC POY681F which came with a large file of paperwork including the letter-headed Invoice “Henlys Ltd, Delivery Department, The Hyde, Hendon, London NW9 dated 13th Februaty 1968. Top left is typed “Roberts/Airport/JEG. It also has the original HP agreement between the buy Reginald Edward Hall and United Dominions Trust. I’d love to see a photo of the Colindale garage to add to the history file. The car is still pretty much immaculate. Thanks in advance. Gary

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