…Lines Brothers towered over them all, developing at a prodigious rate after its initial establishment early in the decade. By 1924/5 it employed 533 workers, almost twice as many as G & J Lines, and more than twice as many as Patterson Edwards, the other leading makers of wheeled toys. By 1931 the labour force had reached 1000, by which time Patterson Edwards still only had 300, while Tan-Sad, another important employer in this sector, had 200.
– British Toy Business: A History Since 1700 – Kenneth D. Brown
Patterson Edwards appear to have brought out their Triumph Dolomite pedal car in 1939, to reflect the fabulous front grille on the Triumph Dolomite, but production was halted by the war. Though the bonnet grille is unique to this model of pedal car, the body pressings are similar to contemporary Triang pedal cars. An opening side door was a Leeway feature.
1939 Triumph Dolomite Pedal Car
Made by Patterson Edwards, London (Leeway Toys)
PATTERSON EDWARDS (LEEWAY TOYS)
125/127 Lee High Road, London, SE13
Telephone: Lee Green 3230-1.
Telegraphic Address: ‘Juveniland, Phone, London’
The firm of Patterson Edwards dates from 1892. They were listed at the 1929 British Industries Fair as being manufacturers of Perambulators, Steel Folders, Invalid Chairs, Toy Prams, Toy Motor Cars, Toy Bicycles and Tricycles, Horses, Wheelbarrows, and Strong Toys generally. Not much information is recorded about the company either in their early years or up to WW2. I have read that the Leeway trade mark was registered in 1955. However, if that’s true, they appear to have been using the Leeway name before that date. I’ve written to Lewisham historic society to see what they know, and I’m hopeful I’ll be able to update this page in due course.
LEEWAY PEDAL CAR GRILLE BADGE
This pedal car was not fitted with a grille badge, possibly because the company had not yet registered the Leeway name. I found photos of an equally rare fifties Leeway pedal car fitted with the badge illustrated above.
1930S TRIUMPH AUTOMOBILES
The Triumph Motor Company of Priory Street, Coventry, produced its first car in 1923. The Super Seven, their third model, was designed by Arthur Sykes late of Lea Francis, and Stanley Edge who had assisted Herbert Austin in designing the Seven, and was targeted at the quality economy slot previously filled by Humber and Talbot. It had a 832 c.c. side-valve engine and the design though conventional for the period, reflected the latest trends, including hydraulic brakes on all four wheels. Four seat saloon bodies were by then the most popular. With a top speed of 53 m.p.h. it could cruise at 40 m.p.h. and return fuel consumption rates of 35 to 40 m.p.g. About ten and a half thousand were produced by 1930.
The Triumph Seven tourer, being a small car similar to the Austin Seven, is the model most similar to the Triumph pedal car.
The Triumph Dolomite was one of the company’s top-of-the-range models, and was produced from 1934 to 1940. It first appeared in 1934 as a sports car and the name was also used from 1937 on a series of sporting saloons and open cars until 1939 when the company went into receivership. A number were still sold and registered in 1940, though it is uncertain whether the receiver or new owner turned out cars from spare parts, or sold off completed cars. The famous ‘waterfall’ grille was styled by Walter Belgrove. Triumph also sold a version called the Continental that was identical to the Dolomite except for the grille, as some of their more conservative customers did not like flamboyance of the grille. It was priced at £368, the same as the Dolomite.
NORTHAMPTON MARKET SQUARE
I was born in Northampton. My Dad came from the East End of London and worked at markets in neighbouring towns. On Saturdays he would take me to Northampton market in his Morris Eight van; while he did business, I would stand and stare at the Dinky toys (diecast model cars) on the toy stall. The postwar era was an austere time in England, with rationing still in place until 1955. We weren’t rich, so my Dad didn’t buy me a new Dinky toy every week. Nevertheless, I did slowly build a small collection of model cars, and that’s how my interest in vintage vehicles started. When I left home at seventeen, my Mum gave my dinky toy collection to my younger cousin. Ever since, I have been compensating for that loss by buying vintage vehicles 🙂
After taking this Triumph Dolomite pedal car in part-exchange for a bicycle, I stayed overnight with a friend in Northampton. The last time I’d been to Northampton market was with my Dad in 1960, just before our family migrated south. I decided to revisit Market Square and was surprised to see that the market was still going, 55 years later. I couldn’t resist taking photos of the pedal car in the market, and I also bought a Lego Batman book from one of the stalls for my daughter. I’ll take her to Northampton market in the future so we can continue the family tradition.
By the way, Dinky did not bring out a Dolomite in 1939 as originally planned; I’m not sure if it was because of the start of WW2 or because Triumph went into liquidation. The model was not made until 1990, below.
1189 – Northampton received its first market charter allowing markets and fairs to be held on the ground east of All Saints.
1235 – The market moves to its present location in the Market Square after Henry III forbade the selling of goods in the churchyard of All Saints.
1516 – the town was destroyed by fire for the first time.
1530 – The Market Square was paved.
1675 – The Great Fire of Northampton devastated the Town Centre, destroying over 600 buildings in just six hours. Local people raised around £25,000 towards rebuilding the town centre based around the Market Square.
16th and 17th Centuries – Strict legislation covered all aspects of trading. No foreign traders were allowed on the Square and discord among females appears to have been rife : an order from the time states “No butchers or fishmonger’s wife shall fall out with one another nor use or speak any evil or slanderous words or otherwise revile” Anyone who flouted the order was under the threat of the stocks or a three shilling fine.
17th Century – Large-scale horse markets in the town were described by Daniel Defoe as ‘the centre of all horse markets and horse fairs in England’. They were held four times a year.
1828 A balloon ascent from the Square ended with it failing to take flight and the female aeronaut having to escape through an attic window.
1845 Mr Gyngell the tightrope walker and fireworks ‘expert’ ascended a tightrope whilst holding two lit fireworks. Halfway up the rope he threw one of them into the watching crowd, killing Mrs E Smith.
1863 A cast iron fountain was presented to the town by a Captain Isaacs to commemorate the marriage of Prince Albert (later King Edward VII) to Princess Alexandra of Denmark. The fountain stood until 1962.
1873 – The town’s cattle market was built. Before which, animals were penned and sold on the Market Square and the surrounding streets – hence the names of the Sheep Street and Marefair.
1874 – The Square was the scene of the Bradlaugh Riots when supporters of radical Charles Bradlaugh believed an election had been rigged. Soldiers fired shots over the heads of the crowd to disperse them.
19th Century – Fun fairs offering the popular amusements of the day such as dancing bears, acrobats, jugglers and sideshows were regularly held on the Market Square. Steam driven Carousels and other rides also made appearances.
1913 – King George V visited and was received on the Market Square.
1930’s – The Square was the venue for an open-air cinema with films used to enlist troops for the armed forces.
Second World War – The square was used for War Weapon Weeks to raise money for Spitfires, Warships and Tanks.
Triumph Super Seven info with thanks to – http://lightauto.com/TriumphSuperSeven.html
Leeway info with thanks to – http://www.triang.nl/200series.htm
Northampton Market Square history with thanks to –