The taxi service and garage

Walter Stone, a friend of Bert’s, joined the family ‘firm’ when he married Margaret. These two men were fitters and turners by trade. They could turn their hands to any job, and they did, repairing cars, lawn mowers, bicycles, irons, kettles. You name it, they had a go at it, usually with success. There were many jobs around the village too; stone walls to repair, even house building and plumbing work. As Hanover House was such an old house there were always plenty of repairs to be done at home too …. but it wasn’t always top priority. In the 1930s Bert bought a car, a Morris Cowley, registration number PO 3535, and started a taxi service. This proved popular and he was commissioned to take local people on outings and to visit relations in other parts of the Island. Dressed up with white ribbons it also served as a wedding car. The fleet grew and as well as the ‘PO,’ (the car was named after its registration number), there was soon a Humber, known as ‘YY’ and later a Wolsely, ‘FJJ’,which was bought with the £600 made from the salvage of raw rubber bales washed up from a wreck on Brook Bay. The cars had glass wind-down screens between the driver and passengers and the Humber had a sort of telephone arrangement to enable the passengers to communicate with the driver. ‘YY’ also had extra fold down seats in the back so it could seat 5 people. Walter Stone and Bert Morris wore navy blue suits and chauffeur’s caps when driving. Some notable local people used the taxi service included Lord Sherwood and J B Priestley. As well as housing four to six cars, accumulator batteries bubbled away in the garage. There were all kinds of car spares, pulleys, chains, tools and numerous boxes of ‘this and that,’ as well as stocks of bicycle tyres hanging from the walls and other bike accessories. A vulcaniser stood nearby for mending punctures and there was a large pit for car repairs. Big green sliding doors made the place secure. 

Both couples took an active part in village life, Bert and Walter did car repairs, plumbing and general maintenance. They were members of the Cliff Rescue Service; Bert was churchwarden for many years and Margaret played the organ and was in the Brook Ladies’ Choir. However busy she was, Gladys always attended church and provided delicious food for all the village occasions. In September 1969 the IOW County Press reported: