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The little-known Austin connection to Wentworth Woodhouse

2022 celebrated the centenary of the Austin Seven, the little car that made motoring accessible and affordable.

While Lickey Grange in Bromsgrove is best known as the home of Herbert Austin, founder of the Austin Motor Company at Longbridge, perhaps less well known is Austin’s connection to Wentworth Woodhouse, one of the grandest stately homes in the country.

Situated in the village of Wentworth in Rotherham, South Yorkshire, the 300-room house dates back to the Jacobean era.

This grand house must have been quite an eye-opener for Herbert Austin, who arrived as a bright, inquisitive four-year-old when his father took on the role of farm bailiff in 1870.

His family remained living on the estate throughout Herbert’s formative years as he attended the local village school and then Rotherham Grammar School.

Although Austin had long since departed Wentworth Woodhouse, a connection to the grand estate still existed. One of Austin’s contemporaries in the motor industry included a Yorkshire-based company called Simplex, a car and motorcycle manufacturer operating from 1907 to 1920 from its base in Tinsley, Sheffield. The company received financial backing from aristocrat and coal magnate Earl Fitzwilliam, owner of Wentworth Woodhouse. Like all car manufacturers during this period, they provided an expensive product for the few who could afford it. 

Unfortunately, the post-war depression brought financial ruin for many of Austin’s contemporaries, including Simplex. However, Austin’s concept for a small, affordable family car saved his company from a similar fate.  In 1922 Austin launched the immortal Seven, a car which was produced all over the world in different guises and in vast numbers. The first BMW car, the BMW Dixi was a licensed Austin Seven. In France the Austin Seven was known as Rosengarts.

It wasn’t particularly stylish or comfortable, but it was reliable and, crucially, affordable, creating a blueprint that was copied by Austin’s contemporaries, opening up the freedom of the road to millions of new car-owning families.

The Austin Seven heralded a golden era for British car manufacturers so that by the 1950s Britain was the largest car exporter in the world.

It is no surprise therefore to learn that this wonderful little car begins the story of Great British Car Journey.

The museum has a large collection of Austins, including an Austin Seven Sports 65, Opal 12, and 14 to name but a few. All are in full working order; illustrating perfectly why Austins were known as ‘Britain’s dependable car’.

Former Bangers and Cash star Sarah Crabtree and motorsports presenter Paul Woodford recently took a number of Austins for a drive at Ambergate. You can watch the hilarious series of films documenting their drives on the Great British Car Journey YouTube channel here – https://www.youtube.com/@greatbritishcarjourney.

While seeing these cars in situ within the exhibition at Great British Car Journey is memorable, the best way to truly immerse yourself in the Austin experience is to take the ultimate nostalgic journey back into the past by getting behind the wheel of one of these fabulous machines.

Drive Dad’s Car is an opportunity to experience motoring as it was. There are a number of Austins on the Drive Dad’s Car fleet, including an Austin Seven Ruby Saloon as well as the more modern Austin classics, including Mini, 1300 GT, Allegro and Metro. All are available to take on an instructor-accompanied drive, with all cars equipped with digital cameras to capture the experience.

Relive memories of your motoring youth, or perhaps do something that you never could as a child – Drive Dad’s Car. Just pull out the choke, turn the key and take the ultimate trip down memory lane.

Entry to the Great British Car Journey visitor attraction is included with every Drive Dad’s Car experience. To arrange a classic driving experience at Great British Car Journey, please visit www.drivedadscar.com

Adult admission to Great British Car Journey starts at £16 and tickets can be purchased online here

Part-Time Cook

Job description

Great British Car Journey features over 145 British classic cars and celebrates the pioneers who created a British industry which was a world leader in its field.

The Role:

Reporting directly to the Catering/Duty Manager, your role will include the following:

  • Measure and prepare ingredients for menu items
  • Work with the Catering Manager to prepare meals during our dining hours
  • Maintain accurate food inventories
  • Properly store food items at appropriate temperatures
  • Rotate stock items as per established procedures
  • Restock kitchen for subsequent shifts
  • Ensure that the food prep area and kitchen are cleaned and sanitised at the end of your shift

Qualifications/Skills:

  • Kitchen experience preferred but not essential as training will be given
  • Good knowledge of food handling procedures
  • Able to work as part of a team in a busy kitchen atmosphere

 Basis of employment:

  • Start Date: ASAP
  • Good rates of pay
  • Hours to be confirmed

To apply, please send a current CV to [email protected]

Derbyshire Scouts welcome ‘Jam Roll ‘to Great British Car Journey

Arrival of Baden Powell’s Rolls Royce marks 1st birthday of Great British Car Journey

Derbyshire’s Beavers, Cubs, Scouts and Explorers have welcomed the most important car in the Scout movement’s 114-year history to Great British Car Journey.

‘Jam Roll’, Lord Baden Powell’s Rolls Royce, has gone on display to the public at Great British Car Journey, marking the classic car visitor attraction’s first birthday on 22 May 2022.

The 20hp Rolls-Royce, which was manufactured in Derby, was originally presented to Baden-Powell, along with a caravan (Eccles), at the 1929 World Jamboree on the Scouting movement’s 21st birthday.

The car was subsequently named ‘Jam Roll’ in recognition of its connection to the Jamboree and Rolls Royce.

The unique car boasts the Scout Fleur de Lys emblem, etched with the Scouts motto ‘Be Prepared’ on the radiator in place of the traditional Spirit of Ecstasy or ‘Flying Lady’, making it one of a kind.

Now, 93-years after it was presented to Baden Powell, ‘Jam Roll’ has joined the collection of classic cars at Great British Car Journey. The arrival of the car at the attraction was extra special for the Cubs in attendance, as it helped them earn their Collectors Badge.

Tom Stoddart, One of the Trustees of B-P Jam Roll Ltd which owns the car, said: “We are absolutely delighted that Jam Roll is now on display at Great British Car Journey and available to be seen by Scouts and Guides throughout the world. Retaining the car in Derbyshire was very important to us. It is an important piece of Scouting history, and we know that it will be well looked after by Richard and his team.”

Richard Usher, CEO of Great British Car Journey said: “We are thrilled to have such a uniquely historic car in the Great British Car Journey collection. It is a wonderful way to mark the 12-month anniversary of opening the attraction.”

Scouts around the world were asked to donate a penny per member and enough was raised to buy ‘Jam Roll’ and ‘Eccles’. Lord Baden Powell used the Rolls Royce and Eccles for many years and after his death in 1941 his family sold it to private owners. It was seen infrequently at Scouts events before being acquired by BP Jam Roll Ltd, a trust established to purchase in the car in 2008 ensuring it stayed in the country.

Following Jam Roll’s purchase by the trust, of which Lord Baden Powell’s grandson the Hon. Michael Baden Powell is a trustee, the car was sympathetically restored by Scouting volunteers and members of the Rolls Royce Heritage Centre where it was stored until it arrived at Great British Car Journey.

Jam Roll has found a new home at great British Car Journey where it is now on display alongside more than 130 British-built and manufactured cars which have long since disappeared from the roads, including the Austin Seven, Morris Minor and Ford Escort as well with a number of cars with equally famous owners, including Elton John’s Bentley Continental T.

Richard added: “The fact that ‘Jam Roll’ was made in Derby, only a few miles from Baden Powell’s wife’s home town of Chesterfield and indeed Great British Car Journey, gives this internationally important car a lovely local connection.”

Although now on display at Great British Car Journey, ‘Jam Roll’ will continue to make special appearances at Scout events.

To view Jam Roll and the wider car collection at Great British Car Journey, you can purchase tickets at greatbritishcarjourney.com or simply turn up and pay upon arrival.

If you’re looking for the ultimate trip down memory lane, pick from the 38-strong Drive Dad’s Car fleet and get behind the wheel of your favourite classic car. Visit drivedadscar.com to learn more.

Come and join us on our Century of Sevens celebration day!

2022 Marks the Centenary of our Hero car, the Austin 7.

We are looking to gather over 100 of this iconic little car, along with a celebration cake and run out into the Peak District.

Owners of Austin’s of any generation are invited to join us at Great British Car Journey on Sunday May 8th to celebrate the centenary of both the Austin Seven and the Austin Twelve. Anyone arriving in an Austin will be entitled to admission for just £10! so please get friends, relatives and anyone you know with an Austin involved!

Pre-war Austin owners are eligible to go on a 35-mile run taking in some of Derbyshire’s most glorious countryside and there will be a lunch stop at a location which will provide a further treat for car enthusiasts AND music lovers. You can enter this run free of charge, online here: https://bit.ly/38x1CON

Participants will receive a commemorative plaque, free tea and coffee and a slice of a special “Birthday Cake” which will be cut at 3:30 pm.

Contact us on [email protected] if you’d like to arrange a club visit

Treat Mum like a Queen at Great British Car Journey on Mothers’ Day

It’s all about mums right now at Great British Car Journey.

The popular classic car visitor attraction has rebranded its driving experience to Drive Mum’s Car specially for Mother’s Day and is rolling out the red carpet and putting up the bunting for mums everywhere in celebration of Mothers’ Day

From the daily school run, ferrying to after school clubs and pick-ups from friends’ houses, mums behind the wheel have played a vital role in all our childhoods.

To ensure they get the recognition they deserve, Ambergate-based Great British Car Journey has created a very royal driving experience complete with red carpet, a glass of fizz and afternoon tea.

Mums can enjoy a chauffeur driven ride in either a Daimler V8 Long wheelbase Limo, the very same model the Queen used between 2001 – 2007 or a 1988 Daimler DS420 Limousine, the last car ever built of this model was presented to the Queen.

During the 10-minute chauffeur driven experience, mum will be treated to a glass of fizz in car and a cream tea in the café before enjoying the trip down memory lane through the Great British Car Journey.

The very special chauffeured driving experience is the brainwave of Great British Car Journey founder Richard Usher, who said: “I have some great memories of my mum driving my brother and me in her Mini Cooper. She was a great driver; far better than my father if the truth be told!

“I think it’s fair to say that mums do a lot of the ferrying around where children are concerned. This Mother’s Day I wanted to give them a break and offer something different and I think a drive in a luxury classic car without squabbling children on the back seat absolutely fits the bill.” It’s the perfect Mother’s Day gift.”

The special chauffeur-driven Mother’s Day Drive Mum’s Car experience costs just £35.

Mum can also take to the wheel herself and drive more than 30 other classic British cars, including the original Mini, on a private route at Great British Car Journey in Ambergate.

All drives include entrance to the Great British Car Journey classic car visitor attraction.

Click here to treat Mum to this luxury experience: Make Mum Queen for the day!

Back open Friday

NEWS UPDATE

Thanks for all your well wishes today, following the flooding that has affected us and our neighbours around the Derwent Valley and Peak District.

Our flood defence system worked extremely well, but we did experience some minor water ingress into the main hall and as a result, need to carry out some maintenance and cleaning up around the site.

We will re-open this Friday the 25th of February and remain open 7 days a week from 10:00am until 5:00pm

If you have booked tickets for the next few days, we will be happy to honour them when you are next able to visit us and apologise for any inconvenience caused.

Winter Opening Hours

Please see below for our revised opening timetable for the winter period:

November

Open between: 10am till 5pm – Last entry at 3.00pm

Closed every Tuesday and Wednesday

December

Open between: 10am till 5pm – Last entry at 3.00pm

Closed every Tuesday and Wednesday

W/C 20th December open all week except closed on the, 24th 25th 26th

Open 27th 28th 29th 30th

Closed 31st

January

Open between: 10am till 5pm – Last entry at 3.00pm

Closed 1st

Re open 2nd Jan all week

Closed 11th -12th (Tuesday/Wednesday)

Closed 18th -19th (Tuesday/Wednesday)

Closed 24th Jan Re-open Friday 4th Feb

February

Open between: 10am till 5pm – Last entry at 3.00pm

Closed 8th-9th (Tuesday/Wednesday)

Closed 15th 16th (Tuesday/Wednesday)

Open every day from 17th Feb onwards

LOOK WHO’S DROPPING IN THIS HALLOWEEN!!

Great British Car Journey to host Harry Potter Halloween special event

Calling all wizards, witches and muggles! Come join the Great British Car Journey for a very special Harry Potter-themed event for all the family on Sunday 31 October.

A 1960 Ford Anglia 105E, which was enchanted by Ron Weasley’s father in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets – is flying into Great British Car Journey to take centre stage at the event.

The event also celebrates 82 years since the very first Ford Anglia model, the E04A, was released for sale on the 31 October 1939.

The Great British Car Journey Harry Potter Halloween Special promises to be a magical spectacle with family entry to the attraction discounted on the day.

On the day, the Ford Anglia 105E Owners Club will be bringing along a selection of the classic cars which were immortalised in the Harry Potter film to display at Great British Car Journey.

There will also be be a ‘Hedwig Hunt’ for children in the attraction’s collection of more than 130 classic cars as well as plenty of ghoulish goodies in the café and prizes throughout the day for visitors wearing Harry Potter-themed fancy dress.

Manufactured in Dagenham by Ford between 1959 – 1968, the Anglia, with its American-influenced styling, including a sweeping nose line and its prominent ‘eye’ headlamps, has rightfully claimed its place in the Great British Car Journey collection of classic cars, which boasts its own Ford Anglia 105 Estate.

In total more than 1.5 million Ford Anglias were produced, yet only around 320 remain today.


To celebrate the Ford Anglia’s birthday 82nd birthday, family tickets (2 adults and up to 3 children) are discounted to £30, a saving of £10. Entry includes access to the special Harry Potter Halloween event from 10.00am – 6.00pm (last entry at 4.00pm). Pre-booking is essential for the Halloween event.

To book tickets for the Harry Potter Halloween Special event on Sunday 31 October at Great British Car Journey, please click here: Admissions or call 01773 317243.