MODEL ‘T’ FORD
Shotesham is a picturesque village about 5 miles to the south of Norwich. The common runs through the middle of the village up to the church which stands at the end on a gently imposing hill. Down the middle of common’s water meadows runs the Beck. Several footpaths traverse the common, and the principal one crosses the Beck by a footbridge from near The Globe public house.We had reason to visit Shotesham frequently when I was a child, and I knew the common well.
In the late 1950s the landlord of the Globe was Charles Hale, and in a barn by the common he had a 1924 ‘T’ Model Ford commercial vehicle. It wasn’t at all restored in 1957 as you can see from this picture. He had rescued it from Stoke mill where it had served as roosting place for chickens. Restoring old motors was not a very popular hobby in those far-off days, and the search for spares was a long and arduous pursuit. The one ton truck had only one previous owner, and after being supplied by Messrs Bussey and Sabberton it had spent all its working life within a few miles of Shotesham. Busseys is still the main Ford dealership for Norwich, a position the firm has held since 1923. The firm was in fact even older than that dating from 1911. The ‘T’ Model Ford had first appeared in 1909, so we are tracing the origins of the vehicle back over 100 years. This model is over 90 years old.
It had not been used since the war, but when restored the engine fired on the first attempt – so at least was Mr Hale’s story. The truck has pneumatic tyres at the front but those on the rear wheels were solid rubber. All the wheels were made with wooden spokes.
I wonder who has the old Ford today? The registration number is PW 8999.
There is much more to say about Shotesham but all that must wait for another day.