Mixing History with Fiction
So, what do you do with a nearly 100-year-old van ?
Well, being big fans of the TV Series “Peaky Blinders”, you obviously turn it into a bread delivery van for Alfie Solomon's ''Bakery” in Camden Town.
Due to clever writing by Peaky Blinders writer , Steven Knight we know that Alfie Solomon's bakery was in fact an actual place.
The Aerated Bread Company was founded in 1862 by Scot Dr John Daglish using a method of bread making using carbon dioxide in place of yeast. By 1923 the company had 250 tea shops around the world.In fact A.B.C. shops where one of the best places to find inexpensive "fast food" and could be said to have been the "Greggs" of their day. A.B.C.tearooms being in direct competition with the famous Lyon's Tea Rooms of the period.
Their main bakery was in Camden Town ( where the current Sainsbury's store is now located ) and covered a area of 4 acres. Much of the story of Alfie Solomons bakery is fiction but in the series it does mention that the bakery has access to the canal system often used by the Shelby gang and the real A.B.C. factory did back directly onto the Regents canal and so to the Grand Union canal which linked directly to Birmingham.
The irony is that whilst Alfie "bakes the white bread and bakes the brown bread" the founder of ABC Dr Dauglish was a ardent Tea Totaller .
As the Front of Benny is original and the rear body a modern reproduction of a period van body we felt it rather appropriate to mix a historical real company with a modern fictional one.
Having a big sale, on-site celebrity, or other event? Be sure to announce it so everybody knows and gets excited about it.
We don't know what its early life was, but we do know that it started life in 1926 as a car,being built by the Armstrong Siddley company at its factory in Coventry ,the factory site sat on what is now Coventry airport .
Armstong Siddley was at the centre of British enginnering and industry from 1919 when the company was formed until its demise in 1960
Armstong's were also highly connected to other major enginnering companies of the time and were engaged in making aero engines and aircraft ( the famous Hawker Siddley Hurricane being one example )
Armstong Siddley cars where known for their comfort and reliability and were seen as being at the upper end of the car market and exported world wide around the Empire .
We do not know where it was before 1951 but the earliest registration document we have states that it was in Stromness in the Orkney's with a firm called Wishart's who at the time ran a local Garage and Bus hire company . It is highly likely that Benny was with the firm beore this date but Wishart's , who are still operating as a hardware store these days have not been able to locate any records for Benny.
In 1965 Benny was registered with another local car hire and bus firm called J.D.Peace and Co and was used for similar work but at some point someone plonked a victorian horse drawn hearse on the back of Benny and for some part of its life it was a working hearse but we are not sure at this point when this was.
Benny next changed hands in 1976 to a man in Rugby who took until 2008 to restore Benny to the configuration you see today as a up market commercial vehicle of the 1920,s and 30's .