IN PICTURES: Barnstaple’s Taw Garage celebrates 50 years this week
PUBLISHED: 12:27 23 November 2017
Brend family flicks through the family photo album as business marks five decades of trade in the town.
The name may be best associated with hotels in Devon and Cornwall, but before Percy and Florence Brend established their hospitality empire, they built a Ford car showroom in Barnstaple in 1967.
Five decades later and local landmark Taw Garages celebrates its 50th birthday this week.
Mark Brend, the fourth generation of the family to now be running the business, said: “We’ve found some lovely old photos, although I don’t recognise many of the cars.
“I’ve been very happy to take on that mantle and try to make sure that we carry on providing great service. The cars have definitely evolved over the past 50 years and so has the dealership, but our family touch remains and I think that’s why people keep coming back to us.”
The family photos also capture forgotten moments of Barnstaple’s history, such as the long gone outdoor swimming pool in Rock Park when Ford sponsored local galas.
The garage was always a favourite of the BBC sports commentator and Question of Sport host David Coleman who would holiday at Saunton Sands.
There’s even an amazing photo of double European cup winner and Liverpool captain Emlyn Hughes on the forecourt of the family-owned petrol station that’s now also home to Taw Garages.
Back in 1967 Ford had just launched its new Escort model which has undergone a redesign and relaunch this year.
Taw Garages moved from the garage at the Park Hotel into purpose-built premises in Victoria Road in 2005, and in 2015, it expanded to include a Citroen dealership at the ‘new site’.
Richard Brend added: “The photos of the original garage show just how much the car business has changed. But the values by which we run the business that my dad Richard passed down to me and his dad did to him haven’t changed.”