Colin Knowlson’s Slaters of Abergele archive

Old Red Fire Engine of AUDC

When I opened the door, imagine my surprise to be staring at a big shiny red fire engine, with the words Abergele Urban District Council writtern in gold letters running along its side.

Slaters of Abergele is a name well-known throughout the country and now Colin Knowlson has archived his family’s motor company’s historical artefacts, images and documents. And he’s been giving historical and motivational talks to local societies and to people of all ages throughout north Wales.

Colin Knowlson of Slaters of Abergele
Colin Knowlson of Slaters of Abergele

Colin has some real gems in his photographic archive:

– a photo of world famous boxer and Gwrych Castle resident Randolph Turpin posing outside Slaters Garage

– an ariel photo of Abergele that must surely have been taken from a hot air baloon, because there were no cars on any of the roads and just one solitary horse and cart on Market Street.

– photos of the interior of the Teddy Jones-run Slater and Wheeler machine shop which turned out military equipment during WWII

– and many more fantastic photos

I’m sure to return here in the future to stories of Slaters and of old Abergele told to me by Colin today. But for now, I’ve just got a big smile on my face having seen that big shiny red old Abergele fire engine.

Fire Engine of Abergele Urban District Council

2 thoughts on “Colin Knowlson’s Slaters of Abergele archive

  1. David Hughes:

    Excellent post Gareth. Looking forward to see more Slaters related posts on here. It looks like the fire engine is in a museum, maybe Colin would open it for us all to see. I worked for Slaters back in the early seventies.

  2. John_Bowman:

    Yes, I started work at Slaters Garage, summer 1960, I left school on the Friday at the end of summer term and walked down the road to Slaters Garage, the Vauxhall workshop. I saw the foreman Billy Winstanly and Manager Bob Baxter. I asked if there was a job for an apprentice. “No lad, not at the moment” Bob Baxter told me but leave your name and address. The following morning whilst I was out playing football a White Humber Super Snipe car pulled up at my house in Towyn, a man smoking a cigar got out and asked my dad if I was home. “No” Dad told him, “never mind tell him to start work at Slaters on Monday morning”.
    The man in the white humber was of course Harold Knowlson, Colins Grandfather and I did start work on the Monday morning at Number two workshop next to Slaters Airlyne.
    I worked for nine very happy years at Slaters, they sent me to Technical College at their expence for six years on day release and set me up for a long career in the motor trade.
    I remember well Colin working with me, I brag sometimes that he was my apprentice for a little while. (Do you remember Colin?)
    I also remember Colins grandfather used to come into the workshop, sit on a wooden box and chat to the lads. He would give me half a crown and send me to Goodall’s shop for a carton of orange juice each and we would sit and drink it. Life was very pleasent for a Slaters apprentice in those days, I even got paid £2 &10 shillings a week. This increased to almost £29 by the time I left in 1969.
    I am looking forward to seeing Colin Knowlson’s blog, I may even have some photographs and memorabilia that he has not so will try and post a few pictures as I find them. I will probably remember a tale or two from those halcyon days so long ago and be encouraged to relate a few here.
    John Bowman

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