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Tales of the man behind the wheel

PUBLISHED: 11:22 17 July 2009 | UPDATED: 10:54 06 July 2010

Arthur Willmott driving Howard Hollingsworth, who is in the front passenger seat, from his home in Briar Clyffe, believed to be taken in the early 1920s

Arthur Willmott driving Howard Hollingsworth, who is in the front passenger seat, from his home in Briar Clyffe, believed to be taken in the early 1920s

WITH only goggles and a cap for protection against the elements, the lot of a chauffeur during the early 1900s was very different to that of today's suit-clad, air-conditioned drivers.

WITH only goggles and a cap for protection against the elements, the lot of a chauffeur during the early 1900s was very different to that of today's suit-clad, air-conditioned drivers.

Arthur James Willmott spent many years driving Howard Hollingsworth around Lowestoft and beyond in the top of the range Mercedes and Rolls Royce cars of the time, and his interesting story has come to light once more after an appeal two weeks ago.

David Weavers, of Norwich, had asked whether Mr Willmott could be the mystery man standing next to a Brooke motor car in a photograph that he had discovered, but while he is not that man, his family have been able to provide a number of details about his life.

Mr Willmott's daughter Mollie Moseley and grandchildren Sylvia Haylock and John Bird all contacted The Journal regarding the story and were able to provide a cutting of a previous story on the chauffeur dating back to Friday, January 10, 1992.

Mr Bird, of Corton Long Lane, Corton, said: “The picture is certainly not my grandfather who died in 1967 in his 90th year. I have very happy memories of him and several photographs showing him at the wheel of Mr Hollingsworth's Rolls Royce and at the helm of some of his motor boats built by Mawdsley Brooke.”

Mrs Haylock, of Lowestoft, added: “The car is also not the kind that Mr Hollingsworth would have had. We still have the original log books for the Rolls Royces belonging to Mr Hollingsworth. My grandfather began his career with Mr Hollingsworth in 1907 and the first recorded visit to Lowestoft is May 23, 1908 when Mr Hollingsworth stayed for three days.”

This log book also featured heavily in the previous story on Mr Willmott, which was provided by Mollie Moseley, of Wilson Road, Pakefield. Quoted in the article is Mr Willmott's son, who is also named Arthur.

“As my father drove Mr Hollingsworth to London and back every week the journey time depended on how many punctures you suffered on the way, which had to be mended,” he said.

“My father told me that when they got a third puncture on one journey Mr Hollingsworth was so exasperated he told him to keep going. After a while they lost the tyre and then the rim flew off and they finished the journey on the spokes.”

Mr Willmott is believed to have driven for Mr Hollingsworth until the prominent Lowestoft figure died in 1938. Arthur James Willmott died in 1967 aged 89 years old.

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