The firm of Carter & Viner was established in 1925 when the bus company of Carter & Lidstone at Little Common was sold to Maidstone & District Bus Company. Harry Viner had been the foreman at the works in Green Lane and Edgar Carter had been the stores manager.
Initially, the Carter & Viner’s garage was at the entrance to Chestnut Walk, opposite the Wheatsheaf Inn.
In 1927 the business bought a plot of land from W. J. Crocker in Cooden Sea Road and the garage moved to a new building there.
At the outbreak of the war, in 1939, Harry Viner joined Bristol Aeroplane Co as a ‘trouble shooting’ engineer travelling between various aerodromes throughout the UK where Bristol aeroplanes were stationed. Edgar Carter remained in Bexhill carrying on as best as the wartime conditions permitted.
In 1945 Harry Viner decided to terminate the partnership and bought Carter out but retained the name of the firm. Edgar Carter subsequently purchased Waghorn’s Garage in Station Road (Town Hall Square)
Carter & Viner gained the dealership of the Rootes Group of vehicles – Hillman, Humber and Sunbeam Talbot – together with the small commercial vehicles manufactures by Commer”, the brand name used by “Commercial Cars Limited” from 1905 until 1979. Initially, business was difficult with new cars being in limited supply – the reasons for these shortages being the Country’s need to export vehicles after the war and the many factory strikes.
From c1958 they had showrooms at 10 Sackville Road, on the corner with Wickham Avenue. This was the main centre for car sales, while the Cooden Sea Road garage carried out full servicing and repairs, used car sales, together with forecourt and petrol station facilities. Harry Viner died in 1966, and the Cooden Sea Road or Little Common garage was sold to Joe Davis Motors, of Belle Hill, in 1967.
Such was Harry Viner’s motor engineering knowledge and experience that, when the first of the “Motoring Experiences” (later, to become the “Bexhill 100”) was held along the eastern promenade of Bexhill, he was asked to be available for adjudication and advice, as and when required.
A more full description of each of the images in the picture ‘galley’, is given lower down the page.
CV-001 – Carter & Viner’s first workshop in Chestnut Walk in 1925.
CV-002 – The new showroom and workshop in Cooden Sea Road in 1927, built by Matthews & co of Barnhorn Lane (now Road).
CV-003 – By the late 1940s the petrol pumps had been replaced and appear to include Esso as well as Shell fuels.
CV-004 – 1950s view with Esso pumps. By this time Carter & Viner had bought the adjacent house and Crocker’s shop on the corner of Churchill Avenue.
CV-005 – Carter & Viner’s car showroom at 10, Sackville Road in the late 1950s/early 1960s. Later, these premises were taken over by the “Property Café”, estate agents.
CV-006 – Crocker’s Corner, along Cooden Sea Road, in the 1960s.
CV-007 – 1960s view of Crocker’s ironmongers and the garage all run by Carter & Viner. Crocker had formerly been the last village blacksmith.
CV-008 – Work-stained company car (Hillman Minx) on the forecourt in the mid-1960s. This vehicle did well over 200,000 miles before retirement.
CV-009 – By May 1979 Little Common Service Station was owned by Texaco.
CV-010 – The last owner of the property, as a garage, was a Ken Hood and it is seen here shortly before demolition and its replacement by a Tesco Supermarket and flats.