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Mendip motors

 Cutlers Green was once a vehicle manufacturing centre. A  foundry was started in Bathway, possibly as early as 1770 when William Uphill took a lease on a “… a house and garden containing 1 rod, 1 perch in Bathway…” . The Uphill family were known to be farriers at Bathway later. The Wookey family were also involved in metalworking as well as general building on the site of what is now Hellard’s builders yard.
Charles Harris turned a wagon making business into a manufacturer of steam-powered vehicles at the turn of the 20th century and was making petrol driven cars in 1910. He sold the business to William Bateman Hope, an old Etonian, in 1913 who appointed George Thatcher as foreman in 1914. George Thatcher, and later his brother Arthur, focused on war work which included making parts for aeroplanes.Unlike Westlands in Yeovil, Mendip Motors did not survive the peace. The company moved to Bristol in 1920 but ceased production in 1922. Various reasons have been given for the failure of the business but mass production techniques were already making the handcrafted method of manufacture obsolete.
The main details are that the parents of Charles Wesley Harris moved to Chewton Mendip from Pilton in 1860 and ran a grocers shop, presumably from what was the old Post Office. He was described as an weelwright and engineer in several sources including the trustees of the Methodist Chapel. The choice of his middle name was significant and it is reasonable to assume he was related to the person who attended George Webb’s funeral.
Mendip Motors The copy of an article about a talk given by Tom Randall givs more details about the history of Mendip Motors. The date of publication and the name of the newspaper has not been recorded. There have been numerous articles published about Mendip Motors. The Waldegrave Arms also displays information about the company and has a picture of the football match held in 1912 to raise money for Titanic victims
 Mendip Motors also operated as transport company as the picture below shows. This picture was first published in in 1987 in ‘Steam Traction Engines in Camera” by John Crawley Ltd, Field House, Turvey, Bedfordshire, MK43 8DU. The copy was provided by Tony Beeching who has the distinction of seeing the chasis of one of the Mendip Motors cars that was on display in Wells Cathedral.
 Steam Lorry The caption states that it was a Hindley 5 ton standard undertype wagon with a drop side body. Registration Y 261, built c1905 and sold to Joseph Board of Shepton Mallet. It was sold to CW Harris in 1908 and the company name is shown on the side.This photograph was taken in front of the Old Rectory.
 The Payne brothers, Maurice and Seward were involved in the story in differing ways. Their father, William, was a carpenter or wheelwright who made wooden wheel. Seward was apprenticed to Mendip motors, presumably to follow n his father’s footsteps. Maurice set up a garage on the site of the former Waldegrave Arms. The churh guide has more details and pictures of a Mendip Motors car and the garage.
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