Centenary of the Birth of Bob Thomas

Sun, 23 Jul 2017

On Sunday 23rd July Milntown will be celebrating the Centenary of the Birth of Bob Thomas, a previous resident and one of the original trustees of the Milntown Estate.

The Gardens will be open as usual (10am – 5pm) and we will be displaying our wonderful collection of vehicles.

Bob was born in 1917 in Chiswick, West London. He left school at 14 and gained an apprenticeship to the Gaslight & Coke Company. During that time he became very interested in motorbikes and was bought his first one by his father. When war broke out in 1939 Bob was a conscientious objector and was posted to Bristol in a non combat role, and later to Bicester. Here, Sir Clive Edwards was his Officer in Charge and they became friendly because of their mutual interest in cars and motorbikes. After the war Sir Clive bought a New Orleans car which Bob renovated and together they entered the London to Brighton run in 1946. Sir Clive and Bob’s father decided to go into partnership making folding pushchairs in Bicester, Oxford. Unfortunately, Bob’s father died a month before the business was due to start so instead Bob and Sir Clive went into business together setting up the Wardmans Manufacturing Company to renovate old motorbikes and cars.

In 1963 they decided to retire to the Isle of Man and bought Milntown with Sir Clive’s mother Lady Edwards.

Bob spent much of his time keeping the growing collection of cars and motorbikes in good running order. When Sir Clive died in 1999 Bob was made one of the Trustees to manage the Milntown Estate. He died in 2003 from stroke-related complications.

Sir Clive and Bob Thomas left behind a stunning collection of vintage cars and motorbikes. As part of the Milntown collection we have 4 vintage cars including a 1910 Delage and 1910 New Orleans, we also have a number of vintage motorbikes including the Freddie Dixon Banking Sidecar – winner of the first Sidecar TT in 1923 -  and a unique 1921/2 Vauxhall which is thought to be one of only 2 made by Vauxhall Motors in Luton.

We also have on show:
1949 Douglas 348cc Motorcycle
1921 A.B.C 398cc Motorcycle
1932/3 Douglas 600cc Motorcycle Model T6
1913 A.B.C. Motorcycle