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 The Cooper Works later The Traffic Police Garage In Surbiton, Surrey

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mab01uk

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PostSubject: The Cooper Works later The Traffic Police Garage In Surbiton, Surrey   18th April 2013, 20:48

The story behind the Police Garage TDV and their Mini Cooper Police cars - The Metropolitan Police's 'V' Division Traffic Garage, formerly the Cooper Works in Surbiton, Surrey until the 1970's.



"Charles Cooper moved into 243 Ewell Road Surbiton in 1934. This was a corner shop at the Junction with Hollyfield Road, to the rear was the site that would become TDV. At that time it was a corrugated building, with a small stream 'out back'. It is rumoured that Charles kept ducks on the stream. The Cooper family would for awhile live in the flat, above the corner shop. The site was first known as Cooper's Garage and it operated a 24hr breakdown service. Later it would also posses a Vauxhall dealership.
Having the police station across the road, turned out to be an added bonus. Because as the Ambulance came down the hill (from the ambulance station) they would ring their bell, to inform the police station, they were attending an accident, on the Kingston By Pass. It is said that at this sound, Charles would crank up his breakdown truck and follow the emerging police car (before JPG was even born)!!
The growth of the Cooper company into a Formula One team is a story in it's self and very much involves Charlie's son John. Anyone wanting to know more should, purchase a copy of Doug Nye's excellent book Cooper Cars. The above picture was shamefully copied from this book, although he has subsequently agreed to its use.
By the end of the sixties the Cooper Formula One team was no more. For a while the site was used as a Cooper Cars Sales dealership. In the seventies it would become TDV."

The Austin Mini YOK 250 used as the Cooper prototype alongside a Cooper Formula Junior race car outside the Surbiton works.


Clive Abrahams adds, "I joined TDV Traffic Unit at its location at Hampton in November 1967. We moved into our new garage at Hollyfield Road, Surbiton on 1st April 1968. The new garage premises were owned by and leased to the Metropolitan Police by one John Cooper. The same john Cooper of Formula 1 fame, and the originator of the now famous Mini Cooper Car. The first Mini Cooper’s were converted from the standard machines at the premises now occupied by us."

In August 1968 we were supplied with the two Mini Coopers index numbers PYT767F and PYT768F, these replaced Wolseley 110’s, which were being phased out, these had the standard car for very many years. The remainder of our fleet at this time consisted of,

A Daimler Dart
A Sunbeam Tiger
Rover 2000TC’s
Triumph 2000’s
Land Rover 109 long wheel base
Jaguar 3.4s Type ‘s


This later car was destined to be the workhorse of Traffic Division for many years to come. However it had one major draw back. This related to the Area, which our Traffic unit patrolled. This consisted of the outer very rural parts of Surrey with fast open roads

Where the car ruled supreme and also the very urban inner part of Greater London such as Tooting, Balham and Wandesworth, where the manual clutch proved to be very hard on the leg muscles.

To this end the Mini Cooper was brought in to see if it would fill the niche as a more suitable vehicle for the inner London areas.

The main difference was how the vehicles would be used. Normal patrolling practise was for double manned cars. The mini’s would to be single manned with two vehicles patrolling the same area previously patrolled by one. Thus Whiskey 11 became Whiskey 11 and 12.

The vehicles were purpose built for single manned operation. The centre boss of the steering wheel, now redundant as a horn button, was replaced with a speaker / microphone with a small remote transmitter switch on the steering column. This enabled the car to be driven at speed without hands being removed from the steering wheel to transmit messages.

The vehicle had two-tone air horns and a winkless bell all under the bonnet. The standard AT calibrated speedometer head was fitted in place of the standard mini speedometer. Other then that the vehicle was more or less completely standard. We Carried minimum kit in the boot and in the area that would normally have been the rear seat which removed there was a single rotating Blue light fitted. This was mounted on a raised plinth of about 4inches; as to mount it on the roof directly would have been blow the required height for it to be legal. A single Ariel was mounted behind the Blue light. There were POLICE signs front and rear, which could best be described as number plate style. The front can be seen; the rear was above the rear number plate illumination/ Boot handle.

We kept the vehicles for about two years. There were teething trouble with gear selection and brake fade, they eventually moved on to our Traffic Unit at Bow (near the City of London) and then to disposal.

To the best of my knowledge no others were purchased despite an original order for 12.in those days policemen were much larger and taller then today so the were somewhat cramped, but extremely enjoyable to drive through heavy traffic situations.

The picture below is from the Daily Mail and it shows is Eric Molyneaux (who was 6’3”) with Edward Spinks (about 17 stone) who was about to retire after 30 years service. You can see why both were chosen for their physical attributes.





Gift Set, featuring the two Mini Coopers loaned to TDV in 1968. It is a limited edition of 2000 and were manufactured to mark the 75 years of The Metropolitan Police Traffic Division. They are supplied in a transparent presentation case, with a numbered certificate of authenticity

More here:
http://www.tdv.org.uk/cooper.htm
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mab01uk

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PostSubject: Re: The Cooper Works later The Traffic Police Garage In Surbiton, Surrey   18th April 2013, 20:56

Some Pathe film of the earlier Cooper Garage in Surbiton here:

Speed Car To Invade America AKA The Cooper… 1949
http://www.britishpathe.com/video/speed-car-to-invade-america-aka-the-cooper-car-aid
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PostSubject: Re: The Cooper Works later The Traffic Police Garage In Surbiton, Surrey   30th December 2013, 00:00

Cooper's Garage in Surbiton, Surrey 1962 and today.......



From Page 257 of Nye 'Cooper Cars' (World Champions series) Osprey.
Full caption of the picture:-
"The Cooper empire after 25 years’ effort, depicted in this montage promotional photo ; Charles and John supposedly blocking Hollyfield Road with their Mini-Coopers, No 243 Ewell Road on the corner with the family flat above where first Mr & Mrs Cooper Snr then Mr & Mrs Jr lived before buying properties elsewhere ; the corner showroom where Stirling Moss spotted his first Cooper 500, where Owen Maddock studied the ThinWall Special and from where Ian Burgess and Andrew Ferguson used to run the Drivers’ School. In the background is the rebuilt production factory, now with the drawing office housed in the penthouse extension, while Major Owens had taken over the old drawing office behind the ‘Esso’ sign. Inset, the Cooper Spl ‘TI’, John up, in the Brooklands paddock."

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PostSubject: Re: The Cooper Works later The Traffic Police Garage In Surbiton, Surrey   31st December 2013, 01:38

Great to read that.I pass the site regularly on the bus after a catch up over a pint or 3 in Surbiton with an old friend,
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PostSubject: Re: The Cooper Works later The Traffic Police Garage In Surbiton, Surrey   2nd January 2014, 16:59

I was in the Traffic garage at Hampton the other week, I'm sure there was a Mini in they're garage, along with some of the other historic police cars. Such a shame it's closing down, no idea where the old cars are going to be stored.
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PostSubject: Re: The Cooper Works later The Traffic Police Garage In Surbiton, Surrey   2nd January 2014, 21:42

I too pass by on a regular basis and am old enough to remember when it was a garage!
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PostSubject: Re: The Cooper Works later The Traffic Police Garage In Surbiton, Surrey   7th January 2014, 19:24

Some great bits of Cooper history here:

http://www.britishpathe.com/video/speed-car-to-invade-america-aka-the-cooper-car-aid/query/cooper+cars

http://www.britishpathe.com/video/motor-racing-reports-cooper-wins

http://www.britishpathe.com/video/cooper-car-records
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PostSubject: Re: The Cooper Works later The Traffic Police Garage In Surbiton, Surrey   12th January 2014, 15:41

Thanks to you mab01uk, I just 'had' to make a detour down the Ewell Road today, whilst heading off to old Kingston town on a shopping adventure.. Wink



It makes a change to have a historical (well, part of automotive history!) engineering building left in this area! The old AC car factory in Ferry Road Thames Ditton is now houses, the Lagonda Factory in Staines (or Egham, depending how you feel), is now Sainsburys, the Vickers Armstrong factory at Weybridge is now a rather depressing office and retail place (something that still makes me mad now!). How long before this little bit of British engineering history will disappear and be another Tesco Local or block of flats??

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PostSubject: Re: The Cooper Works later The Traffic Police Garage In Surbiton, Surrey   12th January 2014, 22:57

Nice photo and a good idea to get a photo opportunity while this historic part of Cooper history is still there,....with the Police also selling off their local stations recently they may already have vacated these famous premises?....I must do the same next time I am passing by.
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PostSubject: Re: The Cooper Works later The Traffic Police Garage In Surbiton, Surrey   13th January 2014, 20:38

Surbiton Police station itself is no more - so I guess these premises too.

mab01uk wrote:
I must do the same next time I am passing by.

I'll be passing tomorrow, but the wearther don't look great and the coupé certainly doesn't after its adventures to Yorkshire & back this week.
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PostSubject: Re: The Cooper Works later The Traffic Police Garage In Surbiton, Surrey   17th May 2014, 11:14

Yet another historic film among the Pathe Film clips recently uploaded to YouTube, showing John Cooper "testing" an early Cooper single-seater on public roads including the A3 Kingston By-Pass near Tolworth, Surrey in 1946. The Cooper garage was at 243 Ewell Road, Surbiton, Surrey.
If you look carefully at the last few frames of video you will recognise the corner shop showroom and steps leading up to the Cooper flat above as seen in the photos earlier in this thread.


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gNBekmexzyA
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PostSubject: Re: The Cooper Works later The Traffic Police Garage In Surbiton, Surrey   17th May 2014, 17:35

I know that stretch of road well, have to use it almost everytime I go to an event! It's a lot busier these days!
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PostSubject: Re: The Cooper Works later The Traffic Police Garage In Surbiton, Surrey   18th May 2014, 10:52

Some screenshots from the film:



















The corner showroom shop.....(compare with modern photo above)


A3 - Kingston-By-Pass, Surrey near Tolworth




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PostSubject: Re: The Cooper Works later The Traffic Police Garage In Surbiton, Surrey   18th May 2014, 20:31

I heard Mike Cooper being interviewed about the Cooper building at the L2B this morning. Apparently it's still owned by the family, and now the police have ended their lease there are plans to turn it into a combined museum of Cooper memorabilia and a shop selling Cooper goodies. Will be a must visit if it happens  thumbs up
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PostSubject: Re: The Cooper Works later The Traffic Police Garage In Surbiton, Surrey   2nd June 2014, 23:06



A picture from the original launch of the Mini Cooper in the showroom in Surbiton.
L-R
Bruce McClaren, Roy Salvidori, Mayor & Mayoress of Surbiton (Mr & Mrs Greenwood) & John Cooper.
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PostSubject: Re: The Cooper Works later The Traffic Police Garage In Surbiton, Surrey   12th August 2014, 14:27

Ex-John Cooper Works in Surbiton, Surrey is for sale /to let:-
http://bonsors.agencypilot.com/store/documents/other/4725_82hpl741a2quplkt.pdf?agtype=7&agkey=296+97

TO LET/ MAY SELL FREEHOLD
Business premises comprising Industrial/Workshop,Offices and roof terrace.
Approx 7,218 sq ft (670.6 sq m)
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PostSubject: Re: The Cooper Works later The Traffic Police Garage In Surbiton, Surrey   22nd January 2015, 19:18

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=10Ue4h6mzgY



Video tour of the Metropolitan Police's 'V' Division Traffic Garage, formerly the Cooper Works in Surbiton, Surrey until the 1970's.

Charles Cooper moved into 243 Ewell Road Surbiton in 1934. This was a corner shop at the Junction with Hollyfield Road, to the rear was the site that would become Cooper Cars

At that time it was a corrugated building, with a small stream 'out back'. It is rumoured that Charles kept ducks on the stream. The Cooper family would for awhile live in the flat above the corner shop. The site was first known as Cooper's Garage and it operated a 24hr breakdown service. Later it would also possess a Vauxhall dealership and later still the Metropolitan Police Garage TDV.
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PostSubject: Re: The Cooper Works later The Traffic Police Garage In Surbiton, Surrey   9th February 2015, 23:31



A press cutting to go with the photo from the original launch of the Mini Cooper in the showroom at Surbiton. (Thanks to Neil Duke)



(From 1962 Autocar magazine - (Thanks to Mininuts)
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PostSubject: Re: The Cooper Works later The Traffic Police Garage In Surbiton, Surrey   25th May 2015, 23:25

Save the Home of Cooper:-
https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/715377145/save-the-home-of-the-cooper

£1,200,000 by Thu, Jul 23 2015..... Shocked
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PostSubject: Re: The Cooper Works later The Traffic Police Garage In Surbiton, Surrey   26th May 2015, 15:57

not going too well so far on the fund raising...

I went over there to have a look (no I didn't make an estate agent appointment!) but I did speak to a very knowledgable local guy, who first of all said how much he liked my car Embarassed Smile then proceeded to tell me all about the Cooper garage and then the MINI showroom that used to be on the corner, only yesterday he was telling me that a modern mini owner was t-boned at the junction and driven into the current shop front, everyone OK (thank goodness for airbags) but all seemed somewhat ironic given the local history.

Obligatory photo(s) of course...

1DX_6518 by Lee, on Flickr

1DX_6540 by Lee, on Flickr

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PostSubject: Re: The Cooper Works later The Traffic Police Garage In Surbiton, Surrey   26th May 2015, 19:12

Great photos Lee, I really must get up there for a photo shoot, especially now the building is under threat.
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PostSubject: Re: The Cooper Works later The Traffic Police Garage In Surbiton, Surrey   26th May 2015, 19:51

Nice photos Lee. Have gone past there a few times on the bus. Really should go for a drive & get a pic of Mitzy there Smile
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PostSubject: Re: The Cooper Works later The Traffic Police Garage In Surbiton, Surrey   26th May 2015, 20:18

NeilAndHisMini wrote:
Great photos Lee, I really must get up there for a photo shoot, especially now the building is under threat.

Sarah wrote:
Nice photos Lee. Have gone past there a few times on the bus. Really should go for a drive & get a pic of Mitzy there Smile

Thanks both - shame it's such a small premises, otherwise we could arrange a meet! Laughing

I hope it's restored in some way or another, would be sad to see a venue of historic motoring importance fade away Smile
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PostSubject: Re: The Cooper Works later The Traffic Police Garage In Surbiton, Surrey   2nd June 2015, 23:51

From The Kingston Guardian:-
VIDEO: Save the home of the Mini Cooper campaign gears up
http://www.yourlocalguardian.co.uk/news/13217712.VIDEO__Campaign_to_save_home_of_Cooper_Car_Company_in_Surbiton_moves_up_a_gear/


From the video showing John Cooper testing his prototype on the Kingston Bypass in 1946.


Kyle Stanger said he was 'overwhelmed' with the support his campign has received


Historic: The former Cooper Car garage as it is today (top left) and during the glory day (right and bottom left)

A teenager trying to raise a £1.2m to save a motoring landmark in Surbiton is hoping to get the building listed as a community asset.
Kyle Stanger, 18, has received support from across the world since he started the ‘Save the home of the Cooper’ campaign two weeks ago and is asking people to urge Kingston Council to list the TDV building in Hollyfield Road as a community interest.


Teenager begins drive to raise £1.2m to save birthplace of Cooper Car Company
Mr Stanger and his supporters have been gathering snapshots from the time when John Cooper and Formula 1 legend Sir Jack Brabham were building and testing Formula 1 cars there to strengthen their case.
Mr Stanger said: “I found out yesterday I need 21 people from the area to sign up to get the council to consider listing the building as of community interest but obviously the more people we get the better.”
Mr Stanger said he was "overwhelmed" with the amount of support he has received so far.
If he manages to get the council to list the building as of community interest he will have another six months to raise the money.
He said: “The support the campaign has received is amazing. Some people seem to be taking this on as a hobby. I’m getting so many great pieces of advice.


“The campaign has been shared by Ed China [presenter of Wheeler Dealers] on Facebook and I’ve had a conference call with Team Brabham Racing who crowd funded £250,000 for their racing team and they have given me lots of advice.”
Visit http://goo.gl/dEES0t to get the council to consider listing the TDV building as a community interest.

To donate to the Save the Home of the Cooper’ campaign visit https://goo.gl/BF146P


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PostSubject: Re: The Cooper Works later The Traffic Police Garage In Surbiton, Surrey   7th June 2015, 14:10

Went and took a few snaps there today Smile Can't seem to get the link from Flikr to work scratch But posted them on fb Smile
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