14th March 1950 –

I was born on Tuesday 14th March 1950 at Malvern House, Springfield, Rowley Regis to my parents, Doug and José Butler. At that time my father was a teacher at Tividale County Secondary School and we were living at 152, Oakham Road, Dudley.

Doug and José Butler

My memories of Dudley are pretty minimal but I do remember going to the hospital on the back seat of my father’s car (or one he had borrowed) with some problem with my left leg. The leg ended up in plaster and a short stay in hospital (I was with it, of course!). I found this photo of me wearing a brace, I think in 1952. The little girl was Angela. To this day, I still don’t know what was wrong with my leg but it seems my lips were working okay though!

Cars I Owned

I yearned to drive from a really early age but the closest I came to before I was 17, was reversing Dad’s Morris Minor Traveller out of the garage onto the drive. When my 17th birthday came, Dad took me out on the same day for my first driving lesson. We used his Austin A60 and started from the layby at the bottom of the Gillingham link road to the M2. I thought all my Christmases had come at once. After just three months of Dad’s lessons, I passed my test and found one of my new duties was using Dad’s car to pick Mum up from work. That was no chore as far as I was concerned.
These are some of the cars I had in my early days, Austin A35 Countryman, Ford 100E Popular, Morris Minor Traveller, Goggomobil Royal 700, several Ford 105E Anglias, Ford Consul 375 and a Ford Zephyr 4 Mk 4. After these I had a series of company cars which I won’t list.

Schools I attended

Camp School , Maidstone Road, Rainham, 1955 -1957
Fairview Junior School, Drewery Drive, Wigmore, 1957 – 1961
Queen Elizabeth II Coronation School, Benghazi, Libya, 1961 (Summer term only)
Adams Grammar School, Newport, Shropshire, 1961 – 1962 (Boarding school)
Gillingham Grammar School. Third Avenue, Gillingham, 1962 – 1968

Employment

I had several jobs in my early working life, each time moving for either a better job, or more money, or both. It wasn’t till much later in life that I spent more time in each job. My first nine jobs covered just twelve years.
National Westminster Bank in Maidstone (formerly a National Provincial branch) as a Trust Administrator. (This branch has long since closed)
Ansteys of Maidstone (a British Leyland dealership) as an Accessory Shop Manager. (This company was bought by Dutton Forshaw and moved to Parkwood and has since closed)
Gross Cash Registers (a branch based in Gillingham) as a mobile service engineer. (This company, which was the British competitor to NCR at the time, was based in Brighton and has closed)
Mitre Service Station in Corporation St, Rochester as an assistant manager. (This site has long since been redeveloped)
Autogard (a Shell subsidiary based at Plaistow in East London) as a manager of a garage which had a petrol station as well as a fairly large workshop dealing with lower half repairs, MOTs and tyres. (This company closed whilst still working for them)
Brown Brothers Ltd, Clover Street, Chatham as an Department Manager for Specialised Components (81 Dept). (This branch closed and moved to a new location)
Chalmers Wholesalers Ltd, Gravesend as a sales representative.
Chloride Gaedor Ltd, Gillingham as a sales representative. (This subsidiary of Chloride was closed shortly after leaving them)
Express Ignition, Canterbury (a subsidiary of GKN) as a sales representative. (This subsidiary was closed whilst still working for them)
SIPD – Specialised Industrial Paint Distributors – as a sales representative. (This company was bought out and has since closed)
Valentine/Glasurit Paints as an automotive paint sales representative. (The Valentine brand disappeared in 1989 but Glasurit still operates)
F S Wall (Horsham) Ltd – an automotive paint distributor as a branch manager. (This company has now closed)
Mitchells Brighton, an automotive paint distributor, as a branch manager. (This company was bought out in 2004 by Grove Paints). Later I became the IT manager for the whole group and was instrumental in setting up the Ecommerce side. I was at this company until I retired, over 30 years. As of March 2024, I am still looking after the Ecommerce shop.