Rowland Ridgwell

Our Heritage

SERVING

THE LOCAL COMMUNITY SINCE 1920

At Rowland Ridgwell, we are extremely proud of our heritage. There has been a fuel station and workshop on the site since the 1920s. The property has remained in the Ridgwell family since the 1950s when Frederick Rowland Ridgwell purchased the property from Frank Bull.

Rowland was a very skilled engineer and well known locally. He worked at Raynham Garage in Saffron Walden. When the war broke out, Rowland was invited by the War Office to become an engineer on the MTBs (Motor Torpedo Boats) in Norfolk. He did this until the end of the war with the intention of returning Raynham's, but instead bought the garage from Frank Bull. Rowland worked tirelessly with the help of his wife Doris to make a success of the business.

By the early 1970s Michael Rowland Ridgwell (Rowland’s son) was very involved with the business. By leasing out the forecourt to National Benzole for an upfront sum and a peppercorn rent, he was able to finance a major expansion by knocking the two old workshops into one. Michael (who was known to everyone as Mick) was an incredibly gifted engineer who would regularly come up with solutions to problems as big as building a recovery truck! His first one was made from a Rolls Royce 2025. He then build two new ones that were known as Betsy and Bertha and became a familiar sight around the area. Mick continued to build the business through tough times and good.

Sadly Mick died in 2004 shortly after selling the business to two of the engineers that had worked for him since they were apprentices. Everyone who knew Mick was very fond of him and we miss him very much.

The owners of the business are now Michael Porter and John Clarke they have some 80 years’ combined experience at Rowland Ridgwell!

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