The former Packard works steps, Brentford

Packard works (Leonard Williams Ltd), Great West Road, Brentford – 1931 – Wallis, Gilbert and Partners

steps to former Packard factory

 

Pickles at steps to former Packard factory

 

steps to former Packard factory

 

This site is where they assembled and serviced the Canadian Packard cars. In March 1945 a V2 rocket destroyed the factory and all the remains are the original steps to the showroom. The bomb left 32 dead and 102  seriously injured, which makes the sad loss of the building seem a bit insignificant by comparison. 

It is now site to a remarkably dull Curry’s retail centre – rather ironic, as it is just along the road from the impressive former Curry’s HQ (see previous post).

Comments

  1. paul meder says

    hello,i own the snack bar on the former packard site on the golden mile,do you have any information on who occupied the site from1945 to when currystook over. very interesting article.many thanks,paul meder.

  2. doganddeco says

    Hi Paul,
    Thanks for your comment. Afraid I don’t have any info on who owned the site before Curry’s took over. I’ve got a very interesting book on The History of the Great West Road by James Marshall A.L.A, but it doesn’t mention anything in there. I think the book is out of print now, but it should be available at the local studies section of Hounslow Library (at the Treaty Centre), where they may have more info on who owned the site after the war. Sorry I couldn’t be any more help.
    Mr.P.

  3. P Casling says

    My mum (who used to work in Pyrene adjacent) says that Pyrene used to chrome-plate the bumpers for Packard cars. Out-sourcing, to a very local company, even then!

  4. joss martin says

    Dear Pickles, do you know what the Leonard Williams connection is?

    There is also an architect (James L W), and I am intrigued if was working on this with Wallis, or if Leonard Williams Ltd was nothing to do with J L W the architect.

    Thank you – and thanks for a super web site, I’m an absolute Pickles fan!

    joss

    • doganddeco says

      Hi Joss, Sorry I haven’t replied before now. I don’t know the connection with Leonard Williams off the top of my head, but when I get a chance to do some research I’ll let you know what I find out.
      Thanks for being a fan!!
      Mr P

  5. RayMac says

    As a 8 year old Schoolboy I went to see they bombsite of the bomb that caused a small amount of damage to my School at Isleworth which was a very long way from where it landed on the Packard Factory
    I wasn’t allowed along the Great West Rd but looking over the Syon Lane Station Bridge towards London I saw the Railway Cutting that runs behind the factory completely filled with rubble
    It must have taken Days to get the trains running again, until then they were routed via Hounslow – Twickenham – Richmond to Barnes and Putney

  6. Wynne Wood says

    We’d like to visit the steps of the former Packard Plant on Great West Road. We are from te US and are therefore unfamiliar with this area. Could you supply the cross street and indicate whether the former plant was located on the north or south side of the street, please?

    Also, are there tube stations nearby or will it be best to take a taxi?

  7. Phil Avison says

    My father George Eric Avison worked for Leonard Williams until the business closed, I think in the late fifties. He was working in the engine workshop at the rear of the building when the V2 hit. The rocket landed about 30feet away from my father on the other side of a wall which buried him in the rubble. His hand was spotted sticking out of the rubble and he was taken to West Mid hospital by car. He suffered broken bones but no life threatening injuries and fully recovered from his ordeal. He worked mainly on the MTB engines as well as the car engines. When Packard’s shut he moved next door to work for Lincoln Cars for many years. The Packard buildings were rebuilt after the V2 event and were taken over by the Sperry Gyroscope Company who were based further down the Great West Road near Boston Manor Road. I believe when Sperry shut down at Brentford in 1967 the buildings were then taken over by a furniture Company but I cannot be sure.
    STRANGE FACT: My father worked at Packards, I worked in the same spot when the site was taken over by Sperry’s. I worked at Sperry’s at Boston Manor and my father worked in the same building when it was taken over by the FIAT Motor Company.
    Hope this answers some questions.

  8. Philip Belcher says

    Just came across your question of 2012- I hope this isn’t the first response!
    My Dad worked at Leonard Williams before and after ww2. He was drafted into the Fairy Aviation factory throughout the war at nearby Heston. He went to see his old colleagues at Packards (as we used to call it) the day the V2 hit- he was cycling home westwards down the Great West Road when he heard it explode. He didn’t know where it had hit until later. After the war they moved next door, on the south side of the road (A4). In the summer school holiday in 1954 when I was 15, I helped out there cleaning cars and doing odd jobs. I was sent to the stores for a “long weight”, and was there for ages! Dad was a diagnostic and test engineer. When road testing he brought home some great cars, including J.Arthur Rank’s Packard Patrician, and gave us rides. Nearest tube (actually above ground there) is Boston Manor. Let me know if I can help further.

  9. Philip Belcher says

    I was wrong in my comment about Packards moving next door. From photographs after the war the building looked much as it did before the V2 disaster, so must have been rebuilt. The only difference seems to be that the recessed part at the eastern end was rebuilt as a blank wall at the end of the workshop, instead of an extension of the original two storey office/showroom block, with a large garage door. They must have adapted the space at the west of the showroom to be a car park. I have a photograph of my Dad with two Packards at this spot, taken in the 1950’s, showing the Firestone building in the distance. I have another photograph of the Great West Road taken in 1970 showing the building is missing.

  10. Timothy Auger says

    I well remember the impressive Leonard Williams building on the Great West Road. In the mid-1950s my father drove a rare 1937 Packard 120 ‘Woodie’. Around 1958, when he considered selling, he contacted the Leonard Williams company who send a representative to Farnham in a shiny Packard Patrician to inspect the vehicle. I think he must have slightly over-sold the 120, as when ‘Mr Packard’ rounded the corner of the house into the yard, his face fell quite dramatically. It was rather comical. In the end the car was sold locally for a mere £25.00, a sad end. And my father bought a new F-series Vauxhall Victor, one of GM’s most cynical products of all time.

  11. Philip Hughes says

    I believe that j Arthur rank s packard patrician finished up in a little garage near broughton gifford nor melksham in the 70s . The garage owner told me that it had trouble with the gearbox and or the air suspension . It was parked up for months then dissapeared .i think that it was nearly impossible to get parts or expertise for American cars at that time . Ph

  12. colin says

    Hi

    I own a 1936 and a 1937 Packard and am trying to trace the history on these cars. They were both supplied by Leonard williams.

    Just wondered if there is any archive information saved on the companies.

    The 1936 Packard has got a Carlton coach built body on it. Any information would be much appreciated.

    Thanks

    Colin

  13. Colin Bowles says

    In 1945 I wa 9 years old and living close to the Packard showroom at 859 Great West Road. It had not been unusual to have seen and heard the earlier V1 flying bombs overhead. If we could here the motor there was no need to worry. If the sound ceased – then we would take cover. Agee weeks later I was in the West Middlesex Hospital with a burst appendix, and in the August evacuated to Nottingham with my mother, returning on the day that Glenn Miller disappeared.

    At the time the V2 landed I was having breakfast at Busch House open air school, at. Busch Corner around a mile away. I recall the sound and the whole building shaking.

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