The Morgan Runabout

We present another guest blog by John Wiles.

This photograph of Miss Ena Parry of Plas Llidiardau (a gentry house near Llanilar), one of the county’s first woman motorists and cigarette smokers, and friend seated in her Morgan three-wheeler 8hp Runabout (EJ 219) is one of the most iconic images of Cardiganshire at the beginning of the 20th century held by Ceredigion Archives. Ena purchased the car in May 1915 and sold it to Mr Leslie Watkins of Caradoc Road, Aberystwyth, the following April.

A letter from Leslie’s older brother Jack, sent from a YMCA in British East Africa, where he was serving with the Cardiganshire Battery, Royal Field Artillery, comments that ‘Les’ had ‘got his longed for Morgan’. It is possible that Jack, who was a gunner, met Ena’s officer brothers, George and Rufus, through the Territorials, whose barracks (now Gogerddan Place), at the bottom of Penglais Hill lay just behind Stoneleigh, the Watkins’ house.

A later postcard of one of the Elan Valley dams recalls, ‘Jack, Lel [Leslie] & I went here in the first War when he was home on leave, he went on his motor byke & we the little Morgan run about.’ The writer could have been the woman seen in the first photograph below. The man in uniform in the second picture is Jack, with Leslie at the wheel.

The Morgan was not the only Llidiardau vehicle that found its way to the solidly middle class Caradoc Road, Rufus’ 4hp Triumph motorcycle, purchased in February 1914, being sold to John Paith Morgan of The Elms five months later.

John Wiles

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