Just for the record - this was the first Gambrill family transportation.       c. 1921             

Frank driving his Bullnose Morris c.1926.  In England this car took over from the Model-T Ford as the most popular car.

A Riley Alpine

Ken with his favorite uncle - Sid Gambrill  c.1927

at Portsmouth aka “Pompey” 

I just had to include this picture from the 1920s - it’s a classic.

While on a family beach outing, Frank’s precious car is covered in sheets to protect it from UV rays - while Frank and his son (Don or Ken?) fry in the sun.

Ken with his grandmother at her home in Portsmouth c.1932 

This part of Ken’s travel journal touches on the era of the Roaring 20’s when the “family car” started to become a must-have for families with spare cash (or a frivolous luxury that most families really couldn’t afford). I believe my grandfather’s financial circumstances put him into the second category. His expenditures on cars became a family budgetary issue that my father remembered.


On the plus side, it is difficult in today’s world to imagine what freedom and opportunities a car gave the family to explore the countryside together. The journal entry below covers regular trips that Ken’s family took to keep in touch with their extended family, and they all became huge fans of the Sussex countryside.

Perhaps a map will help in sorting out the places and people in this Journal entry from the 1920’s.


  1. Frank and Nellie Gambrill live in Hastings with their two sons (Don and Ken).

  2. Nellie’s family (Reed) live in Eastbourne. Nellie’s sister Nora Reed married Harold Cheney (another car buff). Nora and Harold Cheney took over management of the Rose & Crown Hotel in Eastbourne after Robert Reed died in the mid-1920s.

  3. Frank Gambrill’s widowed mother and two of her adult children (Floss and Sid) moved from Hastings to Portsmouth in about 1912. Floss and Sid each managed a Robert Nelson & Co. shop in the Portsmouth area.

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