About Us

Bryan and Roberta Downes in 1958

When we met! Bryan 19 years Roberta 17 years



Bryan Downes


Roberta Downes


RAF Stoke Hammond in 1958 showing control room and aerial field.
Bryan and Roberta Downes in 1959

Bryan (back row extreme right) just begining his National Service in the Royal Air Force at No7 School of Recruit Training, RAF Bridgenorth.   

After recruit training, stationed  at RAF Stoke Hammond, part of  No 90 Signals' Group Leighton Buzzard.

Group picture of "A" Flight during recruit training at RAF Bridgenorth in 1957 Bryan Downes far right back row.
Picture of living accomodation at RAF Bletchley 1958.
Picture of living accomodation at RAF Bletchley 1958.

Note the very basic living accommodation at Bletchley where we were billeted! 16 airmen to each billet with outside unheated wash faclities! These Billets were adjacent to, and part of, Bletchley Park, although unaware of  their importance at the time.

Building our first house! Bryan 25 years Roberta 23 years

As reported by Tony Henk, this is the first house we built ourselves and moved into when we got married in the nineteen sixties.

Bryan and Roberta Downes' first Self-Build house in 1964
Bryan and Roberta Downes' first Self-Build house in 1964
Bryan and Roberta Downes at the entrance to their first Self-Build house in 1964l
Alpha Television Studios in Aston Road North Birmingham in 1961

This is the front page of ABC Television News, The House Magazine of ABC Television Ltd. No1 Vol 2, Editor Joan Davy. Tony Henk wrote an article for the magazine about our first self-build house, accompanied by these photographs that he had taken to illustrate the write-up (see right and below). Tony Henk now resides on the Isle of Lewis. Also in this issue of ABC TV NEWS is a contribution by Geoff Collins on a Motor Rally that he and Graham Gough organised - won by Dave Charlton with John Stokes second and Alan Bailey third.

The front cover of Do It Yourself magazine exhibition number October 1971
Picture of Bryan and Roberta and their fisrt Self-Build house as it appeared in the magazine when they won the prize.

After the house was completely finished we entered a National DIY House Competition and were fortunate to take second place. There was a cash prize presented to us by Wendy Craig of: "And Mother makes Three" comedy fame; and a free week-end in London at a top hotel.

Alpha Television Studios in Aston Road North Birmingham in 1959
CAR and Lines area at Alpha Television Studios in Aston Road North Birmingham in 1961
Presentation Control Room at Alpha Television Studios in Aston Road North Birmingham in 1961
Studio One at Alpha Television Studios in Aston Road North Birmingham in 1959
Electronic Maintenance Area at Alpha Television Studios in Aston Road North Birmingham in 1961

Studio 1

Electronic Maintenance Workshop

Soon after leaving the RAF a new carreer in Broadcast Engineering began here at  Alpha Television Studios in Aston Road North, Aston, Birmingham, which  provided broadcast facilities for ATV and ABC Television. The General Manager was Frank Beale and the Chief Engineer at the time was David Whittle, succeeded, later, by Chief Engineer Gerry Kaye. ATV and ABC in the Midlands operated on channel 8.

Presentation Control Room in early 1960's with, I believe, Dave Simmonds, Graham Wormold and Clive Dear.    CAR and Lines' Area above.

Junior Technician Bryan Downes at Stoke Hammond in 1958.

Thank you for visiting.  This is a simple site we have built ourselves for people who may be interested in vintage cars. Moreover, the pages about our Self-Build house, as well as showing the result of our hard work, may inspire others contemplating a similar DIY project. The following is additional information and records a few of the events that have helped shape our lives :-

Roberta Downes' 1927 Austin 7 Chummy  UE2744
Roberta Downes' 1928 Gordon England Cup Austin 7 registration OP6161
1923 3 Litre Vintage Bentley PM1923 as found and bought by Bryan Downes in 1978
Bryan and Roberta Downes on the 1982 VSCC Lakeland Trial with their 1928 Gordon England Cup Austin 7  OP6161
The VSCC Club Badge


In 1977 we became members of The Vintage Sports Car Club and the following year aquired our first 3 Litre Vintage Bentley PM 1923, Chassis number 180, Engine number 180. First registered in 1923 with the registration number PM 1923, the car had lain unused for many years by the previous owner Mr Felton at Kemberton Mill in Shropshire and required a complete re-build. This was carried out during the next 2 years by Bryan in our home workshop.



3 Litre Vintage Bentley PM1923 with restored chassis and engine by Bryan Downes in 1979

Shown left as aquired in 1978, the 1923 3 Litre Bentley fitted with Connaught body which was our first vintage car. Below are pictures taken during the restoration and show the chassis and engine etc. The build specification was as follows: 10' 10'' chassis; 3 litre engine with single overhead camshaft, four valves and twin spark plugs for each cylinder, twin SU "Sloper" carburetters, two ML magnetos; "A" type gearbox; 3.79 rear axle ratio.

3 Litre Vintage Bentley PM1923 with restored chassis by Bryan Downes in 1979
Bryan and Roberta Downes with their newly restored 3 litre Bentley near La Rochelle on their first trip to France in 1980
The Bentley Drivers Club Badge and Logo

This picture was taken on our very first trip to France with our restored 3 Litre Vintage Bentley PM 1923 in 1980. The occasion was the BDC Tour to Le Mans and Aubuson to celebrate  fifty years since the last Bentley win at Le Mans in 1930. After  Le Mans we continued on a Midland Region extension Tour to La Rochelle and the west coast of France. The Bentley ran faultlessly. Later that year (1980) we decided to sell the 3 litre Bentley after aquiring our current 4.5 litre Vintage Bentley from Dr Hummel.

Above is Roberta's first 1927 Austin 7 Chummy registration number UE 2744.



Left is the 1928 Gordon England Cup model Austin 7, registration number OP 6161, which replaced the the Chummy, and in which we competed in many VSCC trials.

On the VSCC "Lakeland" Trial in 1982

Roberta's Austin 7's

3 litre Bentley XW1155 as bought in 1984

3 Litre Project

This is the 3 litre "project" that I bought from Hamish Morten in 1984 as a running chassis and as yet (2008) has progressed very little. However, the good news is that a start is planned in the near future! The story is that this 3 Litre was owned by a Mr Harry Gray of  1 Swift House Barrow Hill Est London NW8 in the early sixties when it suffered an accident which wrecked the chassis and a replacement was obtained from Gordon MacDonald, of  Vintage Bentley fame, who had this 9' 9'' chassis as a spare in his garage and it had been re-rivetted. Hamish knew Mr Gray and bought the car from him unassembled. The engine and front axle are original and bear the number HT1643. Moreover, this is a late 3 Litre with the big sump. The engine has twin sloppers on an original manifold and late ML GC type Mag's. Also, an "A" type gear box is  fitted. The rear axle is a late Speed Six with magnesium nose piece. The car bears the number XW1155 and as yet has no body. This is the starting point of "The project", all ideas welcome!

3 Litre Vintage Bentley  PM 1923 pictured above as found

The Restored Bentley 3 Litre Chassis

The Restored Bentley 3 Litre Engine

3 Litre Vintage Bentley Registration Number XW 1155


2009 joined the LCES Light Car and Ewardian Section of VSCC


1930 Austin 7 RK Saloon registration number VX 6119 as purchased in March 2009

On our first event with the Light Car & Edwardian Section: Welch Weekend  Llandridrod Wells in March 2009.

Near Malvern during the VSCC 75th Aniversary week celebrations in August 2009.


Above, Tom Sloan. Gerald Hardwick and A N Other. The hand-written list, right, records most of the lads stationed at Stoke Hammond in Autumn 1957. Left is one of the aerial riggers demonstrating one of his skills! Below, left, is another group with one of the Standard Vangaurds used to ferry us to and from Bletchley at each shift change - usually quite a hairey and rapid ride piloted by a 20 yearold MT guy!

This section last updated 20 February 2010

After National Service a New Career in Telavision