The Vineyard, Richmond
  An Online History for residents, their families and friends


 Present number/name

Pre-1936 number/name

Pre-1893 number/name  


45, Mears Coaches

Mt Ararat House Stables


 45 The Vineyard

 45 The Vineyard


 Mount Ararat House Auction catalogue states:

It has Good Stabling and Coach-house.

The stabling is let on a Half-Yearly Tenancy.

THE STABLING is well removed from the House, and enclosed in a good Yard. It consists of TWO STALLS, LOOSE BOX, DOUBLE COACH-HOUSE, HARNESS, FODDER, AND STORE ROOMS, LOFT &. Water is laid on from the Main, and, in addition, there are a Pump and Rain-water Tank.



 Planning Application for the Mount Ararat Estate for stabling on the Vineyard for W. Cockburn Esq. 

William Cockburn, listed in the Kelly Directory of 1902 as a corn merchant living at no 43, must have been an entrepreneur. He seems to have bought not only the original Mt Ararat stables but also extra land from the garden so as to double the width facing the Vineyard. (Compare the maps of 1896 and 1913).
Presumably he was offering stabling and coach-housing for the new residents in the area who lacked their own space.


 Census: Herbert Knight, Coachman and Yardman


 Plan for new workmens' WC in the stables


 Valuation Office Survey

Description: Stables, Yards, Cottage etc,
Occupier: W. Cockburn
Owner: W. Cockburn, Medina Kewq Road, Richmond
Interest of owner: 99 years from 25/03/1894
Superior interests: F.G.Graham & G.H.Young freehold
Gross Value: £2550


 Census: William Ede, coachman, his wife and 2 children


 OS map first shows the new stable site built in the former garden of Mt Ararat House.


Joseph Theophilus Mears (1871-1935) was an entrepreneur mainly known for co-founding Chelsea Football Club.  1907, Mears acquired the business of the Thames Electric & Motor Launch Co at Eel Pie Island and he went on to build up a large fleet of passenger launches on the Thames. In 1919 he formed his business into Joseph Mears Launches & Motors Ltd, and acquired a garage in The Vineyard, along with several motor coaches. The company continued until 1945, when it passed to a newly-formed company, Thames Launches Ltd.

The coaches were hired out for private outings.  In the garage there was a lift mechanism that allowed the coaches to be taken up to the first floor for storage.

The central house was the residence of one of the drivers.

 1929  Planning Application approved for Joseph Mears Launches & Motors Ltd for alterations for lock-up garages and roofed in washing space.

Robert Ronsson writes:


I’m familiar with this bulding having worked there during my school holidays in the early 1960s for a firm called Paton Engineering Products Ltd. My father was Works Manager there.  I recall that it was divided into two shop-floors, one either side of the yard. On the left (with back to the road) was the main shop housing the heavier engineering machines (e.g. lathes, capstan lathes, drilling machines) that processed small metal components for machinery, vehicles etc. On the right of the yard was a floor that housed pressing machines which mostly cut copper sheet into engine gasket shapes. I recall that the women who worked in this shop were paid piece rates so dispensed with the safety guards so they could work faster. One woman lost the ends of her fingers because she didn’t get her hand out of the way quickly enough. 


The floor above the pressing shop was an independent business where wood was cut into shapes and assembled into modern lampshades. The house attached to the workshops was used as offices.   


Paton Engineering Products was run by a couple called Mr and Mrs Paton who had a flat in Mayfair. They must have been wealthy independently of the business because it appeared to be run on a shoestring and always appeared to be lurching from crisis to crisis.   


One anecdote you may find interesting, although it may be apocryphal, is that Mr Paton had contacts in the film industry and was asked if he could manufacture an industrial Laser machine to be used in the James Bond movie Goldfinger. My father told me that he was responsible for its design and construction in the workshops at 45 The Vineyard. As you may know the machine has a star part in the film when Goldfinger straps Bond to the table, sets the laser in motion and utters the immortal line: “No. Mr Bond. I expect you to die."


I’ve not seen Paton Engineering Products’s role in the film documented anywhere. My father was annoyed afterwards because he wasn’t given a credit at the end of the film and Mr and Mrs Paton were invited to the film’s London premiere but he wasn’t.


One of my jobs was to make tea for the workers when they had their breaks. I also ran errands to get their sandwiches and cakes at the shop on the corner which is now 30 and or 32 The Vineyard. I believe it was a branch of Home & Colonial Stores and this is supported by the colour and design of the external tilework that is clearly visible in the pictures on your site. The tiling is evident on one side only and either, contrary to my memory, this was a single-fronted shop or the tiles have been removed from number 32.   


The store used to slice cold meats on the premises and made up sandwiches and rolls for me according to the workers’ orders. Their iced Chelsea buns were particularly popular and I developed a taste for them. Ever since, I’ve been looking for a true iced Chelsea bun but the nearest modern equivalent is called a Belgian Bun and it’s not quite the same.



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