Archive for the 'MGs cars' Category


The Service of Thanksgiving for the life of Dudley Vernon Steynor

Service conducted by  The Revd Canon Cavell Cavell-Northam


Dudley was born on 16 October 1909 in Malvern where he grew up with his two brothers and sister in a large family home enjoying the freedom of the Malvern Hills.  Kite flying, model aeroplanes, motor cycles and motor cars were just some of the hobbies pursued by the family.

His interest in music developed at an early age as the family were very close to Vernon Warner the young protégé pianist.

Dudley was in one of the first intakes at Stowe school and a contemporary of David Niven, Sir Nicholas Winton and Geoffrey de Haviland .  In later years he bumped into David Niven at Heathrow Airport. David recognised him immediately, which says a great deal about the Steynor profile.

On leaving Stowe he studied the piano in London at the Academy of Music   living in Kew with his brother Martyn.  Together they joined the Hounslow Flying club and learned to fly.

Following his studies at the London Academy of Music he was advised to continue studying in Europe and chose Berlin where he studied at the Edwin Fischer School, only returning due to the imminent possibility of War.

His wish to assist the war effort as a pilot was initially thwarted by poor eyesight.  Having spent some months on the ground as a Link Trainer Instructor, and following a weekend party at the house of Jumbo Edwards his Commanding Officer and pre war Olympic Gold Medal Rower, a further medical in London was arranged. This medical was with the Chief Medical officer of the RAF.  He proceeded to test his eyesight by initially requesting him to read the chart with his good eye and then, without changing the chart and while looking the other way, asked him to read it again!  Dudley passed.

Some months later Dudley bumped into the Chief Medical Officer, thanked him, and asked if he realised that in fact his eyesight in one eye was really quite poor.  He replied that he knew people who could see perfectly and were quite lethal in the air and some people, like  Dudley, who might not have perfect eyesight but were  excellent pilots. As one who spent his time on the ground he would prefer people like Dudley above him!

The outcome of this was a posting to Booker Airfield as an Instructor in charge of B Flight where he spent the rest of the war. Here he met Ann who was assisting the war effort by helping with the tea wagon along with two of the sisters of King Zog of Albania who was living in exile at Parmoor here in Frieth.  Dudley and Ann were married in 1943.

On being de-mobbed Dudley decided that a career as a concert pianist was no longer an option and proceeded to devote his energies to designing and developing various ideas.  The first of these was the Verdik Petrol Economiser which made significant improvements to the petrol consumption of the cars of the day, and was widely acclaimed by the motoring press.

There followed  a humane rat trap which he designed at the request of his uncle in Birmingham who owned a hardware shop and it was the mesh of this trap that led to his next significant development.

A famous burns’ surgeon was staying with the Hon Mrs James in Lane End and on seeing one of the traps announced this was just the mesh needed to make guards to protect children from the horrendous burns suffered as a result of accidents with electric fires.  Dudley came up with a suitable design and as a result was kept busy for a few years supplying the electricity companies and then gas companies with guards to fit to all their various models. It was not long however before the manufacturers started incorporating guards at the manufacturing stage bringing this market to a close.   Guards for open fires were a further development and these carried on selling for a number of years.

Dudley and Ann started their married life at The Cottage, Lane End next to the old Chapel on Moor Common.  William was born here in 1948.

In 1951 they moved to Colliers Corner on the day of the birth of their daughter Linden who Dudley delivered in the absence of the midwife who had not yet arrived.  Dudley always said he was not phased by this as he had been in the Boy Scouts!!!

The family was completed by the arrival of James in 1956.

Although continuing throughout his working life with his inventions he decided that with a growing family to support he needed a more stable income. This led to his ownership of Goodchild’s Garage in Lane End and then a Daf Dealership.  Soon Dafs could be seen wherever you looked!

Among his many and varied interests steam always held a fascination. The purchase of an Avelling & Porter Steamroller gave the local community a much loved landmark as he kept it next to the road outside his house.

In 1964 he was tempted back to flying when William started gliding at Booker, now Wycombe Air Park. Dudley was soon recognised as an excellent pilot and instructor and he continued enjoying his gliding in retirement up to the age of 84.

In early 1981 disaster struck. There were extensive power cuts across the area as a result of a heavy snow fall. Dudley had taken Ann out to get a hot meal when the power was restored. The resultant surge caused a fire in Colliers Corner and they returned to find five fire crews doing their best to get it under control. They had lost nearly everything they owned.

Undaunted, a mobile home was bought and placed at the bottom of the garden for them to live in. The initial clearing of the site was carried out by two young men who were keen to earn some money between their training sessions at Marlow Rowing Club. A number of local tradesmen were engaged to rebuild the house and by the spring of 1982 they were able to return. As a thank you for all the hard work Dudley took the two rowers gliding. In the years that followed he watched with great interest the developing career of one of those rowers, Sir Steve Redgrave.

Following the death of his wife Ann in 1996 he returned to his music and at the grand age of 87 produced two CDs of his favourite piano pieces.

Latterly he kept himself fit by doing at least 10 minutes a day on his exercise bike and completing fiendish Soduko puzzles until only a few months before his death.

His 100th birthday was a milestone he wanted to achieve. He thoroughly enjoyed his day which many here I am sure will remember as it brought Lane End to a standstill!


I have always been devoted to MGs. The first one was a MG. M – a two-seater with boat-shaped tail. The engine was the Morris Minor OHC 850cc and it delivered about 33hp. With its single S.U. carburettor. I bought it about 1935 and when War came I stored it in the open in our shrubbery at Berwyn, Malvern.

After marrying Ann in 1943 I decided it would be nice to have it at my house at Lane End. My brother Martyn and I set forth in Ann’s Austin 10 to fetch it. The MG’s body had rotted away from the chassis and was beyond repair, but the radiator with its badge was saveable so off we set on the 110 mile journey with my brother in the Austin and me in the bare chassis. I had managed to get the engine running before we started which was to prove vital as the clutch on the Austin was on its last legs and would start slipping if provoked. So whenever we came to anything more than a gentle rise I would start the MG’s engine and we would complete the climb with the tow rope slack.

The next job was to find a body for what was still a perfectly good chassis. At that time in the war most large fields had scrapped cars dotted about all over them to deter enemy forces from using them. There were many such fields within our operating range as a training airfield and I asked my fellow instructors to see if they could spot any old Morris Minors amongst them. We had luck, although not in any of these fields. An instructor found what looked promising on the front of a small garage in Haslemere, the other side of Wycombe. I investigated and discovered it was a Morris Minor with an open 4-seater body. It had been dumped there and I was told I could have it for £10 if I would take it away. I bought it. It was a McEvoy Morris. The engine in it was the SV Morris which I didn’t need. It fitted my chassis perfectly and only required a new canvas hood – which Ann made.

It was on this car that the development of the Verdik petrol economiser was carried out and it was in this car that we set off for our first holiday abroad after the war – to Switzerland where we met Mr Frey, the head of Scintilla Magnetos who arranged to manufacture the Verdik for me.

I remember selling this MG vividly – we had moved to Colliers Corner, so the date must have been after 1951. We got £58 for it and never before or since have I seen one of my cars go away and found uncontrollable tears in my eyes.

Several MGs followed and all were enjoyed, especially the 6-cylinder Magnette with Wilson pre-selector gearbox which Ann loved to drive. Our last MG was a Midget which was bought by Linden’s Best Man at her wedding (Dave Harris) and he had many years of happy driving in it before selling it fairly recently. I sold it when I had an opportunity to buy an Alfa-Romeo Spider. This was a car I had always wanted but could never afford. It was a 1986 model entirely rust free and with a low mileage and in Alfa Red.

If I have any regrets it would only be that it did not have power steering. But perhaps this is why I was able to afford it! But it was the lack of power steering that made me sell it as I became older and had to face the fact that the time was coming when I would have to stop driving altogether. But I have enjoyed a wonderful life of motoring – over 70 years and free of accidents and insurance claims and one cannot ask for more.

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