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CLEMENT TALBOT CAR FACTORY

ALTERNATIVE NAME:  LADBROKE GROVE NATIONAL AERO-ENGINE FACTORY, LADBROKE HALL
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The factory of Clement-Talbot Ltd was situated between the Great Western Railway and the terraces of north Kensington. It presented the high ideal of Edwardian car plant design: an office front in the style of a country house, built in concrete but opulently appointed and fronting a large, flexible, single-storey production area. The Clement-Talbot factory was erected by a syndicate established to import Clement cars from France. Construction was supervised by the engineer Charles Garrard. The Earl of Shrewsbury and Talbot supplied the capital and construction started in late 1903. The cars were initially branded as Clement-Talbot, but as the French connection waned so the cars were marketed as Talbots, the first truly British model being produced in 1906. Designed by the architect William T Walker, the main block is dated 1903 on its rainwater heads. Clement-Talbot built an extension to the west in 1913 and a further extension to the frontage was also added on this side in 1917.

In August 1917 the automobile factory became a First World War Aero-Engine Factory. The works of Messrs. Clement Talbot already had some experience in repairing French aero-engines for naval service. In the first five months the contract proved unsuccessful. On 1st January 1918 after a conference with the owners the works were taken under the control of the Ministry of Munitions. The factory repaired a total of 608 engines. At the time of the armistice there were 1994 employees. After the War the factory reverted back to motor car production, producing the 10/23 and 14/45 Talbots. It was subsequently subsumed into the Sunbeam-Talbot-Darracq combine but collapsed in the 1930s and the works and the Talbot name passed to the Rootes Group. The site was subsequently occupied by Warwick Wright, car dealers, and by suppliers of film equipment. The office and entrance is still extant and is now Ladbroke Hall. The manufacturing sheds were demolished around 1993 and the site was redeveloped.

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