Dorothy Thomson and the Tale of Mr Samuda’s Model T Ford

Here is a snippet from one of our many Oral History audio files. In it, former 1920s Shipton Court resident Dorothy “Dor” Thomson tells the apocryphal tale of Mr Samuda and his Model T Ford.

Catherine “Bay” Thomson and her first child Dorothy, known as “Dor”
Left to Right: Siblings “Dor”, David and Joan Thomson
Dorothy Thomson with Mary McNeill 2004


“Mr Samuda was a great character who at that time lived at Bruern Abbey, and he was well known to all of us because he was a gentleman that always drove about in a cart, a sort of dog-cart with a cob, a nice smart cob, and to everybody’s surprise – it was very early in the twenties – he suddenly bought a T-model Ford which was really quite adventurous ‘cos he was quite an elderly gentlemen at that time. And his stud groom whose name was Tustain was absolutely horrified at this. However, Tustain was told that he had to learn to drive this terrible thing.

And they drove around the roads, the two of them – they could both drive it- and the story went around (I don’t know how true it was) that one day Mr Samuda was driving, and he’d had enough, he got rather bored with it, and he said to Tustain as they were bowling along the road “I’ve had enough of this Tustain, now you can take over”.

And in the old days of course, with carriages, you just passed over the reins to the other man. Well when you’re driving a car it’s not quite as simple as that, so the two of them had to cross over while. – it never occurred to them to stop the car meantime – they had to cross over and fortunately it was a straight road and fortunately they survived, but this story went round the locality for quite some months.”

The Full Interview

In this set of reminiscences, Dororothy Thomson recalls many details and anecdotes from her life as child and growing up at Shipton Court. The 2004 WLHS Journal No 19 [ available here ] contains many excerpts from these memoirs, as well as a summary of her life during and after her time at Shipton Court.

See both of Dorothy’s audio files here and here

More Extracts