Vaughan Street 1920s

In November 2012 Llanelli Community Heritage displayed a series of old photographs of Llanelli, submitted by LCH Member Christine Andrews, for identification purposes. One in particular proved to be a 'tough nut to crack' (ref: LCH0156). It was a 20th century street scene of an event in Vaughan Street, Llanelli.The scene shows the back of a lorry carrying billboards and advertising signs, bearing the logos of 'Royal Daylight' and 'Anglo American Oil Company', travelling past Llanelly House and 'Andrews Sweet Shop' (ref: LCH0173). Walking alongside the procession is a man attired in a strange looking costume surrounded by a crowd of onlookers all watched by a tall policeman. A young lad can be seen dashing out to pick up something that has probably been dropped on to the road. Judging from the fashion of the dress of the crowd, it appears that the photograph was probably taken in the 1920s.

As no one was able to shed any light on the photos, LCH actively researched the internet for some clues. After six months work we can now tell everyone more about this enigmatic photograph with the help of the expertise of Phil Easdown who has an excellent website called 'Vintage Garage'.

Phil said...

The lorry registration number style YK9029 (two digits followed by four numbers) were issued between 1903 and 1931 and the YK part shows that this vehicle was registered in Greater London although it is impossible to say what year. The lorry was probably one of the AAOC fleet vehicles decked out for occasions such as this one and would most likely have attended many such events around parts of the Country. The first advert attached is from 1922 and shows the exact stove that was being advertised on the back of the lorry, the second advert dating from 1927 shows the AAOC character "Tommy Prattkins" he was used in some AAOC advertising from around the mid-1920s to around 1928 or so, before being usurped by another AAOC character "Ethyl Ethyl" who first appeared in 1927 and lasted into the 1930s. The gentleman in the photograph dressed as a petrol pump is made as Tommy Prattkins and you can just make out his cocked hat. He has a sign fixed to him which says "Pratts' and which was more commonly known as 'Pratts Perfection Spirit'. In 1935 Pratts was re-branded to Esso and in 1951 the Anglo-American Oil Company Ltd was re-named Esso Petroleum Ltd.

This photograph could relate to a local carnival that petrol and oil companies were known to support for advertising purposes. The Anglo-American, like other companies, first started installing petrol pumps in the UK around 1921 and up to that date petrol was sold in 2 gallon cans so at the time of this photograph petrol pumps were still a fairly new means of dispensing petrol.

Local research carried out at Llanelli Library has turned up similar advertisements to those appearing on the back of the lorry. They were for B.L.Thomas & Company, an iron monger's business which had opened up a shop in the Stepney Street Arcade in the January of 1927 and were advertising the 'Valor Perfect Cooker' in September 1928. The 'Valor Perfect Cooker' can be seen behind the two characters on the lorry. Another picture tells a story.

LCH are very grateful for the help given to us by Phil Easdown of