Charles Clark & Son Limited

by Bev Parker


A Brief History


A view from the 1920s, taken from an old postcard.

The business was established by Edward Clark in 1843 to produce carriages and carriage wheels. In 1913 it was acquired by Mr. J. H. Barnett, a Herbert Austin, later Sir Herbert Austin trainee.

He learned about cars at the Adderley Park Works of the Wolseley Tool & Motor Company Limited, where Herbert Austin was Managing Director.

When Herbert Austin founded the Austin Motor Company in 1905, he took some of the senior staff from Wolseley along with him, including Mr. Barnett, who started his own business in 1907 as one of the first Austin Agents.
Until the early 1930s, Charles Clark & Son was also a coachbuilder, producing elaborate bodywork for Rolls Royce chassis, amongst others. Mr. Barnett was joined by his son Peter in 1949.

The firm’s Shrewsbury branch opened in 1939, and later moved to new premises, which opened on 1st July, 1952.

On 11th December, 1953 the Owen Group acquired Charles Clark & Son Limited, which at the time sold Austin, Daimler, and Wolseley cars.

After the take-over by Rubery Owen, Peter Barnett became Managing Director, Mr. A. G. B. Owen became Chairman, Mr. J. H. Barnett became Vice Chairman, and Mr. E. W. B. Owen, and Mr. C. E. Partridge became Directors.

In 1972 Rubery Owen Holdings Limited decided to concentrate on its manufacturing and engineering activities, and so Charles Clark and Son Limited, by then a British Leyland distributor was sold.

The firm moved to Clifton House in Merridale Road and became Hartwell, Charles Clark, a Rover dealership.


The Wolverhampton showroom at the bottom of Chapel Ash. From the spring 1954 edition of the Rubery Owen staff magazine "Goodwill".
In about 2000 the business moved to Bilston Road, and is still there today as  Charles Clark Motors Limited, Toyota and Lexus dealers.
Part of the Wolverhampton showroom.

From the spring 1954 edition of the Rubery Owen staff magazine "Goodwill".

The new Shrewsbury premises.

From the spring 1954 edition of the Rubery Owen staff magazine "Goodwill".

Part of the Shrewsbury showroom.

From the spring 1954 edition of the Rubery Owen staff magazine "Goodwill".

Hartwell, Charles Clark's service centre and parts department stood in Stephenson Street. The following photographs were taken in December 2001, just prior to demolition.


The reception counter in the parts department.


The entrance to the parts department in Stephenson Street.


The entrance in Stephenson Street.


A view of the building from Alexandra Street.


A final view from Alexandra Street.


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