A favourite haunt of several of the Solent City Scooter Club crew when we had nowhere particular to go of a Saturday night was Ned Newman's house. (half of the Rafferty-Newman motorcycle business)
Ned lived alone in a 3 bedroomed semi at the back end of Fareham. I believe he was quite a lonely guy because he always welcomed us in for coffee and biscuits no matter what time we rolled up. It was quite normal to then stay until some unearthly hour whilst Ned entertained us with stories from his youth.
To me he was a bit of a Jekyll and Hyde character in that respect; during working hours he could have terrible outbursts and tantrums if things didn't work out to his satisfaction. Many of Rafferty Newman's staff would feel the lash of his tongue, and frequently customers also if he disagreed with their opinions on standards of service received. (both Marten and Kenny Erridge handed in their notice together because of one of Neds outbursts) Yet meet up with him outside of work and he was a very friendly, highly witty and extremely entertaining character.
When the business started to take off, Ned splashed out on a bright yellow 'E' type Jaguar which had previously belonged to Charlie Drake (famous comedian of that era). It was an absolutely outrageous thing to buy, with a huge engine. (either V8 or V12…I cannot remember which) He gave me a ride in it once, and it scared the pants off me. We hurtled out from their shop forecourt, and by the time we were going under the railway bridge in Fareham we were doing in excess of 100 mph. I had sunk right back into the deeply padded plush leather seats, and thought I was going to die.
The truth was Ned was in a sort of contest with John Lawton (son of Lawton and Wilson's in Southampton) When John bought an 'E' type, Ned bought an 'E' type. When John bought a Jensen Interceptor, Ned bought a Jensen Interceptor. I dread to think where this all ended up.
Ned Newman in the Waistcoat with the happy face
When I first started work in 1969 at a Fareham Cash and Carry, one of my first friends there was a woman who was overjoyed to discover I knew Ned. Evidently she was a 'biker babe' from Neddy's ton up days, and she recounted to me many amusing stories of their youth.
I met up with Ned a few years ago in his Portsmouth North End Store on the night it closed, and he told me he was considering retirement soon. He was in the process of buying a lovely old harbour edged house in Old Portsmouth near the Still and West pub. I had a long chat with him about the good old days and he still retained his good wit and sense of humour.
Note From Marten.
Ned's E Type, When it arrived still had wooden blocks on the pedals, Charlie Drake was not very tall.