The business originates from the early 1900s and was started by Herbert Elkins who was a maintenance engineer at the, then, nearby Boulton’s glove factory. Mr Elkins original premises were at the top of School Lane selling and repairing bicycles. In 1923, as the business grew he took on his son Stanley, and moved to larger premises which were situated within a few yards of the present day garage and became known as Elkins & Son.
Only 2 years later in 1925 Herbert Elkins suddenly died and the business became the responsibility of his son, Stanley, a gifted engineer. He was only 18 at the time but quickly expanded the business carrying out repairs to steam driven tractors, agricultural machinery, and early motorised vehicles. The next big change arrived in 1928 with the installation of 3 new electric fuel pumps; some of the first in the area, by now the staff had grown to 6 in total.
Several more changes came prior to the 2nd world war; in 1938 extra building space was provided for the addition of an engine reconditioning facility together with a shop to cater for a rapidly expanding radio sales and repairs business.
The war came in 1939 and the business was allowed to continue servicing essential transport and generally thrived during this time with the addition of 2 taxis which were used locally. The fare from Westbury Leigh to Westbury Station being 2s 6d.
1948 marked the next milestone for Elkins & Son with the addition of its first new car franchise in the shape of Hillman and the Rootes Group. At this point Stanley’s son, Michael became more responsible for this side of the business. New and used cars sales were growing considerably and it was decided Michael would be responsible for the sales whilst Stanley would maintain his close links with the workshop, repairs and machine shops.
By 1955 the business had outgrown its premises so new workshops were built on the present site at the corner of Laverton Road and Leigh Road. These were later expanded during the next 5 years to include a new showroom and extra offices. Also 1955 saw the addition of the Austin franchise, a connection which remained for many years after. A petrol forecourt was also developed on the site and this would become an important part of the business for the next 35 years.
During the 1960s the business flourished. Elkins & Son had by then a number of franchises; Hillman, Standard, Commer, Austin, Wolesley, Riley and later in the 70s added MG, Triumph and Morris. The workshop employed 12 Technicians at one point, the machine shop 6, the forecourt 3 and the popular Radio and TV shop 2.
The late 60s and early 70s saw many changes within the company. The Radio and TV shop had run its course and was subsequently closed, the machine shop was sold off to Court Engineering and most of the franchises were rebranded under the organisation known as Leyland Cars. Hillman continued but was to be rebranded as Chrysler later in the seventies.
By 1972 Stanley Elkins had retired and Michael together with his wife Mary took over the business and it became known as Michael Elkins Ltd. By now the business focused on the sale of new and used cars, fuel sales, servicing, repairs and MOTs. The Chrysler franchise was relinquished in 1975 and Leyland cars were the sold in varying numbers depending how often the workforce went on strike!
Michael and Marys sons; Peter and Andrew joined the company in 1980 and 1981 respectively and both served time in the workshop and workshop reception before both started selling cars. 1982 was finally the end of Leyland cars for the business and a new chapter began with the Ford Motor Company; an association which remains today.
In 1992 Michael Elkins retired and the business was taken over by his two sons, Peter and Andrew. Peter being responsible for after sales and Andrew took care of the car sales. Unfortunately due to supermarket competition the fuel sales were no longer viable and in 1994 the decision was taken to close the forecourt. This however led to an expanded used car operation due to increased space being available once the fuel pumps had been removed. The company name also changed again was renamed Elkins Ford in 1996.
Following a few years of consolidation the showroom underwent a full refurbishment in 1997 to produce the facility used today.
Andrew Elkins left the business in 2004 to pursue his own business interests and the company is run today by Peter Elkins, the fourth generation of the Elkins family to run the business.