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Gilbert’s Garage
Gilbert Marshall was born in Chesham in 1865, his parents James & Mary Ann Ball had moved from West Wycombe, shortly after their marriage in 1850. James was a baker and opened a shop in Waterside; they had three boys William, George & Gilbert. William died at the age of 15. The census records for 1881 & 1891 show Gilbert as a farmer living at 163 Waterside.
On 19th July 1895 Gilbert married Bertha Hill theirs was the first marriage to take place at the New Gospel Hall in Chesham. Their first son William was born in 1896, and it was about this time Gilbert became a member of Chesham Urban District Council, and son Norman followed in 1898.
On the 1901 census Gilbert was listed as a poultry farmer of Riverside House, 163 Waterside, Chesham, Bucks.
A third son Alan was born in Riverside House in 1903 and Raymond in 1905, sadly Raymond died aged one in March 1906 and Gilbert is again listed as a poultry farmer on his death certificate.
In early 1907 Gilbert had set up a motor and general engineers business trading as Townsend & Marshall, next door to Riverside House, in Waterside.
Tragically Gilbert’s eldest son William was killed in France during World War I, but sons Norman & Alan joined the family business when they left school and the company name was changed to G. Marshall & Sons. In 1922 they were granted an Austin Dealership. Norman married Winifred Child in 1923 and Alan married Ethel East in 1928, around this time Gilbert and Bertha moved from Riverside House to a bigger house called Merlebank on Hospital Hill.
The business expanded and Kelly’s Directories for 1939 shows that showroom premises had been added at Germain Street, Chesham along with a garage and showroom in Woodside Road, Amersham, the company also became limited in 1939.
The advert below for the 1947 Chesham Carnival program shows that works premises at Grimsdells Lane, Amersham were also opened.
Gilbert Marshall died 30 April 1945 at Merlebank, around this time Norman left the family business leaving Alan in control. In the early 1950’s Alan expanded the business still further opening a garage in Ryde on the Isle of Wight, this garage sold both cars and caravans.
Business was good during the 1950’s and early 1960’s and in 1953 to celebrate the 21st Anniversary of the Hillman Minx they held a special event.
By the late 1960’s the business was struggling and Alan found the need to sell some of his control in the business.
By the early 1970’s Marshall’s was selling mainly British Leyland cars and when their cars became in short supply it was decided that the garage needed to change dealership and in order to do this they needed to expand, and as more capital was need to do this the decision was made to sell the company. In November 1973 it was sold to Gale Securities Ltd, and became a purely Ford dealership.
The name G Marshall & Sons Ltd was used until 9 November 1987 when GK Southern Ltd brought the company. They ran the garage until April 1996 when it was sold to the Pendragon Group who changed the name to Chiltern Ford.  Slowly over the years the various premises were closed down with the Waterside garage being the last to close at the end of 2001 when the premises were sold to a property developer.