A Driving Force in Quinton

by Brian Lee

In the 1950s a new company began in Quinton, even though the registered office was in Bearwood. The “LEEDA DRIVING SCHOOL” was born. The owner was my father, Kenneth Frederick Lee, who lived in Quinton Road West.

Driving School Morris Minor

After serving King and country during the Second World War he did several jobs. One of which was photographer for the medical school at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Birmingham. He was also driver for a car collection company, which included driving lorry chassis and cabs, and the “Ideal School of Motoring”, located at Ward End.

The LEEDA Driving School taught people from Quinton, Harborne, Halesowen and Bearwood to drive. Most of the driving tests were taken from the Driving Test Centre, on the corner of Ridgacre Lane and Ridgacre Road. The centre is still there today, diagonally opposite the site of the closed Quinton Bus Garage.

My father always used Minor 1000 saloons, which became a very familiar sight around Quinton’s roads. He taught many of Quinton’s residents to drive. Quite amazing was the number of families and descendants, mothers and fathers, sons and daughters, aunts and uncles, his name spread throughout the area.

During the latter years he had an office on the left hand side from the Kings Head ( now sadly “The Quantum”), between Redhill Road and Wolverhampton Road South.

I still own the car, which can still be seen at rallies throughout the country. The speedometer records the actual mileage at 580, 000. The car still runs as smoothly as before, albeit with a new engine and gearbox fitted many years ago. The car has been a real workhorse both as business and taking the family on holidays, all over the country.

The reason for this article, apart from local interest, is an attempt to build a database of my father’s successful clients. Dad is in his 80s, still in reasonable health and I feel it would be a nice idea to present him with a record of the driving school’s successes. If there is any who was successfully taught by my father could they contact me, Brian Lee on 0121-422-1334, I would be delighted to hear from you.

The photograph above is taken in Quinton Road West in the 1960s. The driving school Morris mentioned in the article is parked behind a 1929 Morris Minor Weyman Fabric Saloon. This car had an MGPB engine and super charger, it was a two-seater with a 35 gallon tank; fully modified for racing and hill-climbing , the car’s consumption was approximately 4/5 to the gallon.

© QLHS - Brian Lee

Car's achievement is not so Minor

Ken Lee with Morris Minor

HALF a million miles on the clock and still going strong.... Ken Lee's Morris Minor has spent the last 22 years being driven by different people almost every day-and hasn't complained once.

The driving school car has now been put into retirement but can till he viewed at rallies throughout the country, including the first Popular Classics Roadshow of the season at Broughton Castle, Banbury, on May 16. Ken from Warley, W Midlands, has put the car through all kinds of weather over the past two decades and it is running as smoothly as ever beit with a new engine and gearbox fitted 13 years ago. It's not just a workhorse for instructor Ken though, as the car has provided years of faithful service taking his family on holidays all over the country.

A feature on Ken's Morris Minor appears in the May issue of Classic Car Weekly's sister publication Popular Classics.

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