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Durtnal Geoffrey

Year working: 1911 – 1986

Chief designer and artist for Coachcraft Ltd, Hanwell before the war. Coachworks drawings (unsigned) seen for Bristol, Delage, MG and Invicta. Geoffrey Charles Durtnal was born on 29th September, 1911 his parents kept the village shop in Ightam. His grandfather was a Master Builder in N. Kent, and it was decided GCD should become an architect. To this end in 1927 he entered an architects office and attended Gravesend School of Art, but within twelve months he changed course joining the Drawing Office of John C. Beadle & Co. Ltd. of Dartford, bound for five years as a Coachbuilders Draughtsman, with 'day release' to the Dartford Tech. College and later the Regent St. Poly. In April, 1934 Durtnal gained employment with John Charles & Co. (Ranalah) as a draughtsman at their new factory in Brentford. This lasted but a few weeks, whereupon he went to work for the recently established Coachcraft Ltd. in Hanwell, W 7, responsible for customer's colour submission drawings. He became the body designer (in 1937 he spent some months in Paris at the Chapron works) and eventually took on extra responsibilities as Works Manager. During the war, GCD ran an off-shoot of Coachcraft, Western Metalworks Ltd. Post-war, in 1946 Coachcraft were bought by University Motors Ltd. (one of their main customers during the 1930's) and re-named University Coachworks, with Durtnal as General Manager. The Hanwell site went through many changes, eventually becoming the first diagnoastic service centre in the London area for B.L. cars. GCD ended his career as a Director of UMECO Holdings Ltd. (now a plc) which had grown out the University Motors empire. Geoffrey died in July, 1986. (Details from John Dyson)

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