The Linter Family Business in London Road, Redhill
 
This page is the result of material sent in by Nigel Offer and his wife Jill Offer (nee Linter). The majority of the pictures are theirs as is the text describing the Linter family and business history. Some pictures have been added from my own collection.
  
In 1966, an 80 year old link with Redhill was broken when well known cycle and car dealers G. Linter & Sons of London Road closed down, due to the compulsory purchase of the premises for a re-development of the area. The firm, which started in Redhill in the late 1880s, was founded by George Linter, a carpenter, who moved to Redhill from Swanmore, Hampshire, to work on the building of St. Anne’s. It is also said that he did some undertaking at the time.
He became an enthusiastic cyclist in the 80s riding ordinaries (penny farthings) and the pneumatic tyred safety bicycles. With these he won a lot of medals and cups for races on the Brighton Road – long distance and handicap events. His granddaughter, has one of his gold medals for a long distance race he won in 1889. On the back is inscribed '100 Miles, First - G. Linter, 8hrs 29min'.
His enthusiasm was such that he started to repair and sell bicycles at his woodwork shop next to the Sultan in London Road. Eventually this became a full time job.

The picture on the right shows the Sultan public house. Given that there are three boys holding bicycles on the pavement it is possible that this was either a publicity photo for Linters or the opportunity was taken to make it so when the photographer was on the scene. It has been suggested that it is George Linter himself in the doorway of Linter's cycle shop on the right. (Picture Nigel and Jill Offer)

This photograph shows that George Linter had premises on both sides of the ‘Sultan’, ‘Linter’s Cycle Depot’ on the left and ‘Linter Cycle Agent’ on the right.Detail from the picture on the left showing both shops
(Main picture Nigel and Jill Offer)
  
Possibly a local cycle club posing for the camera outside Linters' shops either side of the Sultan public house.

(Photo courtest George Smith from Lincolnshire)

  
  
  
In the early 1890s, the shop at the corner of London Road and Cecil Road was built and business at the new premises was soon booming. At one stage he was employing 20 to 30 staff to build Linter bicycles. The cycling craze of the 1890s saw the business sell hundreds of them so that expansion was called for. Branches were opened in Croydon Road, Reigate, in the shop, which in 1966 was owned by Boorers who were leather manufacturers; also behind the Market Hotel in Tunnel Road, Reigate, and near the Red Lion public house at Bletchingley. Invention of the motor car and its popularity in the Edwardian era was responsible for the next stage in Linter’s development. In 1906/7 George built himself a car using a 6.5 hp De Dion engine. This prompted him to extend the premises to sell and repair a variety of makes of vehicles until, in 1911; he became the first Ford agent in the district. Wisely, he continued to sell bicycles – an important mainstay of the firm throughout its existence. During WW1, the supply of new vehicles dried up but the firm kept going by repairing bicycles and using a fleet of Ford Model T vans to operate a carriers business, for a wide range of local businesses.
  

The car that George built.
This is the car referred to above that George Linter built c1906/7 using the De Dion engine. Bicycle wheels are used and the rear wheel appears to be belt driven. In all there appear to be seven wheels on the road. One wonders what kind of perfomance was achieved and where the fuel tank was.
(Picture Nigel and Jill Offer)

Advertisement Right
Few advertisements for Linters are to be found in any of the early Guides for the the Borough of Reigate or in the Street Directories of the time, both of which carried numeruos adverts for Redhill and Reigate tradesmen. This exception was in a guide, which although undated, is c1901-5. It contains a testimonial from prominent Redhill resident Major Kingsley Foster, who lived in the large house at the top of the Brighton Road where the naval cadet training ship Ark Royal is now. The testimonial itself is dated 1898.
(advert Alan Moore)

  
Linter's new premises on the corner of London and Cecil Roads.
George Linter's premises extended to accomodate the firm's expansion into the motor car business
  

Street directory c1885-8

Street directory c1898/9
DATES
...... A number of dates are mentioned in the text above and we can pause here to consider them. The directories above both show the Sultan public house, although in the later one simply lists a beer retailer, but the name, J.Peters is the same, so it seems that we can take this as a constant position in London Road. In the earlier directory there is no mention of Cecil Road, so it was not there then. And Cairo Villas were probably much further along London Road, certainly Glover's Lodge was. The reference to Battlebridge Lane is to the road to Merstham half a mile north of the town now known as Frenches Road. As can be seen, there is no mention of George Linter having premises in London Road.
..... Ten years later things have changed. George Linter is listed as a cycle agent in two premises but not the ones shown in the picture above. The premises immediately south of the Sultan pub, is the Cylclists' Rest, proprietor James Macintyre. Whether this was a cycle shop or a tea rooms is not known. More information is required before all the dates mentioned in this page can be verified. As far as 38 Station Road is concerned, it may be that it was renumbered to 42/44. Because access to the rear of Linter's premises was required it may well have been built on the corner before other spaces between his premises and other shops by the Sultan were built on.

Looking south on London Road. The Colman Institute is on the left with Cecil Road between it and Linter's premises. The road in the right foreground is Gloucester Road

  
In the early 1920s, the firm lost its exclusive Ford agency, so switched to Overland cars (similar to that shown above right and, possibly, in the picture above left) as well as selling other makes of cars, vans and motorcycles. Among the popular makes of motorcycle sold were Levis. A.K.D., Rover, Douglas, and Raleigh. (Both pictures Nigel and Jill Offer)
  

A Linter bill from 1926

Two Linter's adverts, dates unknown although they probably span from around 1911 to the early 1920s. In both they are agents for Ford cars although the car hire price has risen from 6d to 9d per mile

  
By the late 1920s, radio was booming and many sets were in commercial production. Here was another opportunity for George to make his mark, so he created an area for the sale and repair of radios and, later (1940/50s), the sale and repair of television sets. During WW2, electrical installation work was undertaken to help the business along. It was in 1942 that George Linter died, leaving the business to be run by his 3 sons. After the war, business slowly built up again and G.Linter & Sons continued with their three main lines of cars, bicycles, and radio (later TV). In the 1940/50s they were agents for Austin but could also source and supply any other make from local Main Agents. Arthur (my father in law) bought one of the early Austin A40 Devons which I subsequently bought off him in 1960 and later, in 1963, I bought my first new car, a Mini Traveller from G. Linter & Sons. Sydney died in 1962 and Edward in 1963. From 1961, Arthur ran the business until 1966 when the business closed down. Unfortunately Arthur died on the 31st December 1967 so didn't have much of a retirement.
George had 3 sons as well as a daughter. From left to right
above the sons were Sydney, Edward, and Arthur. Edward,
the eldest, started to work for his father in 1904. Sydney,
after an apprenticeship in London, joined him in 1910, and
Arthur joined in 1918. The other picture above is of George
Linter in 1942
. Unfortunately there is little information about
him but Jill Offer seems to remember that her grandfather
died following a fall from a ladder when picking apples when
well into his eighties.
(Both pictures Nigel and Jill Offer)
A page from the Order book, c1964. On the front is written 'New Car Order Book' . It seems that in the 1950s Linter's may have relinquished any dealership(s) they had
and sourced new cars from
local Main Dealers such as Wray Park Garage. 
(Nigel and Jill Offer)
  

The picture left shows George Linter in a trilby he liked to wear. The picture above comes from the Mayor's page of this website and shows Mayor Temple Newell opening the Club's new green in 1931. George was also an active member of the Redhill Bowling Club - could that possibly be him two away from the Mayor in the row behind? (picture left Nigel and Jiill Offer)
 
  

Jill Linter is the last of the George Linter's line. Sydney had a son who was killed flying in WW2; Edward had no children; Ethel, Goerge's daughter, remained a spinster and Arthur just had a daughter, Jill.
But George had brothers and, possibly, sisters.
From available records it seems certain that George was born in Droxford, which is near Swanmore, in 1860. (so he was 82 when he died). The 1901 Census covering the Parish of St. Matthew shows his age as 40 and trade as 'CycleMaker-Shopkeeper'. There was also a Frank Linter who had bootmaker's businesses in Redhill and Reigate who was also born in Droxford in 1862, so could well be George's brother. In fact another 8 Linters were to be born in Droxford from 1864 to 1889. More research is required.


A photo of Jill Linter (now Jill Offer) on a Carnival float c1950.(
picture Nigel and Jiill Offer)

   
Linter Vehicles (all picture Nigel and Jiill Offer)  
One of G. Linter’s Model T Fords dressed up for a Carnival at the back of the premises in Cecil Road where there was access to the garage workshopsFamily photographs show that Arthur owned a wide variety of vehicles during his lifetime. These are shown above and in subsequent pictures.
   
   
  Arthur Linter and wife Flo
Flo and a friend in the same car as previous picture  
   
A WW2 Air Warden's Certificate held by Arthur Linter
(Nigel and Jill Offer)
In 1956, Nigel Offer's father-in-law-to-be, Arthur Linter, helped him find his first car, a 1934 Ruby which is pictured above with the Reigate Priory as a back drop. It was Arthur who taught him how to 'de-coke' the engine and maintain the car. (Picture Nigel and Jill Offer)
  
In 1987 Nigel decided to buy another Austin 7, a 1929 Chummy. This
he restored over a two-year period and when finished a 'Linter ' plate,
that he had was fitted to the dashboard. This plate is a collectors' item now but possibly many would have been laying around in Linter's garage and
were thrown away when the business closed in 1966

(Picture Nigel and Jill Offer
The dash of the Austin 7 Chummy with the Linter plate fitted
(Picture Nigel and Jill Offer)
  
And Finally 

This picture of London Road, Redhill, shows the Holy Trinity Church hall on the left and next to it a large block of retirement flats (the lighter coloured building). The flats replaced five houses, nos. 93-101. It was in 95 that Edward Linter used to live. The flats were built in 2004-5 and were named Linters Court, as can be seen at right.
.
  
Post Script  
After the above had been written Nigel Offer found a cutting from the Surrey Mirror that contained the picture of Linter's premises being demolished. Accompanying the picture was the following caption: -

'To the list of old business properties disappearing recently has been added that of G. Linter and Sons premises, pictured here in course of demolition. The site has recently been acquired by the Borough Council. The business was founded in the last century by George Linter, a carpenter, who came here to work on the erection of St. Annes who then turned cycle-maker. He had the shop built after his original premises, next to the Sultan, became inadequate for meeting the cycling boom of those days. The business closed in September (1966) on the retirement of his last remaining son.' 

   
It may be that there is no more to tell about the Linter family, but if you know better and have material or information that could be added to this page, please contact author
   
Grateful thanks to Nigel Offer and his wife, Jill Offer (nee Linter) for the detailed information and wonderful pictures they supplied for this page
 
www.redhill-reigate-history.co.uk