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Bryn Davis: 1918-2012

Bryn DavisIt is with great sadness that we report the death of Bryn Davis, who founded two industry manufacturing companies – Albatross (park homes) and Brentmere (holiday caravans and lodges). He was 94.

Bryn was 14 when he left school in Wales, having only learned to read and write in the previous year, and after a short period working in the Welsh coal pits his mother suggested he should move to England where he got a job in the Northamptonshire town of Irthlingborough in the ironstone mine. To supplement his income, he entered boxing matches at local fetes and in 1939 he married Win whose father had taught him electrical engineering.

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Bryn served in the army during the war and in 1945 returned to Northamptonshire and set up his own electrical engineering business which grew rapidly, eventually employing about 100 men. When this business was sold, Bryn decided he would like a cabin cruiser, but instead of buying one he employed two men (with backgrounds in caravan manufacture) to build one to his own design.   Bryn decided to set up a company to build boats – Modern Marines – but this was not a simple operation as no two boat designs were the same and thus did not lend themselves to mass production. But caravans were a different matter, so he set about building those, too, and that side of the business proved very successful.  In addition, Bryn also had a busy caravan letting operation in Great Yarmouth which was run by his wife, Win and daughter Caroline.

Albatross was the company Bryn set up to manufacture residential park homes and holiday caravans, and one of its many claims to fame was being the first manufacturer to incorporate a sunken lounge into its design. Sadly, though, Albatross went into receivership in the mid 1970s at a time when Bryn was seriously ill. Never daunted, though, he subsequently bounced back and set up manufacture again as Brentmere, and one of this company’s most successful models was The Chalet with its offset roof. Brentmere was also one of the first companies to produce a twin unit lodge. When ill health prompted Bryn’s retirement, the company kept going under the management of another family member until it was purchased by Omar Homes.

Bryn will always be remembered as a man who was full of energy and enthusiasm, eternally optimistic. Doug Walker, who was sales manager at Albatross, and subsequently went on to work with Bryn at Brentmere, recalls his indomitable spirit, his amazing charisma and his generosity. He allowed nothing to stand in his way, and Doug recalls one instance when Bryn threatened the sky not to rain, when it looked as if it was going to, because he had some un-clad caravans coming out of the factory. And, obedient to Bryn’s pleading, the rain held off!

Bryn played a huge part in the development of park homes, leisure lodges and holiday caravans and was a pioneer in several areas.

Staff on this magazine send sincere condolences to his family, friends and industry colleagues.