Author Topic: Classic Car Interior Destroyed in Fire at the Reupholstering Company  (Read 294 times)

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spinningfish

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Evening all!

Back in June 2020, I dropped my (extremely rare!) classic car seats to a specialist retrimmer in Baldock called A&R Pound. They are very highly regarded and have been there forever - I remember my dad using them, when he was a mechanic, back in the 80s.

The place is very old school and very heavily over subscribed with work - the place was literally floor to ceiling with various car seats and material. A quick look on Google will show you that there is no website, mobile numbers or emails.

The car required restoration, so there was no hurry on my part, so I dropped the interior and reproduced fabric off, they put my details in their diary, quoted me the price and I was on my way.

I called periodically, out of interest, to see how they were getting on and the seats were never started, but like I said, there was no hurry.

The restoration of the car has moved on to the point that I could do with the interior before Spring 2024, so two days ago I gave them a call to ask whether they could finished around the end of January.

No one answered the landline initially, but then a mobile number called me back. I explained to the man (who wasn't the owner, Fred) that I had some seats there and was wondering whether they could be done by the end of January. He abruptly replied, "impossible". I thought they're probably a bit snowed under still, so I asked when he thought they might be able to get them done and the reply was, "Never. The unit burned down five months ago." I was completely dumbstruck and didn't really know what to say. All he could say was "Sorry about that." and he put the phone down.

Link to News Report: https://www.thecomet.net/news/23649512.recap-live-updates-baldock-industrial-estate-fire/

I completely sympathise with their situation. I can't imagine losing such a long-established business in such a devastating way, but I am now without a very rare and hard to replace interior, not to mention the reproduction fabric that was only made on a very limited run and can't be bought anymore.

I have had a conversation with a couple of the members of the owners club and buying a bare bones interior, in poor condition, if I can even find one, will at least cost me £1,500. I don't even know whether I'm going to be able to request a run of the reproduction fabric and what the minimum cost of that will be.

The biggest problem I have is that because the business was so old school, I don't have any evidence that I ever left the interior there. My details were in the diary in the workshop, which I can only assume went up in flames, which is why no one has contacted me within the last five month since the fire.

All I have to show that I ever owned the interior, is the Facebook conversation with the person I bought it from. I also have a Google Maps timeline to show that I went to A&R Pound on that date to drop it off. The owner Fred always remembered my interior when I called, but I have no way of contacting him and the person I spoke to was very dismissive.

Iím certainly not wanting to bad-mouth them, so I hope this doesnít come across that way.

Apart from the very obvious lessons learned here, is there anything I can do to be financially recompensed to replace what has been lost?

Many thanks in advance!!

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andy_foster

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Re: Classic Car Interior Destroyed in Fire at the Reupholstering Company
« Reply #1 on: November 14, 2023, 10:09:43 pm »
Presumably you entered into an agreement for them to do your seats - so a contract would have been formed (assuming terms sufficiently clear etc.).
What entity was the contract formed with - legally, what are A&R Pound - a company, a partnership, a sole trader?
Were they insured?
Does that entity still exist and does it have any money?

Potentially there could be a claim under contract or tort (negligence). Absent compelling reasons to the contrary, contract is always preferable as there is a strict liability, rather than having to demonstrate a duty of care. However, if the company is insolvent and you can show that the owner was personally negligent, negligence would seem to be the better route (you cannot sue a straw man).

Proof in a civil claim is "on the balance of probabilities". does the court find it more likely than not.
Anything that supports credible testimony tends to make it more credible.
I am responsible for the accuracy of the information I post, not your ability to comprehend it.

DancingDad

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Re: Classic Car Interior Destroyed in Fire at the Reupholstering Company
« Reply #2 on: November 14, 2023, 10:27:30 pm »
Whether they have it is open to question but their insurance would be the simplest way, either direct under contents insurance or under public liability.
I would be prioritising that in my to do list to get this sorted.
Second item, which will be needed is whatever proof and a value.

Any insurance on the car?

M60NJP

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Re: Classic Car Interior Destroyed in Fire at the Reupholstering Company
« Reply #3 on: November 15, 2023, 05:03:12 am »
Have you researched the owner/director(s) on Companies House? Whilst not mandatory they may have had insurance.

It seems an odd choice of tradesmen given their reputation for fixing fag burns in taxis etc?

peek

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Re: Classic Car Interior Destroyed in Fire at the Reupholstering Company
« Reply #4 on: December 09, 2023, 11:54:13 am »
Hi
Wonder how you are doing on this
There is chat on various Classic car forums about this fire
EG
https://www.clubtriumph.co.uk/forums/topic/20959-major-fire-at-ar-pound-workshop-baldock/

It looks like the fire was not just A and R Pound. Its the whole trading estate and the Police were involved.
So you should, by a bit of research, be able to find who, where to go to find Fred. And/or which organisation started the fire and if there is an insurance company you can go to.

spinningfish

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Re: Classic Car Interior Destroyed in Fire at the Reupholstering Company
« Reply #5 on: December 10, 2023, 01:02:03 pm »
Thanks Peek.

I havenít done a great deal yet. I have planned to call again this week, but am rubbish at talking on the phone and conveying what I need to, so am trying to prepare.

I would imagine calls to the local police and council would be a good idea too.

I will report back once I have got my head around it all.

Thanks for taking the time to check in on me.

BertB

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Re: Classic Car Interior Destroyed in Fire at the Reupholstering Company
« Reply #6 on: December 13, 2023, 03:44:46 pm »
The fire started in one of the units further down from A&R. I can't remember which one, but I'll see if I can dig something out. But the whole roof went up and it pretty much took out every business in that block of units. 

A starting point with regard to insurance, liability, etc might be with the land owners. The current landlords are shown as Baldock Industrial Estate Limited. On companies house, that lists two current directors. Richard Floyd of Floyd Automatic Tooling, whose building is likely to be still standing as they are quite a bit detached from the main units that went up. The other is Brian Ruskin of Lionkent Ltd. They would have definitely been in the thick of it, so I don't know if they will still be based in Baldock or not.

The commercial agents for industrial units there has always been Brown & Lee, so they may also be able to confirm ownership and who would deal with claims.

Edit: I've found an article that says the fire started at the premises of The Stair Company. It also quotes Roger Pound who gives a rough estimate of losses.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-beds-bucks-herts-66541433