Cottis the Bakers Van

Bread van, Risen again!

I have recently purchased (and yet to move from the dark dingy barn where they are resting), 2 x Standard Atlas Vans.   One is a panel van and sign-written on both sides is……Cottis the Bakers with their Laindon and Basildon 4 digit phone numbers!  It was in a hedge for about 20 years, a drop of fuel and a battery and it fired up!  It runs and drives, (has a reluctancy to stop though!)  I will be selling the smaller cc one which is the glass/window model but keeping the panel one and giving it a fresh lease of life.  It will be difficult as parts are very hard to come by, but I will be keeping the sign-writing and giving it a coat of laquer or two just to keep it original.

It will take me a while to do but I am determined to get the old girl on the road.

Funny thing is, I used to be a baker as well!  I started in Bartons in Pitsea on a Trident 3 week course from school, was offered a full time position but I was also a Saturday boy at King Street bakery in Stanford Le Hope where I had a full time job waiting after I finished my school years.  Later after the Army, I went to Upminster next to the station as a baker, then later at Lakeside at La Boulogerie.  Then finally I was one of the pioneer bakers at Costco’s in Lakeside.  That was a long time ago, so you can understand my surprise when I walked round the panel van with a torch to see the writing on the side.

Update 12th November 2016
Update 12th November 2016
Update 12th November 2016
Photo added.1.5.17.
Photo added. 1.5.17.
Photo added 1.5.17.
Photo added 1.5.17.
Photo added 1.5.17.

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  • Any progress regarding the ressurection of this van? I was a regular visitor to Cottis’s bakery when I worked as a delivery boy for Lungleys in Berry lane in the 50’s.

    By Bruce Bellamy (06/12/2017)
  • Five new photos have been added today. 1.5.17.

    By Nina Humphrey(née Burton) (01/05/2017)
  • Never heard back regarding the parts I still have!

    Finally removed the Atlas door mobile shell. I will ask the forum moderators if they can upload a couple of pix. Going to start on the van again next week, had far too many things getting in the way of the other things I need to get on with!

    By Ham (28/04/2017)
  • Thank you editor.

    By Ham 57 (21/02/2017)
  • Hello Sir.  Could I buy it for parts as I’m doing a 1959 Atlas up at the moment?  If you’ve got everything you need for yours. Kind regards.

    By Shaun Russell (20/02/2017)
  • Hi Shaun, all I can do is give you a list of what is left, including steering box,  front suspension, rear axle, a front screen free of cracks, some metal inner door panels, and an engine cover, I just paid out £200 for quarterlite window rubber from Australia made to measure because no-one here in the uk was interested in helping. The screen is ultra rare, so this won’t be cheap but if you want all that I have, you best bring cash and we can deal. All monies go back into the van.

    P.S  I may have some metal bumpers and possibly original wheels?

    Regards  Ham.

    Editor: As it’s the policy of The Laindon Archive not to publish email addresses on the website, we are forwarding your email address on to Shaun. 

    By Ham 57 (20/02/2017)
  • Hi Shaun, sadly  I doubt it! It’s under a pile of scrap with only the engine visible, it had it’s back broken in 2 places, and was rotten. I have salvaged parts from it, and they have been used on the bread van. There really is nothing left, kind regards Ham.

    By Ham 57 (19/02/2017)
  • Hello Sir, my name is Shaun Russell.  I’d love to buy the other van off you as you said it has the 998 cc engine.  If you’ve not already sold it, I’ll get her back on the road. Kind regards. 

    By Shaun Russell (18/02/2017)
  • Hi. I was looking at the history of Laindon and then saw this on here, one of my fondest type of vehicle. I did run a Triumph club for a couple of years and know there are lots of Herald parts that fit.

    By Russell (09/01/2017)
  • Hello! The engine is good, and going by the photo of others, I am certain it is the wet liner vanguard 1500cc type. I am looking at present for hoses, repair parts such as gaskets, pipes and possibly a replacement thermo housing.  It’s still coming together nicely, but for the most part  I need to finish the welding, then start on the brakes and fuel tank/lines. Will update more as the weather gets warmer!!!

    By Ham 57 (09/01/2017)
  • That’s great news! Does he know about this page?  The van has a very good engine, I think it may have been rebuilt some time ago, runs like a dream!  If ever he wants to grab a spanner and join me????

    By Ham57 (17/11/2016)
  • After his discharge from service with the Irish Guards in 1948, my brother Bill returned to his former employer, baker Cottis and was responsible for some much needed TLC to the Cottis motor vans. He still lives in Basildon. Harry Rossiter, a former Laindon resident.

    By Harry Rossiter (16/11/2016)
  • Hi Graham, it looks like the old girl is going in the right direction and it can be seen that a lot of work has gone in to her already. Nice bit of “stitching” down the nearside panel. The width of the track on the front wheels seems to be narrower than the rear, is that the case or am I imagining it? 

    By Donald Joy (14/11/2016)
  • Hello again Donald, yep, things are moving along, new hoses have been purchased, looks as though the lights are nearly complete, the skirt the drivers side has been cut Joddled and ready to be tacked in place, yes, the wheel spacing between the front & rear are very different, I think these are surprisingly stable though?

    Found out today that the Rad is still holding water! so a good thing, just a shame that going by the size of the heater, I think I may have to ‘double up’ on jumpers and socks! More pic’s to follow soon.

    By Ham (14/11/2016)
  • Hello Editors.  I emailed the photo’s to a Gmail address but different from the one you have shown here? I will try again immediately, many thanks!

    Editor:  Thank you. Unfortunately you had been using an incorrect gmail address. We have now received the photos via our correct gmail address and they have been added to your page.

    By Ham (12/11/2016)
  • I have emailed the folk who regulate the page, emailed them 3 times with pics, and still nothing, I will try again to get some updated photo’s put on here.

    Editor:  Ham.  Unfortunately we have not received any of the three emails you mention.   Please check that you are using our current email address which is:- We sent you a message on 5th November, using the email address you supplied to us when you registered.  It would appear that you did not receive it.  Have you since changed your email address? 

    By Ham 57 (11/11/2016)
  • Thanks for the update. Keep the news coming, we do appreciate hearing about the project.

    By Gerald Jones (04/11/2016)
  • Glad it’s progressing well, gonna really push it now by saying, looking forward to some photographic updates. Cheeky, I know but don’t swear at me, I’m sensitive?

    By Donald Joy (04/11/2016)
  • Hi Folks! Well, things are moving on really well, one skirt is on, just needs finishing with a more permanent fixing than a few spot welds, I am using the skirt from the Dormobile wreck for the driver’s side as well.  I knew it would come in handy! Old style roof rack is on its way, wheels and tyres are on, the spare just needs another useable tyre, I am leaving the spare wheel rusty!

    Hoping to connect the electrics tomorrow and have some illumination! I have sealed most of the front screen in with black rubber sealant.  It will need a tidy up in a few days, but as these are about as rare as hen’s teeth, I may as well try to save it! Next will be sourcing some brake hoses, plenty still to be done but it’s all looking good for early in the new year!

    By Ham (02/11/2016)
  • Pleased to see you’ve returned Ham (could that be short for Hamilton, as in Lewis?). Admire your determination and look forward to more progress updates.

    By Donald Joy (20/10/2016)
  • Hello again! It’s one of a few nicknames given as my name is Graham. Made some rear lower corner panels and a good friend has made up the rear section where the number plate is meant to be with a slightly different design. The van is being moved tomorrow morning and then it’s time to get dirty again! I am really pleased at the progress, and it will def’ be ready early next year. Will keep the updates as regular as possible.

    By Ham (20/10/2016)
  • Well,  the project is back on! just had the rear lower quarters made, and the rear number plate panel and also ‘frenched’ the number plate area so it sits inside the panel, just need to find an old number plate light to fit (which won’t be too hard to do)

    So looking at early next year for it to be up and running properly!

    By Ham 57 (18/10/2016)
  • Hello one and all…… Shame to see this project on ice and to be Sold, is there anyway this could be saved with funds raised from all subscribers to this site?  Then maybe van be put on trust into trusteeship. Regards Rob.

    PS I’m willing to start this pot off. 

    By Rob of Laindon (20/04/2016)
  • Well folks, it’s been a while, and reluctantly I have to announce that the van is now up for sale in its unfinished state.  It still starts, runs and drives, but will need finishing off.  I have to take back an earlier project of which I have sunk a lot of money into, and need to get it finished as the guys I left it with have let me down. If I don’t take it back now, it will remain where it is for another 2 years! So, the Panel Bread van is going up for sale, 1 of only 8 I think in the country, if that! It saddens me, but this is something that needs to happen. Thank you for all the support and comments.  Kind regards to you all.  Graham.

    By Ham 57 (16/04/2016)
  • Finding this article article quite thrilling, seeing how this project is coming along. How I admire people such as Ham 57 or Ham as he is in his last posting. I have always thought that I might like to do the same type of thing, taking an old wreck and transforming it into a usable thing of beauty. However I know that this could never happen, as I lack the skills, funds and patience to do such a thing. I eagerly await each comment that Ham puts on here, just wish they were a little more frequent, and there is an example of my impatience and it’s not even my project! 

    By Donald Joy (09/01/2016)
  • Hi Donald, your comment was funny! One thing for certain, it will be ready this year, the problem being is I work and I am also a live-in carer, so what time I have is spent between the gym, Girlfriend and the yard. With this project a lot of it involves making fresh parts and making sure it’s done to a good standard, a lot of the metal is very thin, or missing! But as I am off for 10 days towards the end of the month, a lot more will get done. Keep watching……….

    By Ham57 (09/01/2016)
  • Hi Folks.  Well, I’m back into the van, new lights, chassis parts, gutter rail repaired, now has a watertight roof, few more bits of welding, new brake pipes are being made, alternator on the books as the old dynamo is not really up to it. More pics to follow. Happy new Year everyone!

    By Ham (08/01/2016)
  • Been messing about today, made up some temporary fuel lines, cleaned out the fuel bowl, 2 inches of sludge in it! Replaced the front indicators and side lights with brand new substitutes (Land Rover early series) changed the plugs, and now it fires up instantly so can be moved around the yard a lot easier. Now in the process of re-making the battery tray and the tool box floor/tray behind the seats.

    By Ham57 (09/11/2015)
  • I will take some pics when I am next doing a bit on it but it maybe too radical for the purists as there is now  mid mounted 440 cui jensen intersepter mid mounted on new rails tubed rear end with 40 inches of rubber tucked away inside the body with 5 link front on A beam axle but it still looks like barn find standard atlas to give you an idea of how bad it was we shook the chassis of the remains of the body.  

    By Simon Bamford (06/11/2015)
  • Just found a few pics from a few years ago. At least you have a peddel box.

    By Simon Bamford (06/11/2015)
  • That would be great! I was told of a drag racing one from many years ago that disappeared? Get stuck in! I will be sticking with the standard 2.1 Vanguard engine!

    More pics to follow of the progress.

    By Ham57 (06/11/2015)
  • Good to see another panel van, it looks to be in better nick than the one I started with for my project that I have been doing for to many years.

    By Simon Bamford (05/11/2015)
  • Hi Simon.  Do you have any photos? How far have you got with it? Welding has begun now that I have spent two days under it with an air chisel, talk about a numb feeling a few days after!

    The front is the worst part, the pedal box chassis section is peppered but it’s nothing that can’t be sorted. Are you going to continue with yours?

    By Ham57 (05/11/2015)
  • Well done you, we had Atlas and Commer vans at Grays Coop, next to Basildon Bowl in the 60s. Most had electric for local rounds, (provided you remembered to plug it in overnight!) I had Consuls and Thames 15 cwt van that would run on paraffin, until I had a visit from customs! Lots of Ford parts interchangeable, had van wheels on back of 375 to raise rear.

    By Roger Waveney (29/10/2015)
  • Haha! Roger, that made me laugh! Customs! Love it! As for the 375, a very cool idea!

    By Ham 57 (29/10/2015)
  • Hi Folks, Well, I have been very busy, pressure washed the underside and the engine, cut one of the skirts off and have a fabrication company local to me making a pair! cut the inner floor out and found some rot, but nothing serious. Decided on a couple of minor modifications bumperwise and have removed the lower front panel that the bumper mounts onto and I am in the progress of cutting out the rust and re-making the sections. Welding the parts back in place begins tomorrow.

    The rear lower quarters will need remaking and this won’t be a problem. I took the wheels off and found that the brakes are Mk2 Consul/Zephyr and the wheel cylinders are either Standard 10 or series1/2 Land Rover! the shoes and brake covers are very good, but I have found a few bits on the chassis that require some fresh metal! I am still finding flour under the wood in the rear. The wood is surprisingly good, and now that it’s been removed and dried will only need a light rub down and re-varnishing.

    I did speak to a chap who has a set of Mk1 Stag steel wheels which would look very cool on it, but just before we confirmed everything, I tried a set of 14 inch mgb Gt wheels (steel 4 spoke rostyles) and the fitment is exactly the same! so I will be going with these instead.

    I have upgraded the headlights, and the indicators/side lights and they look very fresh, and at the end of it all, there will not be too many changes made in order to still have the van in keeping with the period.

    By Ham 57 (28/10/2015)
  • Wow! what a small world! As I may have said before, I am looking for any memorabilia to put in the van on the roof instead of lining, so pictures etc., will be greatly appreciated, copies would be great.  I don’t expect anyone to donate their genuine ones.

    By Ham 57 (14/10/2015)
  • Hello Ham57, We used to live in Kathleen Ferrier Crescent from when the house was new until 1962.  We move out on my 15th birthday just as I left school, my dad used to deliver on the pound lane estate especially Kathleen Ferrier Crescent. We have a group photo of Mr Cottis and staff which I will add as soon as possible.

    By Julie Rothwell (13/10/2015)
  • A friend of mine Ed’ who helped with the van found out that it was this van (the last of 4 or 5 to be discontinued) that was used around Laindon especially around the Kathleen Ferrier Crescent in the 60’s. I used to live in Boult Rd and went to Millhouse infants and juniors (for a while until I ran away from home! but that’s another story!)

    Anyway, if anyone has any photos of folk who worked for the bakery or images of the van/vans etc… I would appreciate a copy if possible, any info at all. What my intentions are with any of the History is to remove the head lining and carefully stick all of the pic’s etc.,  over the inside of the roof, a collage if you like? I may have some tax discs as well for this van so they will be added, anything bread related.

    By Ham 57 (11/10/2015)
  • Hello again! the van is out!!! Lots of pics have been taken, also a few of the Dormobile model but this is still in the barn and is due to be removed next week sometime. The chap I bought the vans off told me that the Cottis one was in a field for 40 years not 20! I don’t know if I can upload any pics to this site?

    Failing that, have a look at the Standard owners club Forum

    I have some pic’s uploaded and I think you may be able to see them without having to log in even though it is free to be a member anyway. Updates to follow.

    By Ham 57 (10/10/2015)
  • Editor’s Note:  The photographs kindly provided by Ham57 have now been added to the main article:- ‘Cottis the Bakers Van – Bread Van, Risen Again!’

    By Nina Humphrey(née Burton) (10/10/2015)
  • Hello Ham57, I have a feeling that Basildon Bakery took over Bartons.  I remember one day while at work my friends and I were sitting outside during a break when my dad turned up in his Cottis van delivering bread, I think it was something to do with the strikes and they had run out so Cottis saved the day.

    By Julie Rothwell (25/09/2015)
  • I am taking the vehicles out from their ‘slumber’ in about 2 weeks time. The Bakery one is a 1963 model, pictures to follow very shortly. I have located some of the spares needed such as light lenses headlamps etc., but no panels exist for these so they will def’ be being made. I may be modifying the panel van a little but it will still keep at least 75% of it’s originality. I may have already sold the smaller cc one. Watch this space.

    By Ham57 (24/09/2015)
  • I forgot, I used to work at Basildon Bakeries on the industrial estate! I think it was when there was a chap called ‘Tom’ who was the boss and there were several shareholders? I think it must have been around the early 90’s?

    Anyway, transport has been arranged for the vehicles to be moved, thanks for the interest to everyone.

    By Ham57 (24/09/2015)
  • Before leaving school, I applied for a job in Cottis’s, told I would be sent a starting date, but it never arrived. Years later, I did get a job in Barton’s on a night shift putting jam into doughnuts.

    By Brian Baylis (22/09/2015)
  • Wow!, this panel van could be the one that my late dad (Albert Drewer) used for his bakers round in the 50s and 60s.

    I also worked at Barton’s bakery but at Paycocke Road, Basildon, in the confectionery department icing wedding cakes.

    I would be very interested to see your progress during the renovation of this van.

    By Julie Rothwell (21/09/2015)

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