John Howlett was born in Grantham in 1883. After leaving school at the age of 13 he began an apprenticeship at Charles Burrell & Sons in Thetford, training to be a mechanic. At 17 he became a member of the Amalgamated Society of Engineers and gradually moved into the motor trade, working for companies including Daimler, Wolsley and Austin.
Howlett arrived in Lymington in 1912 to take up the post of manager of South Coast Garages. He proceeded to transform the company into Wellworthy, a manufacturer of piston rings and other engine parts. The company was at one time the area’s largest employer and brought huge changes to the economic and social life of Lymington and the surrounding villages.
On the following pages we will look at the history of Wellworthy, the social side of the company, John Howlett’s family life and his service to the town of Lymington.