THE black and white photograph on this page is half of a before-and-after set from a book published 45 years ago.

A caption beneath says: “Austin 10 before and after repairs. The only new parts used were near-side front wing and running board.”

The book details the 40-year history of a firm founded in 1933. As many Rewind readers will have guessed, it was Bamptons, the coachbuilding and caravan company which was one of Swindon’s most prominent businesses.

Its author, Daphne Bampton, was company secretary and later managing director of the organisation, which was founded by her husband, Edwin, and his younger brother, Reg.

The two men retired in 1976, but Mrs Bampton, who lived until 2003, stayed on for some years, even after it was sold.

She served as a borough councillor, helped to found Swindon Business and Professional Woman’s Club, supported countless good causes and was a pioneering campaigner for workers’ rights and women’s equality in the workplace and society.

“In 1933,” she wrote in her introduction to the book, “the economy of the country was depressed, and from that point of view it was not a good time to begin such a venture.

“Yet there were certain favourable factors at that period which are not found today; for example, it was easier to operate on a shoe-string with little commercial or statutory know-how.

“But the qualities for success are basically the same in every age: determination, a liking for hard work and ability - not only the ability of a craftsman, but the ability to use this craftsmanship in an original and practical way.”

The first workshop in Stratton Road was built using timber from the old army camp in Chiseldon, and much of the early business came from building caravans. In later years the firm expanded its reach to create everything from ambulances and mobile canteens to breakdown recovery lorries and buses with some of the earliest adaptations for passengers with disabilities.

The book has many photographs of these vehicles, including an enormous Bentley converted into an estate car - or shooting brake, as they were known.

The final pages of the book are devoted to the future of the industry as it appeared in the early 1970s.

Perhaps prophetically, the author mentions challenges such as the increasing cost of finding skilled craftspeople, and insurance companies’ growing tendency to save costs by simply writing off damaged vehicles.