Mr High Test visits Sheffield in September 1930

Mr High Test and his Baby Austin. Image: Ken Martin Collection

September 1930. Mr High Test, a giant representative of the Anglo-American Oil Company, proprietors of Pratts High Test Petrol, visited Sheffield on an errand of “personal interest to all motorists in the district,” and make them aware of its new product.

Mr High Test was seven feet high and wore a uniform of orange and gold and had been covering the whole of the country in a 7 h.p. Austin Seven car. His height meant the seat was set a good way back, and he confessed that his biggest problem was finding a bed to sleep in.

He was really Mr R. Ormiston Noble, a Londoner, who at the age of 17 had joined the Army and went to France. Afterwards, he set up his own business before joining Pratts where he remained for several years.

He travelled in the car from Cardiff to Sheffield, and during his stay toured local garages and made appearances at the Hippodrome Theatre on Cambridge Street, where he became the butt of jokes from Frank E. Franks, a comedian, and at the Empire Theatre.

In 1935, a new range of petrol replaced Pratts at filling stations, a petrol so notably advanced that it was sold in all countries under a new name – ESSO – that Mr High Test promoted until being side-lined the following year.

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