The Arrival of the Motor Garage

It goes without saying that 19th century Wolverton did not have to consider the motor car, and it was only about 1930 that anyone began to pay attention. Even when I was a boy cars were very few in number but one or to people were beginning to convert their wash houses at the back into garages. Even so, it did not occur to town planners that there was any need to build space for cars. look at Stacey Avenue, Marina Drive and Gloucester Road for example – all built in the 1930s – and now the front gardens have been claimed for the car. Try to drive down any terraced street in Wolverton  and you will immediately understand why this town pre-dated the age of the motor car.

Nevertheless, some people were buying cars in the 1930s and they needed to be serviced – probably more frequently than they are today – and garages did emerge.

Charles Gabell at 27 Church Street. This had a conventional shop front but the service entrance was at the back.

27 Church Street on the left in the middle – Sellicks at this time in the 1950s.

William Applin at 53 Stratford Road. The service garage was in the back alley and utilised the old wash house.

R W Pitt at 83 Stratford Road. This was probably the longest lasting of the early service garages and is now a motor cycle dealership.

There were two petrol pumps along the Stratford Road – one at the Grafton Cycle Co and the other at 83 Stratford Road – later Pages. The Grafton pump had the hose on a swing arm so that it could be brought put over the pavement. Pages Garage had the traditional type of pumps on the forecourt. I am not sure about a petrol pump on Church Street. There may have been one but my memory is a bit fuzzy on this.

Stratford Road – late 1950s or early 1960s

The scarcity of cars on the road was quite normal and there was no need for yellow or even double yellow lines. There is one car beside the Grafton Cycle shop – possibly having just been filled.

1960s view down Stratford Road – Michael Page’s Garage by the Regent petrol sign

Petrol tanks were a lot smaller in those days so a few gallons would fill the tank.