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Homepage. This page: Post-war images of an independent garage business that was located in Middlesex, England.

Ashford Motors in the 1950s.

Old garages, and photographs of them, can be fascinating things to pore over. A good number of original images now feature on the site, in addition to more recent shots of garage buildings that have somehow survived the ravages of time, and the unwelcome attentions of property developers. It was because of the photographs featuring surviving buildings that Kevin discovered the site while researching his family's past, and dropped me a line. He runs a small garage in Alton, Hampshire, and during the course of building a new office area, asked his father to see if he had any old pictures of Ashford Motors, a business that his father and grandfather ran for many years. Happily he did have some, and I'm grateful to Kevin and his dad for sending these shots over and agreeing for them to be shared on the site.
The first of these photographs presumably dates to 1953, as the outside is decorated with bunting, celebrating the the Queen's Coronation. To the left of the main showroom windows is a fine tyre inflator, while to the right an American Chevrolet Stylemaster has its bonnet raised. Just behind the Chevy an illuminated Shell petrol pump globe can be seen. Kevin's dad is the lad in short trousers, while his grandmother is shown holding the dog.
Ashford Motors was a Rootes Group garage, and the family's interest in this firm's motor-cars continues to this day - they've just restored a Sunbeam Alpine, and Kevin uses a Humber Super Snipe for his regular commute. The recent photos of Pritchard & Son's garage in Wales, a former Rootes dealership, understandably was of particular interest to them.
(Please click the thumbnails to view full-size versions of the garage photographs.)
Outside the Ashford Motors premises

In the workshop.

The second photograph sees Kevin's grandfather (Lionel Thrussell) stood in the Ashford Motors workshop. A fine selection of cars is on display, from a variety of manufacturers. It seems only right and proper that there should be at least one Rootes-related vehicle in shot, and that honour goes to a 1930s/1940s Hillman Minx in the background, shown with its nearside rear wheel removed. To the left of shot, a snub-nosed Fordson 10cwt (E83W) van or pickup is nosing into view, while behind Mr Thrussell is a Mk1 Ford Consul. The Ford's registration, RYM 184 (London issue), dates to September/October 1955, thus dating this photograph to around that time. A pre- or immediate post-war Vauxhall is shown parked to the right. The rear of what could well be a 2.4 litre Jaguar (Mk1), its bootlid raised, is furthest away.
It's interesting to note the layout of the 'shop, and a lack of the defined bays that tend to feature in commercial garages today.
View inside the workshop circa 1955

To the early 1960s.

The last of Kevin's photographs is another external view of the business' premises. By this point the garage had been re-modelled, hence its altered appearance when compared to the photo above. The location of this shot is the B377, handily confirmed by the cast iron road sign that happens to be positioned in front of the building. Four pumps are in use, delivering a selection of different fuels to the passing motorists. Illuminated pumps for Shell ICA, Dominion, and BP Super Plus are in evidence, as is one for National Benzole Mixture, a circular sign for which is positioned close to the garage entrance. A rotating sign for Castrol Motor Oils advertises that the garage is open for business today, while a lone Petroil pump is situated to the right of the premises' front door.
The owner of the black Riley One-Point-Five, registration 1141 HX, is clearly a BP man or woman. As the Riley's petrol filler cap is on the offside rear wing, it may have been easier if they'd decided to park on the other side of the pump to fill up. The registration of the car confirms that this picture dates to 1960, or shortly thereafter. In the window alongside the Riley, a number of motoring products are on display. Further inside the building, a dark-coloured car can just be made out, raised on a car lift.
A Riley parked at Ashford Motors
On the road outside, an Austin 152 van reg. 954 MMP (the re-badged version of the Morris J2) is parked, its Austin badge just (!) being visible on the rear door. Belonging to a local florist company (Matthew's), it looks to have led a busy life.
Houses, built in the 1970s, now occupy this site. My thanks again to Kevin for sending these photos over.
Find more early motoring photos on Page 16 of the vintage gallery.

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