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Homepage. This page: An interesting snapshot of a roadside petrol station in the 1920s, with several petrol pumps in view.

1920's roadside filling station.

Old garages, and photos of them, have long held an interest for me. While this next photo isn't the best technically, as a snapshot of a typical roadside filling station of the 1920s, with various petrol pumps installed outside what were previously normal domestic buildings, I think it's quite interesting. A large tourer - a Morris? - is seen outside the establishment. Either the car had stopped to have its fuel tank replenished, or else the car's occupant(s) had decided to top themselves up with a cup of tea and a slice of cake in the tea rooms. All very civilised.
Previously, fuel was distributed around the country in two-gallon petrol cans, but during the 1920s more and more roadside filling stations sprung up to serve the increasing number of motorists taking to the road. No doubt just a few years earlier, the tea rooms would have been the sole business operating at this unknown location. Sensing a business opportunity, the enterprising owner of these properties diversified into the supply of motor spirit, transforming the scene with numerous petrol pumps, with their illuminated globes glowing during the hours of darkness to tempt in passing motorists.
I can make out at least five petrol pumps in this photo, possibly made by Bowser, plus assorted oil cabinets. Two chaps can be seen attending to a motorcycle some way ahead of the motor-car.
(Please click the thumbnail to view full-size image.)
A roadside petrol station of the 1920s
I wish I knew where this photo had been taken, if the buildings still survive a "then" and "now" comparison would have been very interesting. On the gable end wall of the righthand building it says "The Cha......." followed by, presumably, "Filling Station". The building doesn't look like a chapel, so the incomplete word is unlikely to be that. The car's registration is GD 5776, a Glasgow-area number used between 1925 and 1928. Maybe the location of this petrol retailer was in Scotland? Of course the car could have been photographed during a holiday away from its home location, thus not helping pinpoint the location of this scene. Another sign, located on the roof of the furthest building, also announces the "[something] Filling Station".
A number of vintage garages and petrol stations appear in photos within the vintage gallery section of the site, here is a selection:
Return to Page 15 in the gallery of vintage cars and vehicles.

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