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Homepage. This page: Causeway Garage, Shaftesbury in Dorset, photographed in the 1920s.

1920s corrugated tin garage.

In the 1920s, as the popularity of motoring really took off amongst the working classes, great numbers of garages were hastily erected up and down the land, all vying to take a slice of the rapidly growing motor-car business. Many were simple constructions, often located in rural areas and designed to offer parts, motor spirit, and repair facilities to support the motoring population in that area. The garage shown here is a classic example of the type of garage often to be found in British villages and towns, built from corrugated tin, attached to an inner steel & wooden frame. Jim kindly sent this photograph over, as he now runs the garage on this site, although I'm told it has changed significantly from the scene captured here, back in the 1920s. As there is so much detail in this cracking old photograph, I've split the image in two, and shown each section further down the page.
The Causeway Garage in the 1920s

Causeway Garage, Dorset.

Along with the photo, Jim adds the following background information:
"I'm sending you this old photo - taken I think in 1927 of the Garage we still occupy today.
I live in the cottage shown in the pic which has changed hardly at all, but the Garage building was replaced by a slightly different one in the sixties. The garage was run by the Gaunt family for many years. The young boys in the photo are believed to Stan and Ron Gaunt who kept the garage going until 1982. They both passed away a good few years ago.
We bought the business in 1987 and stopped selling petrol in 1994, but still do servicing, repairs and MOTS.
You will notice the cigarette vending machine at the roadside - I wonder how long that would last today ... also the customers could choose from several different brands of petrol as you can see. Sadly, the tall trees - they're elms aren't they - have gone."
Garage photograph - detail on the lefthand side.
Ok, shown below, a clearer look at the items of interest on the lefthand side of the above photograph. I can't make out the make of four door tourer shown to the left, but the fact that the roof is down, and the chap with the motorcycle has his sleeves rolled up, suggest that this garage photo was taken on a fine day. Three different brands of motor spirit, or petrol as it is usually referred to now, can be seen.
Back in those days, independent garages could stock a variety of blends, offering the motorist a choice of brand and also price. Shown here are three petrol pumps, with globes, supplying Power 3, Pratts High Test, and, to the right of this view, National Benzole, the distinctive figure of Mr Mercury being clearly visible. Mobiloil motor-car lubricants were stocked in the oil cabinet alongside the Pratts fuel pump, as were Motorine products alongside that, again offering the motorist a choice of related products, to suit both his/her pocket and also their brand loyalties.
Vintage garage
Garage photograph - detail on the righthand side.
Now for the detail on the right. Attached to the tin garage can be seen signs for Redline, another brand of motor spirit, Ferodo (brake and clutch linings), Dunlop tyres, and BP. As Jim mentions, directly alongside another old oil dispensing cabinet, and yet more petrol pumps, is a cigarette vending machine, no doubt with instructions not to light up while in the viscinity of highly combustible motor fuel! Two of the three petrol pumps visible here look very much like those sold by Bowser in the 1920s, again with a selection of motor fuels on offer - Shell, BP, and Redline Commercial. A light car, possibly a three wheeler, can just be seen parked behind these pumps.
Vintage garage part 2

Fast forward to 1967.

Jim also sent over this later view of the re-modelled Causeway Garage, taken in 1967. The old tin garage structures had been replaced by this time, and more substantial structures put up in their place. Petrol was still on sale, as can be seen with the array of pumps and globes visible in this shot. Also of interest, to me anyway, is the pre- or just post-war car seemingly abandoned on the land opposite, behind the hedge. I wonder what car that was?
The garage in 1967

More photographs of old garages and filling stations.

I must thank Jim for scanning and emailing these great old photographs over. Surviving garages from the early days of motoring are a rare sight now, so we're lucky that photos still survive that show how garages used to look, especially the independent businesses that did so much to help keep cars on the road between the wars. A small number of these old garage buildings survive, a selection of which can be seen on this page. If there is an old garage or dealership building still surviving in your area, please consider taking a photograph and emailing it over to be featured on the garages page. So many of these old roadside buildings are being swept away in the name of development, making them more and more unusual as time rolls by. Surviving examples of corrugated tin garages are perhaps rarest of the lot, this interesting old garage, built in 1928 and still in use today, is a rare survivor.
This section of the site features a great many vintage motoring scenes, some of which show garages and roadside filling stations like the one shown above. For instance, included in this section are pics of two different garages photographed in Kent many years ago, firstly Tippens Garage seen here, long since knocked down sadly, and another in the same county, this time with a German airship hovering close by. A series of photographs showing another, albeit much larger, tin garage in the 20s can also be found on this page.
If you have any photos like these, either showing old garages back 'in the day' and/or still in use now, and are willing to let them be shown here, please drop me a line. The subject of collecting petrol pumps, and related items, is covered on this page.
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