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Homepage. This page: Story of a garage established in 1934 by Cyril Welland, of Berrow, Somerset.

Welland's Garage.

Every now and then an interesting piece of paper, perhaps an invoice or an unused letterheading, will turn up relating to an old garage. Recently though I was contacted by Jenny, daughter of a gent by the name of Mr Cyril Welland, who established his own business - Welland's Garage - in 1934. Jenny's family not only still own the premises (now leased out), but still had a lot of the papers and reference material that he used during the early years of his business. A home was sought for this archive, where it would be kept together and not broken up.
A short time later the postman appeared on our doorstep, struggling with a sizeable box of motor-related books, leaflets, and magazines, plus copies of photographs featuring the garage and its workshop. The plan is to shed light on this pre-war garage business, both in its early days and as it grew during the post-war years prior to Mr Welland's retirement, and feature some of the photographs and paperwork that relate to this 1930s business.
The material I received will prove to be a great asset in terms of building up the site in future, and will also serve to act as a tribute to one garage business, of a type becoming more and more scarce today as franchised car dealerships take over from smaller, independent, garages, and supermarkets claw more and more of the petrol retail side of the business. My thanks to the Welland family for allowing me to share the history of their family's business on the site, and use the material they provided to further build on what has already been incorporated into this site over many years.
This page will act as an introduction to Welland's Garage, and as stories relating to the business' operation come to light, they'll be added in here. When items are featured elsewhere on the site, they'll be linked in with this page.

Letterheading, plus a photograph of the garage in 1934.

To begin with, the box of papers included an unused letterheading for the garage. It probably dates to the late 1940s or early 1950s. A car is illustrated up on a single-post hydraulic lift. Down the lefthand side is a list of the trade bodies that Mr Welland was affiliated with, namely the MAA (Motor Agents' Association), BMTA (The British Motor Trade Association), and the RAC (Royal Automobile Club). The garage is situated in Berrow, Burnham-on-Sea (Somerset). The photograph was taken on the opening of the garage in 1934 (it in fact already appears on the Austin 7 PD tourer photograph page in the vintage gallery). The original construction of the garage building is evident here, and the changes that were made to it over the years can be seen in later photographs, further down this page.
Letterheading and photo of Welland's Garage

The garage in 1948.

Happily, even looking at photographs of the garage today, the original form can still be seen. As mentioned, the garage is shown above shortly after its opening in 1934. Jenny sent over a photograph of the garage taken a few years after the war, in February 1948 to be exact. A large extension has been built onto the garage. In the earlier photograph, there are two oil dispensing cabinets and a pair of petrol pumps on the forecourt. By 1948 the number of pumps had increased to three. Whereas previously Pratts Commercial and Shell fuels had been on offer, by 1948 this had changed to National Benzole, Esso, and Shell. A fine recovery truck can be seen parked to the right of shot. In the workshop the front end of an unidentified vehicle can be seen on the left, while to the right the rear door of a small van is in evidence. The smiling owner is stood in the entrance to the workshop. Images of Mr Welland at work can be found further down this page.
The garage in 1948

The same site in 1964.

The next image fast-forwards sixteen years, to 1964 (dated by the presence of a poster for the film "Dr. Strangelove"). This takes a view along the road, with the garage to the left. The frontage has by now received a lick of white paint, and a sign for the RAC can be seen. A roadside sign for Regent fuels is now in place, perhaps the owner of the dark-colour Hillman Imp is going to call in for a top-up. Heading towards the camera is an example of Mk2 Ford Zephyr, being pursued by a Hillman Minx.
Looking down the road in 1964

The garage today.

In August 2013 I called by at Welland's Garage to see the premises for myself, and take some photographs. I also met up with Jenny briefly, while we were en route to nearby Burnham-on-Sea. It was interesting to see the garage as it is today, and try to imagine how it looked back in 1934. Apart from the canopy over where pumps once stood (moved to the right when compared to the earlier images), and the new frontage, the garage's older form and roofline can clearly be seen. The garage now occupies a corner plot, presumably the addition of a road alongside the premises is what led to the pumps being moved to the right, away from what became the new kerbside. The line of the main road has also changed in front of it, when compared to the earlier images (links below). The building's name is now "Triangle Garage".
Triangle Garage, as it is now known
The former Welland's garage
As I find it fascinating to compare "then" and "now" photographs of this type, it's great that images taken of the garage throughout its life survive, as a record of how things were, and how the main building had evolved over the course of 70+ years. A similar image can also be seen on the Triangle Garage website. I'm sure it's many years since an Austin 7 pulled up on that forecourt.

The engineer at work.

Two photographs survive showing the proprietor at work in his garage. The first shows him using a lathe and, if my eyes don't deceive me, he's working on a piston connecting rod, or rather the big-end bearing on a rod. This was at a time when many cars, for example Fords, had white metal bearings that had to be hand-scraped.
(Please click the thumbnail to view the full-size image.)
The engineer at work in his garage
The second photograph was captured at a different time, judging by Mr Welland's change in headgear. The modern garage is more likely to contain laptops and other plug-in diagnostic machines, and no doubt an assortment of Snap-On tool chests, but in the 1930s this is how a typical garage workbench would have looked. Lots of wooden-handled screwdrivers hanging in a rack, and old (probably Whitworth) spanners grouped on a wall board. It's fascinating to see how things have changed, in line with how cars themselves have developed from being little more than motorised carts, via developments such as the widespread use of monocoque bodyshells, to the electronics-laden cars of today.
Inside the vintage garage
My thanks once again to Jenny's family for making it possible to feature the garage on this site.

More memorabilia from this historic garage.

Other items of paperwork that were sourced from this garage will be added to the site over time. As items are added, they'll be included in the list below.
Avery-Hardoll forecourt petrol pumps. Two leaflets describing pumps on sale in the early 1950s have now been added to the site.
Breakdown wagon. Two great photos of a pre-war Ford breakdown wagon in use with the garage.
BSM Prep Driver. A driving tuition and reaction tester from the early 1950s.
Cengar Planisher. Handy air-operated body repair tool.
Ford Consul/Zephyr Six/Zodiac colours. Circa 1953 leaflet describing the colours available to Ford buyers.
Ford E93A Prefect drop-head coupe. Two photos from 1939 of a crashed E93A drop-head coupe at the garage.
Garage Ticket Book. A book records cars left at the garage between 1938 (Hillman) and 1942 (Delage).
Hillman Minx recovery. Entry 13 on this page, three photos of a crashed '38 Minx being recovered.
Lucas SW4 wiper motors. Service notes, added to the reference library section.
Lucas voltage control regulators. Service & adjustment notes, in the reference library section.
Metamet Jeep parts. Two catalogues of parts and conversions, 1951 and 1953.
Morris 8 fun. Memories of driving a Morris in a field as children.
Morris Oxford LA. Photo of a 1931 Oxford added to this page (entry #14).
Rover 8. Photograph added to this page (photo 6) of Mr Welland's tiny Rover.
Trojan three-door tourer. A modified Trojan competes in a trial.
Wallbutton Garage. Photo of an unusual car outside this Burnham-on-Sea garage.
Wolseley 16hp. 1933 16hp saloon car.
Wolseley taxi. 1923 Wolseley that belonged to Mr Welland.

Related pages on this site.

1. Visit the Motoring Collectables section to find papers relating to other garages, plus a host of ephemera with a motoring theme to it.
2. Return to page 17 of the vintage photo gallery section, to find more fascinating old photographs like these.
3. Examples of other old garages that survive to this day.

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