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Homepage. This page: Graf Zeppelin LZ127 flying slowly over R.T. Cullen's garage in Kent, plus other pics of these premises.

Graf Zeppelin over a 1930's garage in England.

As well as motoring photographs, Alan also sent me some superb pictures that were taken by his father in the 1930s, showing various airships over the skies of Britain in the late 1930s, prior to the outbreak of WW2. This one is particularly interesting, as it not only shows a Zeppelin slowly rumbling over the Kent population, but also a garage full of old petrol pumps, and related signs and pump globes.
The Graf Zeppelin airship

More information on this airship photograph.

Alan says that the photograph was taken above Godwin Road, in the Cliftonville area of Margate in Kent. Airships, whether British R100s or German Zeppelins, were not uncommon sights in the late 1930s, and I'm really grateful to Alan for emailing this picture over. I've since found out that this airship was registered LZ 127, making it the Graf Zeppelin, which first flew in 1928 and continued in service until 1937. The garage looks interesting too - note the petrol pump globes advertising motor spirit brands such as National Benzole, ACME, and Dominion (a 1920s brochure featuring petrol pumps made by the Bowser Company can be seen here). It must have looked great when the pumps were illuminated at night, although a few years later, during the blackout, there would be no illuminated pump globes in use.

The Wikipedia site has a very interesting write-up on the development and service life of the Graf Zeppelin (link).

Update on the Zeppelin photograph shown above.

Early in 2010 Dennis dropped me a line, after stumbling across this page on the site. Amazingly he also has a copy of this photo, and was able to confirm the airship's identity. In addition to this image, he also kindly emailed over some new photos that show R.T. Cullen's garage in more detail....
"I came across your excellent website and was astounded to see the photo of the Zeppelin, because I have a copy! I used to work for an electrical contractor in Cliftonville. Our workshop and stores were at 49 Sweyn Road. One day my boss came in with three old postcard-sized photos that he'd borrowed, and knowing that I dabbled in photography, asked if I could copy them in some way (no scanners in those days!). The photos were of our workshop which had previously been a garage. My workbench was over the boarded up pit. I simply took some close-ups of them and made enlargements. On the back of the Zeppelin picture was the inscription LZ 127 "Graf Zeppelin" about 1929-1930. 100.1 ft Diameter 776.2 ft Length. Sweyn Road is one block away from Godwin Road."
Thanks for sending them over Dennis! The first of the photos confirms the business' name: R. T Cullen Garage, and if the small signs in the background are anything to go by, they were - amongst other things - servicers or agents for Ariel motorcycles. The sign for BP encourages passing motorists to fill up with their motor spirit - "Use British Petrol" the sign says, with a smaller note pointing out where the BP refinery was located.
(Please click the thumbnails to view full-size images.)
R.T. Cullen garage in Kent
The second of Dennis' photos shows a gent stood in front of the servicing bay, perhaps Mr Cullen himself. To the right is a vintage motorcycle, with a Mobiloil dispenser in the background. To our left is a vintage tourer, registration XU 1624 - the XU series ran from June to October 1924 only.
An owner stood outside a vintage car garage
Back to Car Photographs Page 3.

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