The purpose of this Blog

This blog is to detail my 43 years (1973 - 2016) with a 1928 Chevrolet tourer, affectionately called "The Red Chev".

The acquisition, restoration, improvements and my experiences over the years are covered in as much detail as I can remember.

Some of the later postings include car club outings and other vintage car items that I hope will be of interest to people.

If you have the time, scroll back to where it all began in 1973 and follow the journey so far.

Thanks for dropping by.

Regards Ray Dean

See my new section "The Red Chev - Repairs, Improvements, Maintenance and Technical Details" located on the left hand side of the screen.


Tuesday, May 14, 2013

A Little piece of England

From the site of

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.

The following photograph was taken in 2012. 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 appears to occupy 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 building's name is now "Triangle Garage", and mainly foreign-built cars are outside it. Triangle Garage, as it is now known

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. 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


No comments:

Post a Comment