Amersham
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Amersham's Garages

During the 20th century, the car had a major impact on society. Local garages sprang up in every town and village to provide petrol, repairs and to sell new and second hand cars. As the motor industry grew and cars became more reliable, garages have changed. Now they are very often part of large chains or at the very least a franchise or main dealer.  The development of super markets selling petrol has also caused a decline in petrol stations around the country and in Amersham the number of places that petrol can be bought has reduced over the years.  This has meant there are very few independent garages left.


Over the years Amersham has had many garages, many of which have now closed. The first petrol pump in Amersham was located at The Griffin, now the Ask Restaurant

I am grateful to Malcolm Flack for adding and reviewing much of the detail on this page.

Yesterday's Garages -
Although there may still be garages on the same sites today, here are a list of Amersham's old garages -
Autofarm - a specialist garage dealing with Porsche cars - took over the Station Garage site (see below)
Brannans - Dave Woodridge now from Perth, Australia remembers "I think it was called Brandons (actually Brannan - Malcolm Flack) and it was situated opposite the Old Millstream Hotel on London Road. I left school to work there in 1945, my first job, and although on the outside it may have just looked like an ordinary garage it was a different story inside. It was set up as a machine shop with lathes, drilling machines etc. This was all driven by a large electric motor situated on a side wall with over head pulleys drives. My first job was to work on a lathe and chamfer and cut off lengths of about 3/16 inch diameter mild steel. They had, presumably, still contracts to complete for the - Ministry of Defence? - and just to compare working weeks we worked 6 days a week from 8.00 am till, I'm not sure now but I think it was 6.00 pm. I remember being bored out of my cotton picking mind and left there and went to work at Marshals garage in New Amersham, but that's a different story. I'm retired now having lived in Tasmania from 1970 to 1997 and now live in Perth, Western Australia."
Brannans site was later acquired by Station Garages Ltd of Hill Avenue (Malcolm Flack).
B & M Motors – The Broadway - Old Amersham.  Established around the late 1950’s by two locals Jim Burrows and Bert Mason - hence B & M Motors.
The buildings in The Broadway formerly used during WWII by the Army and latterly by the Land Army together with another adjacent section used by the London Transport Bus Company as an overflow of their main building.  The building was the original garage of the Amersham Bus Company.  Soon the latest model of Austin cars appeared which became very popular with the local public at the time. A large Service and Spare Parts operation complemented a very prominent establishment. Subsequently Toyota, Renault and Kia cars were to be sold from this location.
B and M
B & M Motors Ltd c 1974
Curfew Garage - Chesham Road Amersham .(Near Boot & Slipper)  Operated as a filling station c. 1970-79  Now the site of a car wash.
Curfew Garage
Curfew Garage c 1975
Flacks - White Lion Road.  One f the earliest garages in Amersham.  Peugeot / Chrysler and before (according to an advertisement from the 1960s) Singer, Simca, Hillman & Commer and, Rootes Motor parts stockists  For a detailed look at the history of Flacks, see here

Flacks
Picture courtesy of Malcolm Flack
H Flack & Son Ltd - 1972
G K Ford - Previously G. Marshall & Sons – Woodside Road (two sites) and another site in Grimsdells Lane.  Subsequently traded under the name of Chiltern Ford.
One of the Woodside Road sites is now redeveloped as a Shell Fuel Station and alongside it The Stratstone Group selling Aston Martin cars.  (Malcolm Flack)
W Foster Ltd.. - Chesham Road - Morris, Wolseley and MG dealers This garage was located where there is now a Fiat & Alfa Romeo garage, opposite Dr. Challoners, next to the telephone exchange. The original building has been replaced by the new garage with flats above. The late Tony Rose was the sales manager at Fosters from 1963 - 1969 and told me "W.Foster Limited (then telephone Amersham 132 and 1298) was also known as "Fosters of Amersham". Run by William, Malcolm and Walter Edgar. Malcolm had Fosters in Chesham, on the High Street close to the now site of Sainsbury and was sold in about 1962 for £8500. Fosters was the ONLY garage in Amersham to sell Morris, Wolsley, Riley MG and Van Denplas. The showrooms and petrol (Shell and Jet) were on Chesham Road. The workshops at the back backed onto Hill Avenue."  Tony Powdrill has kindly provided the below pictures of Fosters
Fosters
Picture Courtessy of Mike Powdrill
Foster Garage in 1968
Fosters
Picture Courtessy of Mike Powdrill
Foster Garage in 1968
Fosters
Picture Courtessy of Mike Powdrill
Salesman Tony Rose at Fosters Garage
Fosters
Picture Courtessy of Mike Powdrill
Tony Rose outside Fosters Garage looking
towards oakfiled Corner

Fosters
Picture Courtessy of Mike Powdrill
Inside Fosters Garage
Hazell's Garage - This is the site formerly run by the late Reg Hazell selling Burmah Petrol and also used cars. It was subsequently demolished and redeveloped and a the Triangle Snooker Club was opened there. A further redevelopment took place and it then became a Fitness Club. Currently there is a Drive Through Car on the site.
Reg Hazell also owned and ran a used car site known as Deep Mill Filling Station – always was advertised as D.M.F.S.L.M.O.O.S. (Deep Mill Filling Station open on Sunday) on the left hand side of the A413 road from Amersham to Aylesbury at Little Missenden just before where the railway passes overhead.(Malcolm Flack)
Mamos Amersham - London Road West, Old Amersham - (Formerly also owned by Station Garages of Hill Avenue). Dealers for Leyland Cars - Jaguar, Daimler, Rover, Triumph, Austin and Morris.  Later on aquired by the Merritts Motor Group.  (Malcolm Flack)
Market Garage - The Broadway, old Amersham.  I believe this to be the garage that Adrian Partington now from Portsmouth remembers. He writes "I'm pretty certain there was a National Garage in Amersham Old Town up until the mid 1980s. This was a petrol filling station just opposite the bus garage (now closed - opposite where Tesco Petrol station is now) with a blue and yellow logo of a stylised Viking's helmet! It had truly ancient pumps with dials on them rather than the digital readouts of today, and a tiny kiosk where you paid and could buy things like chocolate bars off the sullen staff member there. Also see below about Townsend Garage.
G Marshalls Garage - Woodside Road –Showroom in Woodside Road (opposite Shaw's florist) plus Workshop at the rear with an entrance in Grimsdells Lane. At the junction of Shortway and Woodside Road there was the small stall selling cakes, known as M & M Café this then moved to the opposite side of the road. The former site was then developed in to a Petrol Site (where the Shell Filling Station is now )
They also had two sites, a Car Showroom, and a Workshop Facility in nearby Chesham.  (Malcolm Flack)
John Tooley, now from Delaware, U.S.A, also remembered the cake stall.
Marshalls
G. Marshalls Garage – Woodside Road c. 1972
Merritts Chrysler Jeep- Hill Avenue, Amersham, closed January 2003
Munn & Chapman- Station Approach, Little Chalfont.  Founded by the late Harry Munn Snr.  and  Mr.  Chapman.  Also one of the Oldest Garages in the area from around c.1921.  Were dealing in Austin, Vanden Plas and Wolseley.  British Motor Corporation later to become British Leyland absorbed the former marques.

Latter Munn & Chapman were appointed with the Volkswagen & Audi Franchise which brought a new way of motoring to the area. Later still still Audi broke away to be re established in White Lion Road Amersham Common at the former site of Evans Halshaw (previously - Flacks of Amersham)  (Malcolm Flack)


Munn and Capman
Munn and Chapman - Little Chalfont - c.1972

Roger Caton from Amersham recalls he began his career as a motor mechanic with the company when the Austin Motor Company introduced the Austin 7 Mini.  He saw many changes over the years and he has recently completed 50 years with the company having almost half these years with the Volkswagen range of vehicles.
Station Garage (A & C) - Hill Avenue.  A blue and white building opposite the station, where the brick office block is now. It had petrol pumps on Hill Avenue which were under a drive in roofed area. They dealt in Triumph, Leyland, Rover, Land Rover and Bedford as well as being a Vauxhall main dealer. They actually had 3 branches - Hill Avenue, London Road and Little Chalfont, where they were a Vauxhall & Bedford main dealer.
Barry Vincent, now from Rickmansworth remembers "Station Garages actually had 5 garages, they had another in Taplow which I think was a Bentley dealer I can't remember and another in Hazlemere, then of course Mamos brought Station Garages out an about 1975. I worked at Hill Avenue from 1965 until 1970 then I transferred to London Road, we had a great time at Hill Avenue along with a great working team. The workshop consisted of Don Miller (Workshop Manager) Elsie Shaw (Workshop Secretary) Ernie Holland (Foreman) Frank Davis (Lubrication Bay) Work Shop floor, Ron Gome, Mick Pearce, Peter Harding, Nick , Roy Fox, Graham Bennet, myself and not least Ashley Holt who left in 1968 to seek fame and fortune in a band called "The Reasons" but it did not happen for him at this time, but if you like music you will find Ashley eventually made it famous with The Rick Wakeman Band. The last person on the floor was my dad carrying out undersealing on new cars. The stores was run by Jack Harris (manager), along with Brian Cooley, Glen, Jack Goodyear (back counter) and Rita. Harry Miles worked the petrol pumps along with car cleaning, we had Tommy Hood, George Stanton (director) in car sales, Sheila and Pam in admin along with Ken company secretary. Norman Bishop was General Manager, and they also had a car hire facility and ran a taxi firm from the rear of the building, If I have missed anybody sorry." Barry is / was known to most people in Amersham as Benny, even now when he meets somebody who he used to work with they still call him Benny.

The above picture shows the end of Hill Avenue taken in 1979 - you can just about make out the old Station Garages building at the end


Picture Courtesy of Frank Philipson

Another view of Station Garages from 1971
Station Garage (A & C) Ltd – Station Approach – Little Chalfont  - Standard & Triumph originally later to be replaced by Vauxhall & Bedford Main dealer
This site was run under the direction of Stan Yerby and his brother Len was the Foreman in the Servicing area. (Malcolm Flack)
Station Garage
Station Garages (A & C ) Ltd – Little Chalfont   c. 1972
Station Garage
Station Garages (A & C ) Ltd c. 1972
Shaws Garage - White Lion Road. Barry Vincent, now from Rickmansworth adds "before it was Shaws it was White Lion Service Station back in the 60's, then it went to Shaws and of course now a BP site along with TJ motors which is run by Bill Turner who I also worked with at Blizzard Motors in Chorleywood in the early 70's god how time flies!"

Before White Lion Service Station it was known as White Lion Garage. This was owned by a local family. Believed to be Laurie Bedford.  They provided General Garage Servicing and with Petrol pumps. Upon his retirement it was bought by John Grout (formerly of Brown & Grout Coaches, Waterside, Chesham.)  (Malcolm Flack)
Shaws
Shaws Garages  c. 1974
W I Townsend of Amersham Ltd. - The Broadway, Old Amersham. (Opposite the old London Transport Bus Garage / Tesco petrol Station)  Thought to be another one of the earliest garages in the area. Founded  c.1923 by the late W. I Townsend. Another family business built up over the years. His two sons, Les and Reg, were soon to become very expert Motor Engineers.  Some while later in the mid sixties his grandson John came in to the workshops making the team complete.  A feature in the workshop in those very early days was a Gas Engine that drove all the machinery needed to keep the cars in good order under the brothers watchful eye for perfection. They were appointed as a local Morris Dealer, later becoming a Hillman dealership as part of Rootes Group for Sales and Service which offered for immediate delivery cars such as the Hillman Imp in 1967 for £575.  After Les and his brother Reg’s retirement the business came under new ownership and began trading as Market Garage Ltd.  (Malcolm Flack)

Market Garage
Market Garage Ltd.  c. 1972


Pete Wood, now from Southern California, remembers that his mother worked at Townsend as a book keeper after the war and until it closed. She told Pete about the ancient machine shop there which was driven by a large single cylinder gas engine with line shafting and leather flat belts to drive the individual machines. Part of the workshop even had an earth floor!

Pete Wood remembers "the garage was in the Old Town directly opposite the London Transport bus garage and adjacent to the water company's pumping station. The 2 petrol pumps were also very antiquated, dating back to the thirties. To operate them one turned a hand crank to fill a 5 gallon glass tank above the pump with the required quantity and the delivery pipe was then swung out over the pavement. A rubber hose with a nozzle hung from this arm and the petrol was gravity fed from the glass tank into the motorists vehicle. Les Townsend then handed you the hand written bill! Needless to say, the whole process took much longer than it does today with electric, digital pumps that also show the price. Back then, life moved at a much less frenetic pace."

Information provided by Sue Brigden indicates there was also a site of Townsend in Hill Avenue with a branch in the Old Town.  Following an appeal in the Amersham Village Voice Column of the Bucks Examiner in February 2003, a correspondent reported Townsend Garage stood in London Road opposite B&M Motors, it then moved up to Hill Avenue.
Townsend
Townsend of Amersham Ltd  - Hill Avenue   c. 1972


Carol Marshall from Little Chalfont can confirm that Townsend and Market were in fact the same garage, Market garage existed on the Townsend garage site. Carol's husband worked there from leaving school in 1980 till its closure, which we think was around 1981/2.
On the Road from Amersham to Missenden close to the railway bridge used to be Deep Mill Garage.  I am grateful to David Roberts now from the Isle of Skye for the following -

"My father worked at Deep Mill Garage in the early sixties. Firstly he worked for Bob Henderson, an ex RAF officer who had married about five times and managed to stay on good terms with all his exes, thereafter he managed the place for another ex-RAF man, Air Vice Marshall Harcourt-Smith.

Deep Mill Garage
Deep Mill Garage Picture Courtesy & Copyright David Richards

He eventually bought the lease from Regent, the oil company and operated the place for some years. It was not a roaring financial success!

On the south side, now derelict, there was a workshop and spray shop, used car sales and storage. At the rear there was an office converted from an old army caravan. A bungalow at the back of the premises provided accommodation for a member of staff and about 100 yards from the garage on the south side of the A413, towards Amersham, there were two semi-detached houses which also provided for staff members. They had a wild Alsatian guard dog called Bruce.
 
Deep Mill Garage
Deep Mill Garage Picture Courtesy & Copyright David Richards


The photographs are of the old garage before the rebuild in the 1970s, with my father stood in front of the ‘bargains’ that were for sale.
 
I was told that when telephone lines and other services needed to be connected to the north side garage the council required an enormous amount of money to close the road and dig it up to lay pipes and cables etc. Well, after a days work my Dad happened to be in the Royal Oak pub (now the Deep Mill Diner) and met two Irish chaps, a father and son, they were tunnel diggers and had just completed a job in London. He explained his requirements and the following day they commenced digging. One from the north side and the other from the south. How on earth (well under it actually) they managed to meet in the middle under the A413 God only knows, but they did and telephone lines and new services, pipes etc. were installed, thus saving a fortune – cash being king!"

Deep Mill Garage
Deep Mill Garage Picture Courtesy & Copyright David Richards

The above buildings were on the north of the A413, opposite where the Deep Mill Diner is now.  There were also buildings on the south side by what was then the Royal Oak Pub.

Deep Mill Garage Staff
Deep Mill Garage Picture Courtesy & Copyright David Richards

The staff at Deep Mill Garage with David Robert's farther Rob far right and Tim Bupett far left.  Does anyone know the others?

 


If anyone has any further details about garages, current or past, particularly what the old garages actually did (e.g. new cars, repairs etc.) please email me

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