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Wootton

Lushington Garage 1933 Onwards

In 1933, Percy Harwood purchased from George Moody, a local farmer a corner plot of land measuring 70 feet by 200 feet for Seventy Pounds, also he purchased the site next to it measuring 60 feet x 200 feet for Sixty Pounds. Both these site were on Lushington Shute, later to be called Lushington Hill.

On the first site, which was a corner, was part of a disused gravel pit. Gravel had been extracted behind a hedge leaving a bank 12 foot high by 21 foot thick. Back then there were no bulldozers to shift such quantities of gravel material, this took 4 persons one year to remove and carry to the back of the site. After this time and a lot of hard work a garage was built measuring 50 feet by 30 feet. It cost Three hundred and twenty five Pounds. On the other site, a house and shop was built.

The garage was built in such a way that if it had not been successful it could be converted to two bungalows, the sewers were built into both halves and house type windows were fitted, two bay windows and door could be built where two big sliding doors. The house and shop that built on the other plot cost Seven hundred and fifty Pounds.

Picture of Lushington Garage c1955
Lushington Garage circa 1955

Lushington Garage started in July 1933. The garage was fitted with electric pumps; the first on the main road but the biggest problem was convincing customers that there was no need to drain the hoses as was that done with the petrol pumps.

Business in those early days included the sale of cycles, general car and motorcycles repairs and the running of a taxi service. The cycle shop was 12 feet by 12 feet and by 1955 the workshop was 50 feet by 30 feet.

At the outbreak of the Second World War the garage was taken over by the army. Several regiments operated there, The Jersey and the Black Watch were well remembered. After the war there was great activity reconditioning the old cars, new cars came very slowly, people having to wait two years for delivery.

Darley Dean Garage situated in Station Road, Wootton, opposite Gravel Pit Road. It was planned and built by Alfred Young a ticketed first engineer, who had spent most of his time as chief engineer of Guinness yacht, Phantom. During the war several cars were stored there we paid weekly. Percy then asked if he could pay quarterly, this was agreed and always three to four days before the quarter was due, he would call in and give me the bill, saying you will want this on quarter day. Years later, he agreed to sell the garage and so for £800, Darley Dean became an extension of Lushington Garage.

It was fitted out with a new lift, new jacks, compressor, tools, etc. Two fitters worked there, Sid Hendicott and Eric Deacon. At first it worked out very well but problems began to arise. Some customers would by-pass Lushington and go directly to Darley Dean and vice versa, in fact it became almost a separate entity.

So a new workshop was planned and built at the rear of Lushington Garage, on a piece of land behind the general stores belonging to the garage, for £50. Sid and Eric returned to the new workshop. Darley Dean became a reserve.

New cars in 1950s, we were supplying Fords but in 1953 we never had one, cars were on a two-year covenant and when sold two years later sold for more than they cost. In 1960 Stephen said, "We are going into the Common Market. So lets get a Continental car". So Renault was approached and in 1960 became Renault dealers. So six Renaults arrived. We had been used to getting one Ford a month. We also approached Singer and were accepted, so we now had Renault and Singer dealerships.

Picture of Lushington Garage today
Lushington Garage Today

Some time later Steels of Southampton who were Rover agents asked if we would like to sell Rovers. Yes we would. So now we were selling Ford, Renault, Singer and Rover. Later we gave up selling Ford and Rover, as Renault was becoming stronger. We now celebrate our Silver Anniversary with Renault in 1985.

The complete story can be read in Percy Harwood's book Just 3½ Miles on this website.

Source: Extracts from Just 3½ Miles. Memoirs of Percy Harwood

This page was last edited on: 4th March, 2015 06:16:49

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