Wednesday, January 13, 2021

It's unusual to see a gas station on the side of a main street, where cars didn't have to leave the street... just pull to the curb. It's also unusual to see a nun getting gas. Here is High St, in Alton, in Hampshire, England!

Tony says:

The Swan Hotel on the left of dead center in the above photo Steve sent (You can see the carving of a swan just below roof height) 

is now the grey building hidden by a tree (still the Swan Hotel). The petrol pumps would have been about where the opticians now stands.

 Naturally the town centre has been bypassed, you can imagine what state the traffic would be in when you see how congested it was about 60 years ago.

 9 million vehicles registered in 1960, nearly 39 million today, though interestingly what came up while I was looking for the figures: 7,000 road fatalities in 1960, 1,800 in 2016.

]thanks Steve! Thanks Tony!


  1. that is one uncommon concept of ... service with a smile. It looks UK or European by the plates... and the tanker truck hauling "Guinness" ( I hope..) also aren't they driving on the "wrong side" ?

    1. I think it's England, there's a Commer, and a Jag, and that Guinness rig is a Thornycroft I think... and the license plates look British

    2. Wrong side indeed....

      Driving on the right was introduced into law in the U.S and France in 1792.
      It would seem those who opposed the British felt a need to do the opposite.

      Typical of those shit stirring subversive patriots.

  2. Easy to tell it's the Uk, they are driving on the left and the plates are English. That nun isn't getting gas though, She is preying her lucas electrics will last to the end of her journey lol.

    1. Ha!... possibly praying for Devine intervention over the prince of darkness.

  3. It is most definitely England. The nun's vehicle looks like a Standard Companion or maybe a Standard Ten. I used to own a Standard Pennant from 1958 which was a saloon version.

  4. As you know Jesse, I'm not one for detail...

    In Ye Olde times, a "coach house" offered lodgings for travelers and stabling for your horse.
    Out front would have been a water trough for their refreshment and a sitting room for a glass of Ale.

    As a result of transport evolution, these premises often evolved into the service of motorized transport.

    The opticians building has no access to the rear where the stables and tac rooms would be.
    Therefor the site of the "Garage" should be where the Food Co-Operative building now stands.

    Settled by the English in the 1800's, Tasmania has many unmolested buildings of this era.
    Here is a "Coach House" compound with the horse trough still in place.
    This trough was hand "picked" from a solid lump of stone by convict labor.

    1. Built to last forever! Wow! Thanks!

    2. You make a very good point.
      Looking at the original picture again, I think you're right. The pic as first posted on the Commervanfan forum Has a bit more detail at the sides which lines up better with the Co-op building.
      I spent ages looking at pics of Alton High Street on the net (it's amazing how you can get sucked in) but couldn't find one which showed the garage in the day.
      Small side note. I spent my childhood years at a boarding school at the other Alton in Staffordshire, in a castle, on a cliff; look up Alton Castle if you're interested.

    3. Hi again Burkey/Jesse.
      Bingo! I had a look for pctures of the Swan, thinking it might have been a coaching house to illustrate your point. Nothing very clear there, but I found one that shows what I think must be the motor agent's premises.
      The Swan is the hotel on the right. You can see the swan sign at the end of the building, and note the word 'Garage' below it, suggesting that the Swan was a coaching house with the coach entrance down the gap at the end, now converted for cars.
      Up the street on the left you can see the light coloured building with 2 doors, almost certainly the present day opticians, beyond that is a wide entrance, most likely our motor agent. I'm not sure it was a coaching house, plenty of business premises had their own small stable/coach house with appropriate entrance. I can't make out any detail in the picture, but it could easily have been a dairy, butchers, furniture company etc.
      As you suggest for Tasmania, we still have plenty of premises with attached stables and coach houses, now repurposed. Hotels are particularly common as they tend to maintain their traditional appearance on marketing grounds.