The days when Melton had 20 car repair garages in the town centre

BY TREV STOKES

Thursday, 15th July 2021, 1:25 pm
Updated Friday, 23rd July 2021, 11:02 am
Ian Williamson at Wilson's Garage in Melton, shortly before it closed in July 2017 EMN-210715-131313001
Ian Williamson at Wilson's Garage in Melton, shortly before it closed in July 2017 EMN-210715-131313001

It is remarkable to think we used to have more than 20 car repair garages in Melton back in the 1960s and ‘70s.

There were far fewer vehicles on the road back then so it begs the question why we needed so many mechanics within walking distance of Market Place?

I worked in the industry myself, at some of the establishments I will now talk about, and we were certainly very busy back then.

Ian Williamson at Wilson's Garage in Melton, which closed in July 2017 EMN-210715-131323001

Let’s start in Burton Street, where we had the Midland Garage, who were agents for the Rootes Group, and a good friend of mine, Ray Thompson,

worked as a mechanic.

Almost opposite was the Melton Garage, agents for Austin and Morris vehicles.

Just over the road in Mill Street was Jess Tinklers, who catered for the Fiat fans.

If you fancied a Vauxhall, then Parke House Garage on Thorpe End was your venue.

A well respected gent by the name of Griff, was their top man.

On to very narrow Leicester Street, which was still two-way traffic, with, I seem to remember lots of BRS wagons, going up and down most of the day,

and the premises of Barnard’s Garage, who sold the Standard/Triumph marque.

I worked there for a couple of years, along with Harry Wright and Harry Hurst.

A couple of years later their top mechanic was another mate, Mick French.

Back to Mill Street and there was Wilson’s Garage, later taken over by Meltonian Ian Williamson.

There was also a garage in Rutland Street, while Skodas were represented by Victoria Street Garage.

The Volkswagen agents were Leicester Road Garage, and I also worked there as a mechanic, with customers coming from far and wide to get their cars

repaired.

Whilst there I can remember that four gallons of National petrol plus four shots of Redex, cost 19 shillings and 10 pence.

Sharmans started in Sherrard Street, mainly selling tractors, agricultural implements, etc.

My uncle Mick Charles was a mechanic/driver along with Harry Wright.

They later moved to Wilton Road/High Street, that was formerly the premises of Garners Garage, and had the Ford franchise.

My brother, Neil stokes was their parts delivery driver, and another great friend Robert Wright, served his apprenticeship there.

Motorcycles were also well to the fore with Len Manchesters, selling Triumph and BSA bikes, again in Burton Street.

We also had Melton Motor Cycles who operated out of Beebys Yard on the same road.

On High Street, where, the Conservative offices are located now, was a used car outlet, called Peter Weaver Cars, which was a specialist for the more

sportier types, and later the shop was taken over and run by Jock Ellis, who sold more affordable models.

Another used car dealership was Days Motors on Thorpe End.

We also had a host of semi-private garages, comprising, the Post Office Garage on Roseberry Avenue, Melton Farmers Garage on Chippy Dixons road,

the Woodyard Garage, Snow Hill, where pal Mick French was on the spanners, and my uncle Bill Charles was a driver.

British Road Services Garage was located at Lake Terrace repairing loads of big wagons.

The Co-op Garage in King street (another place of work for me, along with school mate Vic Percival) looked after a myriad of vehicles, from a

Mini Pickup to an eight-wheeler Albion bulk coal wagon, plus a Landrover breakdown truck.

Again another mate, Ivan Thompson was employed on a mobile butcher shop, supplying outlying villages.

My foreman was Pete Reynolds, and his brother John was manager at Marshams Tyres and Paints, again on Burton street.

Last, but definitely least, who can forget Bartons Bus Garage, located on the Wilton road roundabout.

Anyone interested in viewing some of these lovely old cars is advised to pop along to the Market place, on the first Sunday of the month, for a very good classic car show, organised another good mate, Eric Brown.

****Trev Stokes was born at the Mill House in Asfordby in 1943, lived most of his life in the Melton area and now lives in Thurmaston.

****You can email Trev at [email protected] if there any inaccuracies with his recollections of Melton garages.