The time when Melton had 20 auto repair garages in the city center

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 that we had over 20 auto repair garages in Melton in the 1960s and 1970s.

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

I’ve worked in the industry myself, in some of the establishments I’m going to talk about now, 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 with Burton Street, where we had the Midland Garage, who were Rootes Group agents, and a good friend of mine, Ray Thompson,

Almost opposite was the Melton garage, Austin and Morris vehicle agents.

Just across the street in Mill Street was Jess Tinklers, who looked after Fiat fans.

If you fancy a Vauxhall then Parke House Garage on Thorpe End was your meeting place.

A well-respected man named Griff was their best man.

On the very narrow Leicester street, which was still a two-way street, with, I think I remember many BRS cars, going up and down most of the day,

and the premises of Barnard’s Garage, which sold the Standard / Triumph brand.

I worked there for a few years, with Harry Wright and Harry Hurst.

A few years later, their best mechanic was another journeyman, Mick French.

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

There was also a garage in Rutland Street, while the 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 collect their cars.

While I was there I remember that four gallons of National gasoline plus four shots of Redex cost 19 shillings and 10 pence.

Sharmans started out on Sherrard Street, mainly selling tractors, farm implements, etc.

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

They then moved to Wilton Road / High Street, which was once 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, apprenticed there.

Motorcycles were also in the foreground with Len Manchesters, selling Triumph and BSA bikes, still on Burton Street.

We also had Melton Motor Cycles operating out of Beebys Yard on the same route.

On the High Street, where the Conservatives are now located, was a used car store, called Peter Weaver Cars, which was a specialist in most

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

Days Motors in Thorpe End was another used car dealership.

We also had a plethora of semi-private garages, including the Post Office Garage on Roseberry Avenue, Melton Farmers Garage on Chippy Dixons Road,

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

British Road Services Garage was located in Lake Terrace repairing loads of large cars.

The King Street Cooperative Garage (another place of work for me, along with my schoolmate Vic Percival) tended to a myriad of vehicles, a

Mini Pickup to an eight wheel Albion bulk coal wagon, plus a Landrover tow truck.

Yet another journeyman, Ivan Thompson was employed in a mobile butcher’s shop, supplying outlying villages.

My foreman was Pete Reynolds, and his brother John was a manager at Marshams Tires and Paints, still on Burton Street.

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

Anyone interested in seeing some of these beautiful vintage cars is advised to head to the market square on the first Sunday of the month for a great vintage car show, hosted by another good pal, Eric Brown.

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

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

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Sylvia F. Hernandez

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