Britain’s first petrol station, Watford Gap, has reached a junction – after plans to demolish it were unveiled.
As the country’s oldest and most famous gas station prepares to hit the brakes to make way for a replacement, Lee Price reveals some fascinating facts about gas stations.
1) Known as the Blue Boar, the services were attended by a who’s who of the music industry, as touring bands regularly refueled at the Gateway to the North – including the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, Dusty Springfield, Cliff Richard and Pink Floyd as a meeting point .
US rock legend Jimi Hendrix had heard so much about the Blue Boar from friends that he assumed it was a popular London nightclub.
Watford Gap actually has nothing to do with the big city of Herts.
The services are instead named after a small village of the same name in Northants.
2) HMS Belfast’s forward-facing guns are permanently trained on the London Gateway petrol station in Scratchwood, north London.
This is no coincidence.
When the Belfast was retired into museum use, naval chiefs decided that her armament should demonstrate the range of the ship’s armament and chose the access point to the capital as the target.
3) ONE of the most unique petrol stations is Tebay on the M6, whose northbound location was deliberately chosen to provide the best views over the Lake District.
There is also a duck pond and the farm shops were opened by King Charles in 2003.
4) The country’s only fully licensed pub with a petrol station is located near Beaconsfield, Bucks, on junction two of the M40.
The Hope And Champion liquor vending machine opened in 2014 to some controversy and continues to serve customers seven days a week between 7 a.m. and 10 p.m.
5) DURING the petrol station boom of the Sixties, Leicester Forest East became a glamorous, must-visit spot – for its waiters in sailor suits and a pianist playing a small grand piano.
However, the jewel of the venue was the restaurant on the bridge over the M1, so guests could watch the traffic flow past while they ate.
6) SALTASH Services in Cornwall offered motorists a place to refuel, eat and, er, drop off the kids.
In 2001, it was the only gas station in the country to have its own nursery.
7) LANCASTER Services once boasted the highest-rated restaurant in the country.
Literally – because the main restaurant was housed in a 65-foot-tall tower.
The landmark was closed in 1989, but is now a listed building.
8th) TROWELL services on the M1 in Nottinghamshire opened in 1967 with a unique Sherwood Forest theme.
Security guards wore Robin Hood hats and there was a cafe called Marion’s Pantry.
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9) IN THE 1980s, the Travelodge in Toddington, Beds, offered a “power nap” scheme where a tired traveler could rent a room for three hours, including coffee, for just £5.
Nowadays you have to register for the night.