The Garage


Ullenhall Garage stood opposite the Winged Spur on the site now called ‘Meadow Rise’. Originally there was a cottage which, in the 1920s, housed a fish and chip shop.

The cottage was bought by Mr Morgan in 1934 and he started his business, Sunnyside Electrics. The main business was battery charging. It also had two petrol pumps.

In 1950 Jim Lewis, in partnership with his brother-in-law, Selwyn Harris bought Sunnyside Garage. The adjoining cottage was occupied by Selwyn. This was demolished and they converted the small commercial business into a well-equipped garage, complete with showroom, with only one wall of the old premises remaining.

They built up the business into a Ford dealership but, sadly, Selwyn died seven years later. Jim continued on his own until he was joined by his brother, Martin, in 1964. When Jim Lewis retired in 1970, Martin took over the Dog Hill Service Station in Mappleborough Green.

Jim Lewis, and his wife Celia lived in the bungalow ‘Springfield’ at the top of Watery Lane. Martin and his wife, May, lived in the adjacent bungalow. Both these have since been demolished and replaced with houses.

When Mr Lewis retired in 1970 the garage was sold to Brooklyn Garage of Redditch.

It has also been known as Derek Mathers Garage Ltd., and in the 1980s became a Ford Retail dealer, with an open plan showroom, “specialising in cars like the new Escort, Fiesta and Cortina”.

On the night of 18th February 1985 a fire badly damaged the garage premises.

Neighbouring residents who saw the flames at about 11.00pm and heard loud reports as drums of anti-freeze exploded, alerted the fire brigade who were quickly on the scene. Access was a problem as the fire had started in the stores at the side of the workshop and the only approach was through the school gates. But the Henley appliance was reinforced by one from Studley and the fire was quickly got under control, although it was 3.00am before the firemen finally left. They had been unable to save the stores, seat of the fire, and office and the roof over them collapsed. . . . As it was the whole stock of anti-freeze, tyres and automotive spares was lost and office equipment destroyed. But the firemen were able to prevent the flames reaching the workshop – although a burning door leading to the storeroom fell on a car which was badly damaged – and the showroom. Damage to the roof was limited to stores and office” (Ullenhall News – April 1985)

Despite the fire it was business as usual the following day. However in 1987 the owners decided to move the business to Henley, the garage closed and the land was sold for redevelopment.