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Britain's oldest working petrol pumps

Started by david@london, April 03, 2020, 06:31:44 PM

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Daily Mail article from 2009:

Pictured : Britain's oldest petrol pumps still in service after more than 50 years

Some days Bernard White feels as rusty as the petrol pumps in his garage forecourt.

But as the 65-year-old mechanic points out, it takes a lot of effort to keep a little bit of motoring history running smoothly.

The petrol pumps, thought to be the oldest working set in the country, have stood on the forecourt of the Laurel garage in Ramsbury, Wiltshire, since the early 1950s.

Mr White has fought off the rise of supermarket stations, changes to the shape of car petrol tanks and even encroaching EU regulations to keep his vintage pumps working.

'Strangers do not realise they are still operational,' he said.

'The site looks a bit long in the tooth so they are surprised to discover we are still selling petrol.'
Fuel at his garage will set you back £1.21 a litre (£5.53 per gallon) which is slightly more expensive than normal because of the garage's remote location.

The Avery Hardoll pumps are limited to counting a maximum of just 20 gallons at a time. After that
the gallon counter dial goes back to zero.

While the pumps run off electric motors  -  just like modern- day pumps  -  the face resembles a clock with hands telling the motorist how much fuel is being pumped.

The nozzles have been specially adapted to fit modern cars while seals around the hose have been replaced to prevent leaks.

And the pumps survived the imperial measure clampdown when the EU tried to enforce metric- only labelling on all sellable goods.

Mr White, who lives with his 86-year-old mother May in the bungalow opposite the garage, is desperately searching for spare parts to keep the pumps going.

Business has been gradually dropping over the years.

'We used to get the pumps filled once every few months, now it is getting less and less,' he said. 'We
have about ten customers a week. Some are just passing by but others are regulars because they like using the pumps.

'I will keep going as long as I can. We have no intention of stopping at the moment even though we don't make much money on petrol sales.'

The evocative pictures were taken by photographer Clare Kendall who has spent ten years documenting vintage petrol stations across Britain.

'I've been all over the country and these are definitely the oldest pumps I've come across that are still actually in use,' she said.