Tuesday, 28 October 2008

Beer & Bibles

Knowing my predilictions, a friend lends me his copy of this postcard. The original owner is the last man in Leicestershire making proper old-fashioned mattresses, and as a boy helped dig the tank pit for the new-fangled petrol pump on the left. Apparently the landlord of The Crown in Theddingworth, George Smith, was told by a regular that he ought to be selling fuel "As there's no pump between Market Harborough and Husbands Bosworth" and paid for its installation, presumably for a cut of the ensuing profits. We reckon the safest, albeit vague, bet for a date is pre-war. But what a host of detail is in here. The petrol is Regent Super (with an added 'British'), the car is an early Leicestershire registration, and the beer is NBC. That's the Northampton Brewery Company, who took over the other firm on the sign, Market Harborough brewers Edey & Dulley. In an attempt to ensure their rightful place in heaven, Dulley's also provided the wherewithal to build the Wellingborough Strict Baptist Tabernacle where my grandfather was inducted as pastor in 1909. The local jibe that the chapel was built on beer barrels was ignored and never spoken about by his congregation or offspring. Except by my mother who thought it was very funny, considering everyone she knew as a child was not only teetotal but got very excited by the thought of a comforting bedtime Bournvita.

18 comments:

Toby Savage said...

Lovely Peter. I could easily imagine slipping in there and saying 'Pint please George.... How's your day been?' Regent were bought by Texaco. I know this well as I worked in the local petrol station whilst doing my 'O' levels in 1066. We were a 'Regent' Station at the time of the takeover. I got a free Tee shirt!

Peter Ashley said...

Have you still got the T-Shirt Toby? Does it say Regent or Texaco? If the latter, I would like to photograph it next to my Dinky Supertoys tanker. But it isn't is it?

Mrs Pouncer said...

Mr Ashley, I am charmed beyond all human understanding by this post, and I shall delve deeper into your archive when I have the time to do it justice. Should you visit me, I fear you will find my reminiscences too rackety for your tastes, for my backstory (although it begins tidily enough in a Thameside village) ricochets out of control. You will have to be brave. Brace up. Best wishes from the Thames Valley, Clarissa Pouncer

Philip Wilkinson said...

Absolutely classic. Great to see the roadside pump with its old brand name: most evocative. And I like an old postcard now and then. Indeed if the price of this modern petrol we use now doesn't go down a bit more I'll be blogging from old postcards all the time.

A F-A said...

And the car is a...........???

Fred Fibonacci said...

Been trying to figure out what the car is but very few clues. A Singer perhaps?

Jon Dudley said...

I do like a nice little filling station...especially if it sells beer too. Not many clues as to the car's identity, although some expert on petrol tank slatting and rear nearside bodywork no doubt exists out there in cyberland. Our Regent station was manned by an elderly gent who wore a white(ish) coat and a sort of bus conductors' hat with a Regent badge attached, that, coupled to an embroidered breast pocket logo made up a very corporate brand look. At least nineteen pens and pencils (held in place with those chrome springy things) in the top pocket with which to laboriously scribble receipts on Regent - headed notepads.

Peter Ashley said...

I'm afraid I don't know where to start with identifying the car. Perhaps I'll hawk the photograpoh around Theddingworth, pointing at it to elderly blokes like you would for a missing person.

And, do we think 'Regent' should be adopted as the petrol of choice in Unmitigated England?

Jon Dudley said...

No, it has to be Pratts Racing Ethyl!

Fred Fibonacci said...

I remember cycling to every filling station for miles in search of a Regent promotional, or 'souvenir' kite, sometime in the late 60s. I got one in the end. It flew very well, which was a relief.

I'll forswear doing a gag about prats racing Ethel, not wanting to diminish your excellent suggestion Jon. One must be so careful not to cause offence in these sensitive times. (Cue outrage: just how insensitive must one be to imagine that slagging off a well-liked and blameless 78 year old actor and his grand-daughter on-air is NOT going to cause offence and, furthermore, provide the anti-Beeb lobby with ammo for months to come. Pay attention 007)

Peter Ashley said...

I have so much to say about what I think about these two so-called 'entertainers', but fear there is not enough space in my blog memory.

A F-A said...

I think the fuel of choice should be National Benzole. No less a person than Jennifer Lopez has always claimed that there was nothing like the smell of Benzole.

Jon Dudley said...

Blimey Fred, I gave you the opening...since when have you been so coy?

In all this 'comedy' business one cannot fail to get the impression that the main protagonists definitely feel that they are above and beyond the reach of any sort of control...why? because they're paid so much bleedin' money. Fortunately I am old enough to remember Derek and Clive whose offerings make these two look like rank amateurs.

Joos de Littlemore said...

Did your lobsters come from Jayne Mansfield's..........?

Vinogirl said...

Fred, my dad got me a promotional kite from a petrol station (in the late sixties) but I cannot remember which one. It was yellow plastic with a blue logo. Being a small kid that's all I can remember, except for the chicken bones my grandad tied to it for weights as we flew it on Exmoor.

Peter Ashley said...

That'll be National, Vinogirl. Same people that thought it a good idea to do Smurfs.

How about we do a vote on the Unmitigated England petrol? I'll stick with Regent, but do have a distinct leaning towards National Benzole, which has had many walk-on parts in the books. Actually, my final vote: National Benzole.

Diplomat said...

only just taken in the very cute brickwork to the porch - marvelous, carry on.

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