Fourth article in a series about Strathbungo’s motor garages.
The Regent Park Motor Garage was founded in the earliest days of motoring and survived for nearly seventy years, and yet information is limited, photos extremely rare, and it has left almost no trace.
The garage was opposite Fenwick’s on Nithsdale Street. The early history of this plot of land is described in the recent post about 2 Nithsdale Street and Duncan Brown’s photograph of Robert Bryce’s plumbing business.
Bryce’s building was taken down around 1899, and a planning application was submitted that year to open a shopfront in the end gable of the adjacent tenement, and extend the shop over the railway line where it passes under Nithsdale Street.
The shop over the railway no longer exists, but the shopfront in the tenement gable wall lives on as Glasgow Photo Express, minus the door. Even the little flourish added to the plans high up on the chimney breast can still be seen.
Regent Park Motor Garage Company
The company was founded in 1903 by Thomas Smith Murray and James Hay Wilson. Their garage was at 6-12 Nithsdale Street; this included the new shop over the railway, and buildings on the corner of March Street.
In 1907 Thomas Smith Murray retired and when the business was briefly advertised for sale in The Scotsman in 1908 it had expanded across the road to include 39 Nithsdale Street .
The SUBSCRIBERS invite OFFERS for the BUSINESS carried on under the name of THE REGENT PARK MOTOR GARAGE COMPANY, 39 Nithsdale Street, Glasgow. The Company has done a considerable trade in buying and selling Motor Cars and also in repair work, and has at present about £200 of repair work on hand.
It appears however that James Hay Wilson eventually continued in business alone. That year he was advertising some varied and obscure cars, including the French Gregoire and the Nordenfelt .
In 1911 the garage was extended with a new building on the corner of March Street.
James Hay Wilson and the law
In 1911 James was involved in a serious collision when another car pulled out in from of him from the Helensburgh Road at Arden near Luss. The cars were damaged almost beyond repair, and his female passenger was injured and taken to hospital .
One wonders however if James’ speed was major factor – he had already been fined £10 for dangerous driving on the Helensburgh Road in 1906 .
He also found himself in trouble in 1912 for manhandling a Customs & Excise inspector who wanted to check his motor spirit stock book , and in 1919 he was fined 20s for driving without a valid licence in Market Square, Reigate, in Surrey. His licence had expired over 6 months earlier .
James was resident at 49 Regent Park Square in 1930. The business was still advertising in the paper up to 1953, and only disappeared from the PO Directory in 1972.
The site was cleared and replaced with the modern flats on March Street in 2008. The building supports that extended over the railway are now hidden by an advertising hording. The unroofed buildings can be seen in this aerial shot from Bing c 2008.
Photographs of the garage have proved elusive, just a couple of shots taken of something else which catch the buildings in the corner of the frame.
Additions and corrections are welcome.