Regent Park Motor Garage Company

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.

Sepia photo of advertising hoardings and buildings at mouth of Nithsdale Street

Junction of Pollokshaws Road and Nithsdale Street c 1895 by Duncan Brown. Robert Bryce’s plumbing business abuts the tenement gable end on the right. Source: Glasgow School of Art Archives

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.

Composite of existing (left) and proposed (right) elevations for the tenement at Pollokshaws Road and Nithsdale Street, 1899. Note the additional detail on the chimney breast, which is still visible. Source: Glasgow City Archives

Includes plan of shop, roof structure, and the supporting grid of iron beams over the railway to support it, including smoke deflecting hoods.

Plan of the shop, and detail of the supporting iron structure built out over the railway, 1899. Source: GCA

OS 1893 map shows Robert Bryce’s plumbing workshop and Elizabeth MacPherson’s house (red asterisks) near the junction of Nithsdale Street and Pollokshaws Road, which were demolished, and the green outline of the new shop built out over the railway. Source: NLS Maps

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.

OS map showing commercial buildings on Nithsdale Street

OS Map of Nithsdale St, 1951. The garage is marked ‘Garage 12’ on the north side of Nithsdale Street. Source: NLS

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.

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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.

Regent Park Motor G.arage. List of cars for sale, such as 1950 Ford Prefect, 1939 Wolseley 14 Saloon. Est 1903.

Advert, Glasgow Herald 10 Apr 1953. Source: Google News

21st Century

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.

Arial photo showing walls outlining the site onthe corner of March street

Site of 6-12 Nithsdale Street, roofless before demolition, 2008. Source: Bing Maps

Modern flats and an advertising hoarding on the site of the former Regent Park Motor Garage, from Google Street View 2022.

View of the site in 2022. The Cathcart Circle line runs under the advertising hoarding and road. Source: Google Streetview

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.

Blurry view of a single storey building with glass frontage over the railway line.

6 Nithsdale Street sat on the bridge over the railway line, seen here in a later incarnation as TW Auto Electrics Ltd, c 1970. Now there’s just an advertising hoarding. Source: Una Hume

White building with Lucas CAV elec repairs on the side

Glimpse of the main building on the corner of March Street, seen through the windows of the garage opposite, c 1970. Source: Une Hume

Additions and corrections are welcome.

References

1.
A relevant revenue complaint. The Scotsman [Internet]. 1912 Nov 23;12. Available from: https://www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk/viewer/bl/0000540/19121123/066/0012
1.
Automobilism. The Scotsman [Internet]. 1906 Nov 9; Available from: https://www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk/viewer/bl/0000540/19061109/246/0009
1.
Reigate Borough Bench. Surrey Mirror [Internet]. 1919 Sep 5; Available from: https://www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk/viewer/bl/0000335/19190905/043/0002
1.
Motor collision on the Luss Road. Milngavie and Bearsden Herald. 1911 Sep 1;
1.
Edinburgh Motor Show. The Scotsman [Internet]. 1908 Jan 29; Available from: https://www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk/viewer/bl/0000540/19080129/135/0013
1.
Notices. The Edinburgh Gazette [Internet]. 1907 Feb 1 [cited 2023 Apr 2];123. Available from: https://www.thegazette.co.uk/Edinburgh/issue/11904/page/123/data.pdf
1.
Dissolution of Patnership. The Scotsman [Internet]. 1908 Mar 13;1. Available from: https://www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk/viewer/bl/0000540/19080313/007/0001

2 Comments

  1. A £10 fine in 1906 must have been a huge amount.
    Interesting that the recently departed Arnold Clark was only the most recent in a long history of motor businesses in more or less that area/
    Very interesting post, they always are

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