OldCiren - Cirencester, Gloucestershire, UK
In the days when it was possible to repair and fix most things on a car or your motorbike; many people would do this outside their homes. It was nothing out of the ordinary, during the light Summer nights or weekends, to see wheels being changed or even engines being removed outside the houses of the Beeches or up the Chesterton estate. For those that couldn’t do this sort of thing or lacked the skill to do it, Ciren garages were there to do it for you, or sell you the parts to do it.
Most are long gone from Ciren – Bennet’s in Victoria Road which recently announced it was closing, being perhaps the last to go. Back in the 1950’s and 1960’s it was different story and there were about 6 garages in town, including Cirencester Garage in Dyer Street (where the Woolmarket is now) and further down Dyer street in the building where Gardiners is now; “Steels”. In Castle street there was Bridges Garage which went out of business in 2008. Most Ciren garages sold petrol but Cirencester garage and Steels were also agents for new cars such as Wolseley, Austin and Rover.
In the late 1950’s there were probably more motorcycles on the Ciren roads than there were cars and back then there wasn’t much that couldn’t be fixed by yourself using a set of spanners and the benefit of an oily “Haynes workshop manual.” If you got stuck - you pushed the bike to Peter Hammond’s in Watermoor road and while you waiting for your 197cc Francis-Barnet Falcon or your 125cc BSA Bantam to be fixed, you could drool over the new Triumph Bonneville 650cc and dream about doing “the Ton” on one along the Fosse Way, when you won enough to buy one on the equivalent of today’s Lottery – ie. Littlewoods Football Pools.