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Gulf site named oldest in Europe

03 May, 2011
Page 8 

Riddelsdell Bros service station in Boxford, Suffolk has been named Europe's oldest recorded working garage.

 

The 110-year-old site may not offer all the mod cons of a modern forecourt but it continues to offer attended service, and the fill-up and checking of oil, water and tyre pressures come as standard.

 

Proprietor Howard Watts said: "This is a rural site situated in a quintessential English village. Our premises are old-world and so is the mode of operation. My mother, bless her, is still our wages clerk at the age of 81 and long may that continue."

 

Established in 1900, the site comprises four in-line pumps adjacent to a 100ft-long wood-walled shed, built before the Great War to service and maintain traction engines and steam cars.

 

Howard bought Riddelsdell Bros in 2001 and while he recognises that fuel may not be a major profit centre, it provides a service to the local community and the traffic flow it generates benefits other aspects of the business.

 

"The petrol filling station is very important for this village and the surrounding hamlets," said Howard. "With so many rural sites closing, the nearest is now over seven miles away."

 

Riddelsdell Bros also operates a one-stop shop for all things Porsche and is internationally-renowned for its car sales, engine rebuilds and body shop.