Wilshers Garages Ltd Wimpole, Cambridgeshire
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Record Book, August 1918
W G Newell, Dealer in Motor Spirit, Wimpole, Cambridgeshire

Motor Spirit Purchases - August 1918 Motor Spirit Sales - August 1918

August 1918 August 1918
Motor Spirit Received Into Stock (Purchased): Motor Spirit Sold to Customers:
(No of Gallons on which full duty has been paid) 2nd: 6 gallons, Rev Whiston, Whaddon, 406923
Spirit in Stock on August 1st: 37 gallons. 8th: 14 gallons, T Armstrong, Barrington, 57972
8th: Anglo-American, Royston, 16 gallons. 7th: 6 gallons, R Fellowes, Wimpole, 404907
20th: Anglo-American, Royston, 60 gallons. 2nd: 2 gallons, W Cranwell, Morden, 17106
29th: Anglo-American, Royston, 10 gallons. 16th: 4 gallons, Rev Whiston, Whaddon, 4069232
Total Bought: 123 gallons. 20th: 30 gallons, W G Newell, Wimpole, 715887
  21st: 2 gallons, W Knowles, Manor Farm, 672974
  22nd: 4 gallons, E A Moss, Valley Farm, 660874
  22nd: 1.5 gallons, W Cranwell, Morden, 17106
  29th: 2 gallons, P Humphrey, Arrington, 39750
  Total Sold: 71.5 gallons
  Balance in Stock: 51.5 gallons on 1st September

1. William G Newell opened his new garage on the present Cambridge Road site in 1925/26. From around 1905 Newell had sold Motor Spirit (petrol) from the family blacksmith business ("Newell & Sons") and motorcycle shop on the opposite side of the road. From c1920 Newell was selling petrol from an underground tank via a hand-operated petrol pump situated on the frontage of his house at No 20 Cambridge Road. He also used his own car for 'hire work', presumably providing a licenced taxi service. Wilshers Garages still have W G Newell's original account book for wartime licenced petrol sales from July 1917 to June 1919 and the two pages for August 1918 are shown above.
2. During the First World War (1914-1918), Motor Spirit (petrol) was rationed and could only be purchased if you were in an approved occupation, and had a valid licence to purchase. Petrol was not available to the general public which was not as big a hardship as you might expect as few private individuals owned cars in rural South Cambridgeshire. From W G Newell's account book, approved occupations appear to have included the Landed Gentry, Rectors, Farmers, and Estate Managers. Records had to be kept of names and addresses against all purchases, together with the licence number. Government inspectors periodically visited the garage to 'inspect the books' to ensure compliance.
A Two Gallon can for Motor Spirit.
3. During the period of this account book, Motor Spirit was sold to garages in two gallon cans (above) sealed at the refinery, and this is reflected in W G Newall's purchase records. For ease of delivery and convenience, most sales to customers were also made in two gallon increments, either hand-pumped into vehicle tanks or taken away in the sealed cans.
4. During this wartime period, Newell's licenced customers for Motor Spirit included:
    Viscount Clifden, (Thomas Agar-Robartes, 6th Viscount Clifden), Lanhydrock House and Wimpole Hall.
    The Right Hon Francis Gerald Agar-Robartes, Great Stanhope Street, London, and Wimpole Hall.
    R O Fellows Esq, Wimpole Lodge, Estate Manager, Wimpole Hall.
    W Knowles, Manor Farm, Wimpole. [now Home Farm, Wimpole Estate]
    E A Moss, Farmer, Valley Farm, Arrington
    Rev E Lancaster, Rector, Wimpole Parish Church, Wimpole Rectory.
    Rev R W Whiston, Rector, Orwell Parish Church, Orwell Rectory (later living in Whaddon).
    Rev Lloyd, Rector, Croydon Parish Church, Croydon Rectory.
    Captain Coventry, London Command Depot, Seaford, Sussex.
    M P Humphrey, Arrington.
    T Armstrong Esq, Wilsmere Down Farm, Barrington.
    J Gilbert Esq, Lanhydrock, Cornwall.
    W Cranwell, Morden.
    H G Peters, Orwell.
5. The first Filling Station in England (using hand-operated petrol pumps) opened in 1919. In 1922, the Mayor of Cambridge was "complaining that he could not understand why Cambridge did not have a single petrol pump. The petrol pump today was a thing everyone looked for if he motored. He did not know of another town of any size that had not a petrol pump" ["Petrol Pump Objections" - Cambridgeshire Daily News, 30 September 1922]. However, and mainly due to public demand, most garages had convered to bulk deliveries and pumped petrol sales by around 1925.
Newells and Horsefield's Garage in the mid-1920s
6. A photograph of Newell's Garage around 1928 (above), which sold Shell petrol from pumps and a range of bicycles. [Click on the image or the link provided for a larger image]
Steve Odell ["Wimpole Past"]
3 September 2018
Wilshers Garages Ltd. 18 Cambridge Road, Wimpole, Royston, Cambridgeshire SG8 5QE, UK
Registered in England No. 978973
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