Ferrell and Baker Garage, Greenstreet

Sadness as garage reign ends

Report by Danny Chandler of The Gazette and Times (8 June 2005)

Advertisement from the 1926 Local DirectoryPETER Baker sits at an old wooden desk in an eerily quiet and almost empty garage that has been his life for more than 70 years. [The advertisement - right - was found in a 1926 Business Directory]

Apart from the odd antique petrol sign, a few pieces of equipment and a large oil barrel, the building is deserted. But for Peter — who took over Ferrell and Baker in London Road, Teynham, from his father Fred in 1963 — the place is buzzing with memories.

Fred set up the business in 1919 after forming a partnership with Arthur Ferrell.

The men parted company some time later, with Fred holding on to Arthur's name and developing one of the most prolific and longest-lasting garages in Swale, whose humble beginnings can be traced back to a stable rented from J W Branchett, whose daughter later became Fred's wife.

The business later moved from that stable, now the site of the Swan pub, to an old aircraft hangar brought over from the First World War airfield at Eastchurch and put up a few hundred yards further along London Road, where the business remained until it closed on Saturday, May 28.

Speaking on his last day at the office, which has employed him all his working life, Peter (75) said: "The garage closed because I could not see it as a viable proposition.

"I hated closing, because the business was a big part of my life, but this was forced upon me. It's the computer age now when it comes to cars — and I can't even set the video."

Ferrell and Baker 1926 advertisementAt the peak of their 86-year reign, Ferrell and Baker ran a haulage company operating 12 Albion and American Rio lorries, as well as selling petrol and servicing cycles, motorcycles, cars, lorries and tractors. They also had a body shop.

In 1933 the garage was appointed agents for Rootes group vehicles and concentrated on sales and servicing of these cars and lorries as business flourished for the next 45 years.

The old aircraft hangar was demolished in 1953 and replaced with the brick building, which stands today.

A fall in fuel sales forced the garage to stop selling petrol in 2002. Peter said: "Cars nowadays are being serviced only once a year and my son Stephen did not want to take over the garage. The building is also too big for the amount of work we were getting. " Peter has his hands full just tying up the loose ends of the business. He said: "It will take me about a year to go through all the equipment from the garage. After that I don't know what I will do."

Peter, from Bapchild, has three sons — Stephen (50) who worked as a mechanic at the garage, musician Anthony (40), who lives in Denver, Colorado, and Peter (35), who emigrated to Melbourne, Australia.

Former employee Ray Wiles (82), from The Street, Borden, has fond memories of Ferrell and Baker, after helping mechanics at the garage when he was 14 in 1937, leaving at 18.

Ray, who remembers Peter, leaving Borden Grammar and starting at the garage, returned to Ferrell and Baker at 25 and stayed for about six years.

He said: "I was working there during the Second World War and remember bullets coming through the roof once, when two planes had a dog fight above us. We just had to run for cover. It was a really good place to work. Fred was a good boss because he was a decent man. When we sold petrol, I think it was about 1/6d a gallon. There was very little change in the staff.

"I felt very sad when I found out the garage had closed."

Vera's forecourt days are over!

Gazette and Times, 6th July 1989

Vera Wildey retires from Ferrell and Baker

Territorial manager for Shell UK, Mr. Jeremy Sudlow and company secretary for Ferrell and Baker Mr. Anthony Wells thank Mrs Vera Wildey for 26 years of service.

There have been some amazing changes in the petrol business over the last 26 years and someone who has experienced more of them than most is Mrs. Vera Wildey.

Vera' long reign as a forecourt attendant at ferrell and Baker Shell garage in Teynham finally came to an end on Friday last week when she celebrated her retirement after 26 years of service.

She was presented with a variety of gifts, including a gold watch by managing director Mr. Peter Baker, two crystal goblets from Shell Oil UK Limited and a picture from the staff of the garage drawn by local illustrator Judith Moss

Gallery of images from Ferrell and Baker

Images from Ferrell and Baker's Business
Ferrell and Baker 1927 - Arthur Leopold Ferrell Garage - ex-aircraft hangar from Eastchurch Ferrell and Baker 1927 Arthur Leopold Ferrell Garage was aircraft hangar of Eastchurch
Arthur Leopold Ferrell Garage 1927 - old hangar Ferrell and Baker 1927 Arthur Leopold Ferrell Garage was aircraft hangar of Eastchurch
Ferrell and Baker 1929 Albion Lorries Ferrell and Baker 1929 Albion Lorries
Ferrell and Baker F H Baker Ferrell and Baker c1920 F.H. Baker, born 1900
Ferrell and Baker 1920s F.H. Baker born 1900 Ferrell and Baker in the 1950s
Ferrell and Baker heavy lorries Ferrell and Baker Heavy lorries, often hired by other businesses and farmers.
Ferrell and Baker 1949 at Spitalfields Market Ferrell and Baker in 1948, one of the regular trips to and from Spitalfields Market.
Ferrell and Baker lining the edge of plot facing London Road Ferrell and Baker Lorries lining the edge of the plot looking towards the London Road
Ferrell and Baker lorries parked up Ferrell and Baker Lorries parked up
Ferrell and Baker front view of lorries Ferrell and Baker managed most of the local haulage business, supporting local business in Greenstreet and further afield.
Ferrell and Baker lorries loaded for the off! Ferrell and Baker Lorry loaded and ready for market
Ferrell and Baker Heavy Lorries loaded Ferrell and Baker Lorry loaded and ready for market
Ferrell and Baker driver (unnamed) Ferrell and Baker Man standing (unnamed)
Ferrell and Baker ready to hire Ferrell and Baker shed and lorry Greenstreet shed from aerodrome.
Ferrell and Baker three lorries Covered and ready for the off!

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