Meldreth Garage

The Woolpack barn
The garage and filling station in the 1960's. The chimney of Woolpack Cottage can just be seen to the left of the garage. This was demolished in the mid 1960's
The garage during demolition
New houses on the site of the garage
John Gipson remembers Hubert Ellis and his Straker-Squire car. Listen to John's recollection in the audio clip at the top of this page.
Chris Duguid
A Group of employees in John Gipson's Garage ~ 1963-4. L to R: Norman Hildrow, Dave Day, John Clarke, Paul Prime and John Gipson
Dave Day

John Gipson bought Woolpack Farm from the estate of H.O.S. Ellis in 1960. The Woolpack and farm buildings were demolished and the orchard behind was sold as building plots where, in the early 1960’s, four bungalows were built, now known as Woolpack Way.

The garage was built at the front of the site and the steel frame was made by Walford Brothers of the Moor, Melbourn.

Woolpack Cottage remained on the site until the mid 1960’s when it was demolished.

John Gipson sold the garage in 1978. It remained as a garage and filling station until 2000.

The site was then redeveloped for housing.

Below, John Gipson recalls the building of his garage on the site of the Woolpack.

Click on the “play” button on the top right of the screen to hear John speaking.

“I bought the Woolpack.  It’s an ancient building where in medieval times the villagers took their wool to be washed and weighed, so I understand it, and also on that site was an ancient cottage where a Miss Thompson lived.  This was a thatched cottage and it was infested with rats.  She’d got a piece of garden that she’d fenced round this old cottage and it was in the way of building a new garage and she was reluctant to give it up but anyway I eventually persuaded her to give it up if I put her a flush toilet in because I was building the garage, this was 1960, the sewer had just been laid and it all fitted in fairly well so I got the garage planted in the place I wanted it and you’ll see today that the road next to where the Woolpack used to be is called Woolpack Way because I wrote to the Council and said I thought it was an ancient place and the name should be retained.” 

“I went for BP, it was a BP garage and they were very good really because they gave me a grant towards the petrol tanks and I got the petrol pumps, all new petrol pumps, on HP at a much reduced price, otherwise I couldn’t have done it, and that was it.  I think building the garage was one of the biggest changes in the village at the time and unfortunately of course, when I retired the people that took it over, the two brothers who ran it, didn’t get on too well, I don’t think, and they sold it of course and it sold for building and now they’ve got those new houses on the High Street.”

The recording was made on 20th October 2006 during an evening of Reminiscences given by John Gipson, Michael Walford and John Price in the Holy Trinity Church, Meldreth.

Transcription by Gloria Willers

Comments about this page

  • Does anyone remember Miss Thompson and her Yorkshire terrier who lived in Woolpack Cottage? The dog was ferocious! Miss Thompson would often be seen in the village in her long fur coat and heavy blue eye shadow and rouge, she was quite a character. I believe she came to Meldreth after the war as a companion to a widower who lived at the Homestead (now Maycroft).The cottage was really uninhabitable and teeming with rats but Miss Thompson refused to move until finally she went to live in the sheltered housing in Elin Way. Miss Thompson was found dead and no one could get near her body as her little dog was guarding her. Jack Clarke, who worked at the garage, was called and was able to coax the dog away.

    By Chris Duguid (26/06/2011)
  • When the sewerage came to the village we were the first business to be on the main sewerage.

    By John Gipson (16/05/2011)

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