In a move that will delight motor enthusiasts all over the UK, the Government and English Heritage have come together to acknowledge the classic buildings behind the classic era of cars and have given 13 buildings Grade II listed status.
The buildings range from architectural design right on the cusp of the modern age back to buildings of the 19th Century and the early days of motoring when a car insurance quote had never even been thought of. They include Sir David Salomons garages in Broomhill, Kent which experts believe were the first buildings in the UK to have been custom built to accommodate cars and the servicing of the vehicles. Sir David always referred to them as his motor stables, a term which truly reflects the passing of one age of transport and the birth of another.
Heritage Minister, Ed Vaizey, welcomed the recognition of the buildings, saying “There was an undeniably romantic flavour to motoring in the UK during the first half of the twentieth century. Cars looked distinctive and many designs we now think of as classics were born in that era. What’s less well recorded, however, are the buildings and structures that provided the setting and infrastructure for the golden age of the motor car.”
Also to be listed is a futuristic garage put together in the swinging sixties when Issigonis’ Mini was the coolest car in the world, a first world war aeroplane hangar converted into a garage, an Edwardian London town house bearing tyre motifs carved out of stone and a collection of rural garages cunningly built in the design of barns so they would blend in with their rural surroundings.
English Heritage are also excited by the decision to have the buildings listed and to celebrate the fact are publishing a book put together by two of their experts, John Minnis and Kathryn Morrison, entitled Carscapes: the Motor Car, Architecture and Landscape in England the book will encapsulate the effect the combustion engine has had on the history of the United Kingdom.