Thursday 4 January 2024

It's a gas, gas, gas

I was saying to Martin at New Amusements only last week that when I lock myself away in my office & fire up the Mac to start a new blog post, I invariably don't have a clue what I'll be writing about. The words just appear on the page. Sometimes not many, I grant you! That was certainly the case on Tuesday when I put together my Forton Services homage. It came about on the back of Swiss Adam's very personal collection of trinkets on January's Photo Challenge feature which went live on Monday. Then yesterday's follow up piece on Markham Moor kind of wrote itself* (again, having photos tucked away in my archive generally gives focus to my scribbling).

And so today's piece, based around a handful of photos I took in the Spring last year of a disused gas station in Markfield, Leicester seems a perfect bookend to prop up this week's 'Once proud service stations that now find themselves in reduced circumstances'.** Usual format - the photograph at the top (always by an unknown/uncredited photographer) taken back in the day capturing a once iconic Services with up to date photos below showing how they look today.

Sad, yes - but taken as a psychogeographical record of an our ever changing social history then, what the hell, it says a lot about how we treat our once proud buildings & architecture that we either knock 'em down or let them wither on the vine. I've got a nagging feeling that if Markfield was situated within the M25 and therefore commutable from London they would have thrown money at this to restore it to its former gory. Tell me I'm wrong.

Anyway, here endeth my petroleum trilogy for this week. I sincerely hope you've enjoyed it.

* No, of course they 'don't write themselves' (we have AI for that), but some days it's easier to tease the words out than others. 
** Catchy, huh?


  1. I've been fascinated by service stations for a long time, their former glories in the 60s and 70s as destinations in themselves, those that have fallen on hard times and their interzone status. There are a couple on the M6 between Manchester and Birmingham that are very much in need of some love and care- and in some ways all the better for it

    1. There's another iconic one in Birmingham I need to get to. My friend Baz lives close by and he's promised me breakfast at a greasy spoon nearby. That's what I call two birds, one stone.