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Navigation aidRoad maps from garage chains:

Caffyns, Kenning, Stewart & Arden, Swanmore Garage and Schwaben-Garage


Although most of the maps on this site were issued by petrol or oil companies for use at their own branded service stations, there have always been independent chains of (mainly service) garages. Many of these operated petrol forecourts from the 1930s through to the 70s or 80s, although in most cases fuel sales ended once car manufacturers demanded larger exclusive showrooms. In a few cases, the car dealers continue to operate standalone filling stations as well as sales and repair garages. Relatively few garage chains have produced road maps for their own use, preferring to rely on oil company issues for forecourt map sales, but four examples are shown here from Britain and one from Germany.

Maps: Caffyns

Caffyns is a publicly quoted regional car distributor and operator of service stations based largely in Kent & Sussex, with its head office in Eastbourne; historically most of its locations sold Shell, BP or other major brands of petrol. Although its website claims local connections dating back to 1327, it was over 500 years before William Morris Caffyn opened his own shop on 19th May 1865 in premises adjoining the present site of Caffyns’ Head Office as a Gas and Hot Water fitter, Bell Hanger, Brass Finisher, Tinman & Brazier. In 1871 he obtained a licence to store petroleum in a shed at the back of his house and in 1903 opened his first garage, still in Eastbourne. Expansion in Sussex soon followed, and in the 1930s the company was known for its streamlined moderne garages. In 1967 it opened its first self-service and 24 hour petrol stations. Caffyns was essentially a BMC/British Leyland dealer until 1977 and retained Rover dealerships until 2005.

1929 Caffyns Motorists Maps of England & Wales

This booklet of Motorists Maps of England & Wales was produced in 1929. It contained 36 pages of full colour Bartholomew's maps, mainly at 12 miles to the inch, but including 3 pages of central London streets. These were stapled inside 16 pages of Caffyns advertising, showing most of its garages, including the one on Malling St, Lewes (right) which sold four brands of petrol: National Benzole, BP, Power and Shell.

Caffyns Lewes from 1929 Map booklet
1979 Caffyns map of the South Coast

Caffyns fixed a gloss light card cover to this 1979 Bartholomew's GT 4 miles to the inch map of the South Coast, which matched its marketing territory well. Two years before this map was published, Caffyns had acquired a small chain of garages in Wessex which also extending its franchises to include a small number of Fiat, Renault, Mercedes-Benz and Rolls-Royce showrooms. The Caffyns website suggests that this particular version of the logo may only have been in use from the early 1980s, which would imply that the cover had been fixed to a slightly out of date stock map.

Maps: Kenning

Dating back to 1878, when Frank Kenning opened a hardware store in Clay Cross, Derbyshire, the Kenning Motor Group became Europe's largest motoring service (sic) in the 1960s with numerous motor dealerships, tyre service depots and petrol forecourts in Britain and the Republic of Ireland. Indeed on the 1968 map below there are 135 petrol outlets listed, with a further three in Ireland. All would have sold Shell, BP or National branded petrol, and Kenning also operated a Shellmex-BP heating oil distributor.

1958 Kenning map of Great Britain

Kenning's reliance on BMC/Leyland products led it into decline, and in 1986 it was sold to TKM and merged with Wadham Stringer to form Wadham Kenning, with the name surviving on a handful of motor dealerships now owned by the Inchcape Group. Two great-grandsons of the founder own the independent GK Ford (named after Sir George Kenning) dealership in Chesterfield. The name also lives on in Sixt Kenning Car Rental.

Kenning's first known road map (left) dates from 1958 and was prepared for them at 1:1 million by George Philip & Son. The cover of this map claims that the Kenning Motor Group has well over 100 depots in 23 countries.

1967 Kenning map of Britain 1968 Kenning map of Britain 1972 Kenning map of Britain 1978 Kenning map of Britain 1980 Kenning map of Britain

The next three maps come from 1967, 1968 and 1972 and have fairly basic cartography by Geographia: the car on the 1973 issue is loosely based on an Austin 3 litre. The next two are from 1978 and 1980 and use Bartholomew mapping at 9 miles to the inch; the covers feature a British Leyland Princess. The three Geographia maps are overprinted with Kenning locations and all five list Kenning sites in a marginal panel.

1974 Kenning map of Great Britain The 1974 issue (left) differs mainly by using a landscape format cover design, busy with images representing the differing activities of the Kenning group. Among the cars, a Morris 1800 (bonnet open), MG sports car, Range Rover (filling up with petrol), Rolls-Royce, Mini, Austin Allegro and Triumph Toledo can be seen - all part of BLMC apart from the Rolls-Royce. There is also a Leyland tanker behind some unbranded petrol pumps, and a Leyland Sherpa van in Kenning Van Hire livery. Fisk Tyres are sold in front of Kenning Tyre Service, and the milk float reveals that one part of the Kenning group manufactured these electric delivery vehicles. Inside, the map was again by Geographia.

Top of PageMaps: Mann Egerton

Another old established motor group, Mann Egerton claimed that it was established in 1898, and expanding out of its Norwich base, it became East Anglia's largest motor group, selling mainly BMC group and Ford cars. Like the Wadham Kenning Group, it was eventually acquired by Inchcape, and the Mann Egerton name was largely dropped in 2001. As of 2010, it was only in use on two second hand car dealerships in Exeter and Swindon, neither of which were part of the chain in 1965.

1965 Mann Egerton map of Britain

This Mann Egerton map dates from 1965, and is a George Philip map of Britain excluding Scotland North of Inverness, unusually at the metric scale of 1:1 million (approx. 16 miles to the inch). The map carries a cover price of one shilling (5p), but may well have been given away to customers buying a new car from one of the garages. All Mann Egerton dealerships are marked on the map, and a table lists the addresses and services available. As well as its East Anglian heartland, Mann Egerton had garages in Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire and in Mayfair (central London). As well as selling petrol at many of its main garages, Mann Egerton operated half a dozen dedicated filling stations at this time - these would have all sold major brands of petrol.

Top of PageMaps: Stewart & Arden

Stewart & Arden was England's largest Morris dealership, with 8 London showrooms and two in adjacent counties, plus a large repair shop in Acton and a subsidiary engaged in coachbuilding. Most of the car showrooms had a small filling station in front selling a range of petrol brands, as was common at the time. Stewart & Arden remained active as a BMC/British Leyland dealer in London, but the name no longer exists in Britain; a couple of Rover dealers in SW France still use this old English name!

Photos from 1948 Stewart and Arden atlas

In 1948 Stewart & Arden published a slim hardback volume in plain burgundy covers called "At the Wheel". A foreword from Lord Nuffield was followed by 32 pages of suggestions for motorists and information about the company, and then 24 pages of three-colour maps by Edward Stanford Ltd at 1:1,000,000. The main interest in the book is the black and white photos of each of their sales outlets; Catford (top) is in 1930s moderne style, while Southend-on-Sea (below) is more traditional. The four petrol pumps in Catford sell Esso, Power, National Benzole and Shell fuels, while only two pumps are visible in Southend, bearing Esso and Shell globes.

Maps: Swanmore Garage

In contrast, Swanmore Garage was a single outlet on the main A35 road in the West of Bournemouth. From memory it sold National petrol, but the cover only claims to have the "Best Used Cars available in the South" and offers free delivery in any part of Great Britain. A card cover was pasted onto a 1959 or 1960 Geographia map that is unusual for showing both By-Pass roads and Motorways in the same style.

ca1960 Swanmore Garage map

Top of PageMaps: Schwaben-Garage

German garages have also occasionally arranged for maps to be printed carrying their name. The most commonly found ones are 1950s/60s JRO issues, similar to those shown for Veedol and Tramin, that have been overprinted for the garage. However the example shown here from Schwaben-Garage is a much more interesting map.

Schwaben-Garage was established in Stuttgart in 1920 as Würtemberg Kraftwerkehrsgesellschaft (KVG) and by the time this map was sold had expanded to Ulm and Heilbronn. The company still exists as part of the Emil Frey group and is now Germany's largest Ford distributor with 35 locations. The map states that in 1929 Schwaben-Garage sold 3,697,921 litres of fuel from its Zapfstelle pumps, which were branded for Shell, Dapolin, Esso, Aral and Benzol (BV). The cover design shows a mix of red and blue pumps outside its main location on Canstatterstr. in Stuttgart (below right). Amazingly, the company still sells Aral fuels from a 24 hour service station at the same address.

1930 Schwaben-Karte

Schwaben-Garage's map summarised seven circular tours starting from Stuttgart (each with long and short variants) and a way of combining them into a three-day tour. There were five panels of full colour watercolours showing key sights along the tours, of a style similar to the Shell touring maps a few years later. The main map was a very basic black and white line map, although the tours were identified by coloured routes on it. The whole package was assembled for Schwaben-Garage by Graphia of München.

Detail (zapfstelle) from 1930 Schwaben-Karte

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Text and layout © Ian Byrne, 2001-11

All original copyrights in logos and map extracts and images are acknowledged and images are included on this site for identification purposes only.