The History of Belgravia Garage
Belgravia Garage is one of the country’s oldest garages with a continuous unbroken working history. A quick look into the archives reveals a fascinating past.
Eaton Mews West
Eaton Square was built in 1823 by Thomas Cubitt and Eaton Mews West was designed and constructed at the same time with the principal function of housing the residents’ horses and carriages. Both sides of the Mews were used: the North Side housed the carriages and the coachmen, the South Side was the stable with a tack/livery, workshop, shoeing forge and quarters for the groomsmen above.
Eaton Mews West was unique amongst the mews in the area, in that it offered a general repair service to the Square’s residents from its very first days. From about 1890, these services began to be offered more widely on a commercial basis. The recently restored lettering, ‘Horse Infirmary and Shoeing Forge’, over 100 years old, still shows on the South Side wall.
It is easy to imagine the scene if you look carefully at the buildings today. The decorative arches on either side remain and the original cobblestones are still in place; worn and uneven, they are a witness to more than 18 decades of wear. The site has retained its original charm.
The ‘Horseless Carriage’
With the birth of the automobile in the late 1890’s, Eaton Mews West was prompt to adjust the services it offered to become an automotive garage. The coachmen became ‘chauffeurs’ and underwent the relevant training to drive the strange new ‘horseless carriages’. They also extended their services to undertake minor repairs. An area of the stables was transformed into the MOT ‘Pit’, as it is known, and which is now thought to be one of the oldest in existence. The car wash area is the very same place where the horses and carriages were cleaned and rubbed down 100 years ago.
The Modern Automobile
From 1930 the garage became a proper commercial automotive garage and was named ‘Eaton Square Garage’ later changed to ‘Belgravia Garage’ to represent the broader community. It has always offered a complete service, covering all aspects of automotive care and it has prided itself on being an unusual independent garage in this respect. From ‘trimming the wick’ to installing a satelittle-controlled GPS, the nature of the work has come a long way.
Belgravia Garage Today
The cars are cared for, repaired and housed in the south side buildings which previously held the horses and their tack. The ground floor comprises of a modern well-equipped workshop with the latest diagnostic equipment, MOT bay, numerous ramps, cleaning and valeting area and reception.
It is not unexpected that the majority of Belgravia Garage’s clientele are local residents and many are second and third generation customers. The future of the garage has a lot to live up to but it is hoped it will be as rich as its history.