Capturing driving history through photographs

Those old photos are a fantastic way of seeing just how far motoring in the U.K has come over time. For example it’s so hard to imagine the U.K without cars, vans and lorries clogging up the roads. But there was a time not that long ago when things were very different indeed. There’s no better way to see this than through those old photographs.

Check out our gallery of images from the early days of cars:

This is Holborn, London at the beginning of the 1900′s. Just as packed out with people back then as it is today- but there’s one thing missing: Cars! The only way to get around on the busy city roads was by horse and cart.

Motor vehicles were soon introduced as the main way of getting about. But this didn’t stop market traders and salespeople from advertising their wares the old fashioned way as they got about in London. This photograph taken in London’s Piccadilly Circus in 1939 sums up the time perfectly as the two modes of transport look as though they are racing each other.

Ok so it’s not exactly the same thing as stopping at a petrol station! A long time before those motor vehicles hit our roads, horses were the main way we all got around. They needed filling up too and regular breaks to keep them going. This tired looking steed is having a drink before continuing on his journey.

Back when those early cars first started to be driven on the roads- there were health and safety issues that surrounded them. First and foremost were the speeds that some of these new auto mobiles were capable of- they were so much faster than any horse and cart could go. It was important that they wore the right gear! This usually consisted of some leather driving gloves and some rather fetching aviator style hats and goggles!

Petrol stations today are known for filling up on fuel and maybe picking up some sweeties and a newspaper. They are certainly not considered glamorous┬áplaces in general but there was a time when they were. The Coronet Petrol station was built in 1956 and looked as if it could have been in Las Vegas! But it wasn’t, it was based in Effingham Street, Sheffield. But it has a real 1950′s vibe to it and said to be the longest petrol station ever built in terms of it’s size.


Sticking with the theme of petrol stations and garages and you can still see some quirky looking ones around to this very day. This is the Tower Garage and it was built in 1962. It was built for Total and is in Alderley Edge in Cheshire. It was built at a time when popular culture was obsessed with aliens and flying saucers. You can see the inspiration in this design.

Do you have any quirky and unusual driving related pictures? Want your five minutes of fame with us at Want Driving Lessons? Send them to us via our Facebook page and we will post your pics on the Want Driving Lessons wall.

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