West Bridge Street
In December 1934 a new garage was opened for Thomas Laurie & Co Ltd in West Bridge Street. It reflected the advent of road travel for the public. As well as providing a petrol station it had a car showroom and a repair and servicing workshop. A depot in Wellside Place was retained for heavy repairs.
The building was of two storeys with a steel frame and concrete floors and faces on modernistic lines finished to imitate stone of a light colour. These materials meant that the building was fireproof throughout. On the ground floor it had huge display windows and a 30ft wide entrance giving access to the garage and filling station. On the left was the motor showroom and on the right an electrical showroom, a foreman’s office, a waiting room and an inquiry office. A stairway behind the inquiry office led to the first floor where the offices and stores of both departments were placed.
The remainder of the ground floor was occupied by the garage with a floor area of 4,600 square feet, including lavatory accommodation for the patrons and staff. The motor showroom extended to the centre of the first floor where there was accommodation for 6 to 8 cars. A lift took the cars up to the showroom. Also on this floor were the director’s room, manger’s room and general office. A large area of the rear part of the building on the first floor was devoted to the store.
The ground floor entrance was practically as wide as the roadway with the doors hinged from the top so that no space was lost by pillars or gateposts. Six different grades of petrol were supplied, as well as eight grades of lubricating oil, drawn from tanks to avoid mixing. After having their tanks filled with petrol the cars could be run onto a turntable which rotated allowing the driver to leave in first gear without the necessity of reversing onto the road.
Illus: Immediately prior to demolition (courtesy of Allan Meek).
In the garage the latest equipment was installed. A Tecalemit four-wheel brake tester could, in the space of seconds, shows if the brakes required adjusting. The car was run onto the tester which checked the pull of each brake under the strain of ordinary road conditions, the power of each brake being registered on a dial. A tyre-testing and inflating apparatus could inflate two tubes at the same time guaranteeing equal pressure on either side. A hydraulic lift simplified the greasing of cars.
Latterly the garage was Philp’s, who had the Volvo dealership. It was demolished to make way for the enlarged police station.
Contractors – Brick work – J Maxwell & Sons, Falkirk; Joiner work – J & A Main, Falkirk; Slater work – James K Millar Ltd, Falkirk; Plumber work – John T Borland, Falkirk; Plaster and Cement work – James K Millar Ltd, Falkirk; Glazier work – Daniel O’May Ltd, Falkirk; Steel work – Redpath, Brown & Co Ltd, Edinburgh; Steel Windows – Maclean & Co, Glasgow; Asphalt work – Val de Travers Asphalte Co Ltd, Glasgow; Fireproof Floors – Siegwart Fireproof Floor Co ltd, Glasgow; Composition Flooring – British Doloment Co Ltd, London; Painter work – F Mitchell & Son, Grangemouth; Electrical works – Thomas Laurie & Co Ltd.