An acquired taste

If you associate corrugated iron with shanty town poverty – a cheap, light, waterproof building material that soon crumbles into rusty shards – you might be surprised by the ‘Tin Tabernacles’, some of which are listed buildings, or Dinas’ Mercury Garage.

2cvI didn’t really pay attention to this building before driving a car myself, but as soon as I acquired a small corrugated car, it became obvious that Dinas’ Mercury Garage was its spiritual home.

Mercury Garage DinasThis business, with its generous offer to the passing motorist, proved efficient and kind on the few occasions we had to make use of its expertise.

What’s more, like other Dinas businesses, Mercury Garage has more history than you might imagine. I don’t know anything of its beginnings but here is a photo of its early days. The truck parked by the garage looks as if it has PRATTS written across the front and a tank on the back. Does anyone know anything about it?

Mercury Garage, Dinas

Photo courtesy of Ann Hughes

The owner of the garage at the time was Joe Stevens, whose niece still lives in the village. Joe  also ran the pub, Rose Cottage, along with his sister Maggie Mary. Unlike the garage, the pub didn’t survive his death in 1968.

Joe Stevens, Mercury Garage, Dinas

Photo courtesy of Ann Hughes

I now have a fondness for the corrugated iron buildings in the Dinas area; I may introduce some of the others to you in the future.

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About bookvolunteer

I'm passionate about books, about Oxfam and about making the world a better place. When I'm not filling the shelves in Oxfam Wilmslow, I might be found reading the books I've bought in the beautiful surroundings of North Pembrokeshire.
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5 Responses to An acquired taste

  1. calmgrove says:

    In Maenclochog, as elsewhere in the Preselis, there are plenty of these tin shacks, which I was led to understand came about due to the need to house quarry workers in the Rosebush area — hence the famous Tafarn Sinc. In the centre of the village is the expanded Siop y Sgwar, with its exterior painted a striking red. I don’t know about the two Maenclochog garages though — they’re both metal but I wouldn’t swear to the date.

  2. Natasha says:

    If you search for Pratts High Test (as I did)you will find that it was an early brand of petrol which later became Esso. See here for instance
    http://www.vintagegarage.co.uk/histories/anglo%20-%20american%20oil%20company%20ltd.htm
    Also interesting is the Gargoyle sign (to rear of motorbike) which shows the 1915 version of the logo
    http://www.vintagegarage.co.uk/histories/the%20vacuum%20oil%20company%20ltd.htm

    Amazing what you can discover!

  3. Natasha says:

    Also, note the price of the petrol eightpence ha’penny!
    (Btw the tin tabernacle link doesn’t work for me.)

    • The link should be working now.
      I remember when the registration letters on the number plate for all the vehicles registered in Pembrokeshire ended with DE. Swansea was WN and Cardiganshire EJ.As children, in the car for the long journey from London to Dinas, we could tell, from the increasing number of DEs that we were ‘almost there’.

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