Garage in Broad Street – the sequel

Well six months has gone by, since I first asked the question about what happened to the garage in Broad Street, and there have been three good comments, but I’m amazed that no-one had the full answer.

broad st garage

The garage was known as the Broadway Garage, and had been for a long time before I moved to Alresford, from 1938 approx according to Len Strong. He’s about right, because when the building was demolished various accounts and invoices dating from the late thirties were found in the roof space, and are now held in the Alresford Museum ( In the 70s and 80s the garage was owned and run by the late Chris Lentz. The photo shown here is from May 85 showing it with two specially made (non-specific) garage signs – and a lot of very polished vintage cars for that TV filming.

The exact filming done is a bit dubious: the main suggestion was that it was for a Shell petrol advert, although the owner of the Austin Healey remembers it being used as a getaway car in one film. The filming attracted a lot of passing interest, as can be seen from the second photo, and a fair bit of trade for the Bodega Wine Bar almost next door.

What happened to the garage? Well, at least one of the signs visible over the windows is still visible today – but relocated to another motor car repair garage at the Winchester end of New Farm Road, behind the chapel. Have a look from the bus next time you go to Winchester!

broad street 1985 2

The picture above caused a lot of amusement, around the display put up the following week in the Bodega Wine Bar. The young lady on the photo stormed in and demanded the prints and the negatives and the rest of the world as well. She did not get anything, the picture was taken legally, on a public road. I just liked the way the cars made a nice background.

C Lenz garage

C Lenz garage 2The Garage itself? The actual buildings were knocked down a year or so later, in 1987 I think, after the business moved to New Farm Road. They had stood on the site of the old “Le Hart” Inn, but now made way for three new town houses. The garage itself looked more like the photo above, normally: I am told that the narrow green house next door was the old Alresford Telephone Exchange.

The lower-roofed house that looks a little different, on the left, but which was a part of the garage, was originally a grocer’s shop, owned by the parents of Millie Godwin, during the 1920s-30s. I think this was number 38, whereas the main garage buildings were number 36 Broad Street.

I should get a modern photo of the new town houses, to show the current status!

Can’t resist adding this pic processed today from the Alresford Museum collection of the Lawrence Wright images of Alresford Buildings, in 1965: this is the garage back then: even with petrol pumps! It says the owner/proprietor was John Allen…






4 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Len Strong on December 28, 2012 at 9:31 pm

    A bit off topic, but i was surprised to find, on a recent visit to my home town, that with the closing of Hankins garage in West St. there is no facility for local motorists to ‘fill up’ with petrol in Alresford.(what a shame.!!!).


  2. Posted by Neil Cantello on October 27, 2014 at 8:44 am

    How interesting to find this article, and I have the answers to your question. I worked with Chris Lentz at the Broadway Garage from approx 1980 to when he moved from Broad Street to The Long Barn in New Farm Road, which was was then called C & J Lentz Ltd. The signs were made specially for the film, and as previously mentioned, one of them moved with Chris to the new premises, in 1985. That sign is still there today. The filming was for a Shell advert, the story being a man buys a sports car at the garage and then drives to the Shell filling station in Ropley, where he is filmed filling his car. Although it was very exciting to be part of the filming process, it was very disruptive to the whole day for the garage. This did not stop one elderly lady from driving down the road and taking the space which the actor had just driven away from. Despite requests from all concerned with the film, she refused to move her vehicle as parking spaces were hard to find in Alresford, even in those days! I worked with Chris Lentz, along with Malcolm Willis at the new premises until Chris retired in 1995, when Malcolm and I started up Wilcan motor company and continued at the same premises. We have both now retired and the business continues under the new ownership of Andy Brown. One interesting employee at the broadway garage was Brit Pearce, who had previously been racing mechanic to Mike Hawthorn, the first British Formula 1 World champion racing driver in the 1950s. I shall be pleased to hear from anyone who wishes to learn more. Neil Cantello. My email address is


    • How Very Alresford: I can picture the scene, where the elderley lady says “Young man, I am here to visit the butchers, and how will he deliver the roast to the car if I do not have it parked here.” I’m just a bit disappointed you did not film the negotiations to get her to move the car…..


  3. Pauline Cherrett remembers buying a car, a Saab from Broadway Garage in Broad Street, where numbers 36, 36a and 38 are now, in July 1971. By Feb 1974, the Saab franchise had moved, still under the Broadway banner, to Ropley Dene when she went back for another model. The Volvo part of the business stayed in Broad Street, and the Salesman at that time was Neville Oldfield: Bill Brixey (of Bridge Road) was a mechanic there. Pauline remembers driving down a ramp into the repair area from the level of Broad Street…..


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