Dover Kent UK

History of Dover Garages

Maison Dieu Rd & 12 Castle Street

Southern Autos Ltd

Southern autos Dover

Activities at this site

  • photo 1932

  • 27 April 1934 Dover Express - A quantity of the machinery from British Oxygen Co Ltd, premises in Maison Dieu Road was removed this week.  In 1924 the manufacture of oxygen was started at these premises, but after a year or two it ceased, and is now simply a distribution centre.

  • Date unknown - before the garage, probably during the British Oxygen Works period

  • 21 December 1934 Dover Express - Petroleum Store - The Surveyor reported that an application with plan under the Petroleum (Consolidation) Act, 1928, had been received from Mr E. V. Dodd to store 600 gallons of petrol at the old premises of the British Oxygen Company in Maison Dieu Rd.  It would be stored in six 1000 gallon tanks below the floor level on the right of the entrance.  The tanks would be brick or concrete chambers surrounded with copper filling and would be covered in.  There would be proper draw in from the highway for vehicles.  The Surveyor recommended the application be granted, subject to the work being carried out to his satisfaction.  The application was granted.

  • 1935-6 Pikes -

    • Maison Dieu - The British Oxygen Company, Ltd.  Stanley B. caretaker

    • 12 Castle Street - Weber & Son, watchmaker and registered firearm and ammunition dealer.

  • 25 October 1935 Dover Express - ST. JAMES' -  FROM THE AIR  - The air view of the portion of Dover between Castle Street and Sea Front includes, on the left, above old St. James' Church, The Trevanion Street area which is to be pulled down.  In the bottom left of the corner is the site of Castle Hill widening, to start soon.  In the centre can be seen the route between Russell Street and Guilford Lawn, contemplated as a new road a century ago, and abandoned.  How large an area was once devoted to messers Leney and Co's Brewery behind Castle Street is noticeable.  If this picture had been taken thirty years ago, there would have been a gasometer where the East Kent Road Car sheds are; the Granada would have been a brewery yard; there might have been a circus building on the empty plot now the site of the Oxygen Works; the premises of Messers Rowland were Wollaston Knocker's garden; the parking yard off Castle Street was part of the Tannery; whilst on the Front, the Granville Gardens (without a pavilion) were open as a miniature park.  The Y.M.C.A. building's site was garden ground.  In the Market Square, old property - The "Garricks Head" etc - stood where Lloyds bank can be seen and the Fountain Inn was at the corner of where the Westminster Bank now is.

  • 6 March 1936 Dover Express - OXYGEN WORKS AS GARAGES - Work commenced this week on alterations to transform into a garage and petrol station the disused works of the British Oxygen Company in Maison Dieu Road.  The garage is for Southern Autos, Limited.  The Oxygen Factory was erected in 1923, when there was a big demand at Dover for oxygen for the ship-breaking yards at the east cliff.  They cost 15000 to build, the contractors being the Edwards Construction Company.  The site was the result of a clearance scheme which took place in 1892, when a big block of cottages was pulled down to widen the connection between Maison Dieu Road and Woolcomber Street, which was widened at the same time.  The vacant site was at one time selected for a proposed theatre.  A circus occasionally used the place for the winter season, and other temporary erections, including an Army hut during the war, formed the only use of the site during the thirty years that elapsed since demolition.

  • 1936 - Loaned image: Dover Museum and Bronze age Boat Gallery

  • 31 July 1936 Dover Express - advert

  • 2nd February 1936 Dover Express - advert

  • 30 April 1937 Dover Express - advert

  • 27 Aug 1937 Dover Express - DOVER DIAMOND MOTOR CLUB - The club's second grass track meeting of the season will take place at the Chalk Farm speedway, Green Lane, Buckland, on Sunday, September 12th, at 2.30pm.  There is friendly rivalry between members of the club as to who will win the Southern Autos Cup for best performance and points obtained by a member during a meeting.  The holder of this cup is Mr. D Hibbert (346 A.J.S.).  Already machines are being tuned and hotted up for the meeting admission 6d, car park free.  Details and entry forms may be obtained from Mr T.A. Carter. Carter's Grand Garage, Townwall Street.

  • 1938-9 Pikes

    • Maison Dieu - Southern Autos Ltd, showroom & repair department tel 89

    • 12 Castle Street - Webber, j & Son. watchmaker and registered firearm & ammunition dealer.

  • 21 October 1938 Dover Express - advert - for a smart lad in the cellulose shop, apply in person.  Southern Autos Ltd

  • 31 March 1939 Dover Express - advert

  • 29 Nov 1940 Dover Express - Southern Autos Ltd, Maison Dieu Road Dover have the pleasure of announcing that they have secured workshop accommodation in a safer area - in future all major service work will be carried out there - a small staff will be available in town for T.A.T. and other minor services.  Have your repairs done in safety - all normal facilities still available phone 89 Dover.

  • 28 February 1941 Dover Express - advert

Maison Dieu Road - Southern Autos

  • 14 July 1944 Dover Express - Southern Autos Ltd. Notice. Will customers please note that our Maison Dieu Road Works will be Closed during the period July 15th to 24th.  A skeleton staff will remain in the motor vehicle and agricultural departments to take care of breakdowns and issue emergency spares, etc


  • 1 June 1945 Dover Express - Basic petrol may have enabled you to put your car on the road again; let us know if you nee assistance; batteries, tyres, insurance, overhaul or repainting, etc.  If you are not going to run it, perhaps you will sell it?  We will give you the highest possible price.  A phone call or letter will receive our best attention. - Southern Autos, Ltd Dover. Phone 89.

  • 5 October 1945 Dover Express - advert

  • 5 October 1945 Dover Express - Garage Sign - The deputy surveyor reported that an application has been received from Southern Autos for permission to erect a projection in Castle Place.  It would be 4ft 6ins. from the face of the building, and would project 2ft over the highway at a height of 12ft.  Alderman Cairns said that the number of cars that there was good enough advertisement  for them.  No one could get through the two rows of cars.  The application was granted.

The sign, referred to (above), can be seen in this photo from the 1950's

Southern Autos - Sign

  • 1949 Pikes - Southern Autos Ltd, Showroom and service department. Tel 89.

  • 1950-53 kellys - Southern Autos Ltd, motor car agents and engineers. Tel 1232/3/4

  • 1956 kellys - Southern Autos Ltd. motor car agents, self-drive car hire & school of motoring. tel Dover 1232/3/4 

  • 20 March 1959 Dover Express - BFIRE BUG VISITS DOVER GARAGE - Explosive Risk Saved By Prompt Action

Police are searching for a fire raiser who is at work in Dover.  Twice in seven days he has struck at Southern Autos garage in Woolcomber Street.  The second time was in the early hours of Monday Moring when the alarm was raised by Mr Roy Kennedy of 13 Castle Street.

He was returning home soon after 1a.m. when he saw black smoke billowing from a second hand car displayed in the fence surrounded park which faces Castle Street.  He called the fire brigade.

The car, a Hillman Minx, was badly damaged with a tyre burnt, the upholstery ruined and part of a boot burn through.  Another car was blistered with the heat.

After putting out the blaze firemen called Police when they found a trail of petrol from an upturned two gallon petrol can.

Detectives discovered that the fire raiser had upset the petrol, allowing it to run into the display forecourt.  Then he had set fire to the petrol trail and left.

Mr Kennedy told the police that when he saw the fire there was nobody else about.

Mr Reg Harris, a director of Southern Autos said, "This can only be a case or arson it must be the work of a crank.  It is the second time in seven days that it has happened.  Last time no damage was caused but we told the Police."

I think it must be a crank who has a hatred of cars in general.  We have no suspicions who who could be doing it.  We have not sacked anyone recently and I don't think there is anything personal in it.

"But for the luck that Mr Kennedy was passing and reported the blaze this could have been quite serious if the tank of the Hillman and caught light an explosion might have wrecked the other dozen vehicles displayed with it" he said.

  • 1959 March 6 - advert


  • 1959 Sep 11 - Advert

  • 1959 Oct 11 - Advert


  • 1962 kellys - Southern Autos Ltd, motor car agents, Self drive hire car. Tel Dover 1232/3/4

  • 1962 - Advert from "The Junior Sapper, The Journal of the Junior Leaders Regiment, Royal Engineers, Christmas term 1962"

maison dieu - 1962 - southern autos

  • 1965 kellys

  • 1969 trade directory -

  • 1972 (BT)


photo circa 1972

  • 31 Dec 1973 - the winding up of Southern Autos

Southern Autos - 1973-12-31 a

Southern Autos - 1973-12-31 b

Extrodinary meeting

  • 1973 -  George Hammond took over both Southern Autos Garage and Handfords Garage at Whitfield, combining both garages at the Whitfield Garage site under the new name of George Hammond (motors) - Click here for Whitfield Garage

  • Southern Autos was closed, this photo from 1974 shows a view from the rear entrance in Russell Street, through the archway into the old Southern Autos site, NB the caravans assumed to be part of the Townsend Thoreson operation on this site for their caravan and camping service.

Southern Autos site viewed from Russel Street 1974

  • The building used by Townsend Thoreson  for their Caravan and Camping service, Photo JE Gilham 1975

  • 1980 the site was again empty and demolition of the buildings took place in preparation for the new MFI site. Photo JE Gilham 1980