Service station visions

The prospect of motorway service areas excited the imagination of planners and the public alike. Some sense of this can be gained from reading articles which appeared in The Motor magazine, which were often accompanied by artists’ impressions of what these new amenities might look like.  Unsurprisingly, most were conceived along very modernist lines, although their spacing harked back in many ways to the marcher camps and other wayside settlements placed along the Roman road network.

Motorway Service

It is the intention of the Ministry of Transport to make provision for servicing areas at intervals of perhaps 12 miles along these roads…In addition to petrol pumps and relative service facilities on each side of the motorway, there will be restaurants, cafes and parking and picnicking areas.

The Motor 111 no. 2883 (26 June 1957), p. 719.

Picture of Services

This is our artist’s impression of what one of these services areas will look like.  These are spaced at about 12-mile intervals along the motorway and will provide petrol filling stations (at least three brands of fuel), parking areas, picnic sites, transport cafes, restaurants, and telephones.  The restaurant, which are unlikely to be provided in every one of the servicing areas may be in the bridges which join the self-contained halves of the area.  Access to the petrol pumps and to the other facilities will be by slip-roads leading off the motorway some distance from the servicing areas.

service area2

The Motor 113 no. 2925 (16 April 1958), p. 40.



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