Scott's Garage

Town's early car repair centre


One of the earliest motor garages in Dunstable once stood among the businesses in this part of High Street South. It was called Scott and Sons.

It was founded by William Scott, who came here from Wiltshire in 1878 and trained as a blacksmith. Then he set up his own business hiring out bicycles and then servicing cars.

William's sons were Albert and his elder brother Ben. Ben, who sometimes worked late into the night helping to mend bicycles ready for the next day's customers, became a prominent local citizen. He was Mayor of Dunstable from 1952 to 1954. His daughter Christina was headmistress of what became Queensbury School.

Next door to Scott's, nearer the Saracen's Head, was a famous antique shop called Ye Old Retreat. It was owned by Harry Rixson, whose brother William had two antique shops in Church Street. Ye Old Retreat was a very old building. A Tudor fireplace was uncovered there during renovation work.

The Rixson brothers were the sons of George Rixson, landlord of the Plume of Feathers pub in Church Street.

On the other side of Scott's garage was a grocery shop and home of the Fowler family. This stood alongside the Munt and Brown hat factory which closed in 1908 and was demolished to create what is now the gateway to Priory Gardens.

Fowler's grocery shop was pulled down in the 1930s and the garage expanded on to the site. A curious local fact is that the shop's roof tiles were carefully preserved and used again on a new Tudor-style house built for local auctioneer Charles Allcorn in West Street. The house is now a care home.

The antique shop and the garage were pulled down in the 1960s and replaced by newer buildings which originally included the town's first Tesco supermarket.

A photo of High Street South showing the old Tesco store.
The front of the 'Scott and Sons' store.
Scott's garage around 1910 with the Harry Rixson antiques shop next door.

Text: John Buckledee of Dunstable and District Local History Society. ©
Design: David Turner.
Narration: Katherine Yates of Dunstable Repertory Company.
Recording: David Hornsey.
Website developer: Joshua Buckledee.