Brook’s Garage

Aberford Road in the 1920s. The car on the right has pulled up at Harry Brook’s garage.

Harry Brook’s garage was the first to open in Oulton and Woodlesford in about 1921. It sold petrol from the Texas Fuel Company which was later renamed Texaco. It’s also believed to have had one of the first petrol pumps in Yorkshire.

In 1926 Thomas Surbey, a haulage contractor who was delivering bricks for new houses being built on Green Lea, was taken to court for “obtaining petrol on false premises.” He had showed the attendant, Bernard Wright, paperwork from the Methley based builders Parrot & Co. but they said he shouldn’t be buying petrol in their name. The magistrate let him off with a warning but police then charged him with a similar offence at Garforth.

In the 1930s the garage was run by Harry Hankinson up until his sudden death, at the age of 47, whilst on holiday at Southport in 1939. He had trained as a fitter, probably at an engineering firm in Hunslet, before taking over the garage, most likely as a tenant of Harry Brook.

Harry Hankinson’s father, William Henry Hankinson, was the son of a gamekeeper from Girsby near Louth in Lincolnshire. William was the under keeper to his father until he moved to Yorkshire in 1882 and became a police constable for the West Riding Constabulary. One of his first postings was to Woodlesford where he met and later married Maud Mary Barnes, the daughter of a joiner who had come to the village from Dorset in the 1870s and lived on Applegarth.

At the time of their marriage in 1891 William Henry was working in Stanley but a year or so later he was posted to Askern near Doncaster where Harry and his brother Bertie were born. When he retired from the police force William brought his family back to Woodlesford where he was the landlord of the Two Pointers pub for over 20 years from about 1911. He was 80 years old when died a year after his son in 1940.

Harry Hankinson’s wife was Clarice Fowler, the daughter of a draper’s assistant. They had married n 1918 but it’s not clear if she continued to run the garage through the Second World War up until her own death in 1949. Eventually the garage returned to the management of the Brook family with Harry’s son, Dennis, taking over during the 1950s. After being rebuilt in the early 1960s the garage closed in the summer of 1971 and the site, including a filled-in quarry to the rear, was turned into a supermarket and car park.

A Riley 9 Monaco saloon being filled up at Brook’s garage in the early 1930s. The telephone number was Rothwell 66.
Harry Brook’s garage was later run by his son Dennis Brook. This photo shows mechanic Jack Ryder with his daughter. He worked previously at the brewery as a driver’s mate to Albert Butterick whose wife worked at the garage as a cleaner in the 1950s.
A rebuilt Brook’s garage in the 1960s.
Brook’s garage in September 1971. It had closed two months earlier and along with the adjacent five lock-up shops was soon to be demolished to make way for a new supermarket.