St Laurence School -
On the eastern side of the road were Shepstone’s garage, the WI Hut and Grey’s Haulage. Les Shepstone started ‘The Premier Garage’ in 1919 and son Roy continued to run it until he retired in 1970. The garage was rebuilt in the early 1930’s. They were among the first local garages to be licensed to do MoT’s when they were introduced in 1960. Roy along with mechanics from Tilleys and Channons were trained at Bristol. Len Smith, Brian Webb and Charlie Langridge were some of those who worked at Shepstone’s. When Roy retired in 1970, local celebrity racing driver Wyn Percy bought the garage trading as Wey Valley Service Station and today it trades as Wey Valley Mazda, although they no longer sell petrol.
The home of Upwey & Broadwey WI from 1921 to 1966 was an ex-
This soon became a focus for village life as it could be hired for social events. Parties, fetes, whist drives and jumble sales were all held here; dances too, until the floor became unsafe and the WI had to restrict lettings to ‘less energetic events’.
The WI eventually sadly agreed that the hut had come to the end of its life and moved into purpose built rooms at the Memorial Hall in Victoria Avenue in 1966. Shepstone’s purchased the site to enlarge their premises.
The Rev J Grey came to the Congregational Chapel, Upwey in 1918, living with his family at The Manse (672
Dorchester Rd). In 1921 Rev Grey bought the piece of land adjoining The Manse for £70, to start his son in the petrol business. John Grey ran Wessex Carriers, doing haulage work with 2 or 3 lorries; Reg Dominey and Bert Hart were among the drivers. He had one petrol pump selling Russian Oil Product (ROP) petrol in direct competition with Les Shepstone who had 2 BP petrol pumps next door.
The original building was wooden, probably rebuilt in the 1930’s. Being a large building it had various uses. In the 1930’s and early 1940’s the right hand side was used to garage cars owned by local people.
During the second world war the construction battalion of the US navy took over part of the premises to provide a repair service for radiators etc. The name ‘Seabees’ was painted over the right hand door. The Royal Engineers and bomb disposal squad also used the premises.
Following the war the haulage business was nationalised by the government and Wessex Carriers was taken over by the British Road Service. Lt Com G Soutar and CPO Barnes started Dorset Welders in approx 1948, they were acetylene welders making gates, railings, iron framed/asbestos sheet garages and sheds.
Eddie Notley, local builder and sign writer from Laurel Cottage, Laurel Lane, was given the job of painting the sign ‘Dorset Welders’ (using Leyland paint), and together with his son-
Rothan Radiators, opened a branch of their Bournemouth based firm in the premises in 1949. They specialised in the repair of tractor and car radiators and grilles, supplying car springs and brake linings among other things. They had an outrider who would travel round the area collecting items for repair from farmers and blacksmiths. Harry Hill managed the workshop working with Bob Mowlam and Reg Fursey. In the late 1950’s Mr Rothan, who lived at Parkstone, sold the business to Marston and emigrated with his family. Later Marston Radiators became Serck Marston. Other businesses who shared the premises include Frank Bishop who had an ironmongers shop there in the 1940’s; Eric Lee (LeeLine Motors) rented part of the building for his Dorset Motor Body Works business, late 1940’s; H Sheppard, motor engineer specialising in Volkswagen vehicles in the 1960’s.
Early in 2006 the premises were closed with business transferred to Serck Marston in Poole. In 2007 permission was granted to demolish the building and the site is now used as car sales area by Wey Valley Mazda.
In a commanding position the Upwey Congregational Chapel and schoolroom was built in 1881. There was a very loyal congregation who worked hard to maintain the building and the small graveyard. In 1958 the chapel was saved from closure with the help of the Dorset Congregational Association and a link with Radipole Congregational Church. Reverend Maliphant and his wife were the last to occupy The Manse. In 1972 the chapel became the Upwey United Reformed Church and The Manse was sold. In February 1990 a storm damaged the west facing façade and once again local people helped to repair and make the building safe. The last service at the church was held in July 1992, and the building sold.
On the opposite side of the road was Upwey Nurseries; a traditional nursery raising plants from seed. During the war Mr Sansom had been growing tomatoes, but one spring all the young tomato plants got blight and had to be removed. It was too late to resow them, so Mr Sansom planted two large glasshouses with cucumbers.
This crop was very successful -
By the mid 1960’s Peter Miles was running the nursery, still in the traditional manner. During the busy ‘pricking out’ season local people were employed to help out. The greenhouses were near the pavement and as you passed you could watch them at work and see the tomatoes growing.
In 1979 competition from the new ‘garden centres’ where plants were brought in and a wider range of products sold were beginning to be a threat to traditional growers such as Peter Miles.
However the nursery continued until the mid 1980’s when the Charitable Trust which owned the land sold it for building and in the 1990’s a development of houses was built – called Miles Gardens as a link to its previous use.