By 1961 31% of home owned a car and it was this increase in car ownership that led to better roads, more long distance travel and the birth of the motorway services providing much needed refreshment for the traveller.
Today it is hard to believe that in the 1960’s motorway services became fashionable destinations to dine at in their own right! The first motorway services were the Blue Boar at Watford Gap and were very popular with the rock and pop glitterati of the time and this was probably because they were the first places where you could get food and drink 24/7 – quite a novelty back in the day!
The Beatles, Dusty Springfield and the Rolling Stones were regulars at the Blue Boar and the story goes that Jimi Hendrix thought Blue Boar was the name of a London club because so many of his contemporaries talked about it!
As well as fast food outlets and a traditional cafeteria serving all day breakfasts, there were more formal restaurants with smartly dressed waiting staff and chefs in starched white and high-topped hats. Food was elaborate for the time with starters like Melon Boat and Prawn Cocktail, Grilled meats and Continental Gateaux or cheese to finish.
Growing up my local motorway services were Forton Services just outside Lancaster. These opened in 1965 and became famous for their very distinctive round tower, which looked like something out of Star Trek to a four year old me – but that’s another story …..