Andersons Garage

Andersons Garage

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Robert Anderson (1872-1937), known as R.A was the founder of the garage. He left school at the age of eleven  to help his widowed mother run the Coal Merchant and Hauliers business founded in 1832 in Spiersbridge near Thornliebank, on the outskirts of Glasgow  by his grandfather, William Anderson.

Robert was a keen cyclist and developed a cycle repair business in Spiersbridge, obtaining the agency for Humber Cycles in 1897.  Developing a further interest in the internal combustion engine he began to repair motor cars and, in 1902, opened a garage in Newton Mearns. The house which he built alongside the garage was named Craigard.

andersons1Andersons Garage (Andersons of Newton Mearns) was situated on the Kilmarnock Road (Ayr Rd) just south of Newton Mearns Cross on the ground now occupied by ASDA.  A branch was opened in Giffnock in 1915. Until it ceased trading in 1980, the garage was held in high esteem by its customers and in the motor trade. The phrase ‘Andersons of Newton Mearns’ was a synonym for quality, efficiency and ethical trading.  

The first car which R.A. owned was a Beeston Humber which he purchased in 1904:  the registration number plate was HS 39. The first car sold by the garage was a 10/12 Coventry Humber in 1906; the purchaser was Mr James Fyfe Jamieson and the price of the car, which was described as ‘four seated with side entrance’ was £358-6-6d.

andersons2Well known and respected for the innovative skills developed there, it is believed that Andersons constructed and delivered the first motorised ambulance in Scotland in 1912 and in 1919 was one of the first garages in Scotland to install petrol pumps. At this time when petrol was usually supplied in two gallon tanks, Andersons installed underground petrol storage tanks, ensuring full tanks for their customers.

Other innovations included a flow line service facility (an efficient production line) by which means 50 cars could be serviced in a day and a brake testing machine. This was the fore runner of the modern day rolling road brake testing system as used in M.O.T. tests today.  At its height the garage employed over one hundred and thirty people and had a training school for twenty five apprentices.

andersons3R.A. died in 1937 leaving his three sons, *James, **Robert and  ***Maurice to carry on the business. Robert was in charge of sales and Maurice looked after the engineering side of the business.  They continued to promote and expand the garage until Maurice’s death in 1964.  On Robert’s death in 1977 his sons, Robbie and Dirk, assumed the responsibility for running the garage. James left the company following the 1939-1945 war and opened a factory in Thornliebank Industrial Estate in order to promote his revolutionary Vertimax Lathe, one of the first successful machine tools with a fabricated casing. .

Humber amalgamated with the Rootes Group in the early 1930s and Andersons continued their dealership with the Group, at one time selling 1700 cars a year. A combination of circumstances affected the viability of Andersons Garage which was forced to announce its closure in 1980, whilst still in a position to meet its liabilities. This was a sad day for the Newton Mearns community, many members of which had found employment there for three quarters of a century.
* James was a brilliant engineer who planned and constructed the Anderson Specials, four experimental racing cars in the 1920s and 1930s. The best known of the Specials was the Bug, registration number HS 7141, which is on display in the Kelvingrove Museum. During the Second World War James directed munitions production in the garage. In recognition of the contribution made by the firm to the war effort was acknowledged by Mr Churchill.  James was awarded the M.B.E.

** Robert, R.A.’s son, was the first President of the Rootes Dealers Association and like his father was President of the Scottish Motor Traders Association, in 1943 and again in 1953.

***In the 1950s Maurice Anderson and his co-driver, Roy Hastie, were awarded  the coveted  Concours de Comfort prize outright in the Monte Carlo Rally, having competed successfully on several occasions.

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