Thursday, 30 July 2009

United Service Transport Co. Ltd., Southfields

For the first mosaic posted on this blog I decided to go for something big! Actually I can only think of one commercial mosaic roughly as long as this one, which adorns the former garage of the United Service Transport Company. Looking at the building and the lettering, I would suspect it dates from the 1930s.

The former forecourt is occupied by a petrol station and the roof above the pumps makes it difficult to get a decent picture. The one below was made by stitching six different photos. It is not perfect but should give a good indication of the size of this wall mosaic. Click on it for an enlarged version.

Location: Merton Road / Both pictures taken on: 04/03/2008

The green / gold colour scheme is really effective and stands out nicely against the bricks. It is pretty similar to that of the lovely Art Nouveau mosaics of T. J. Boulding & Sons in Fitzrovia.

Even though Balham-based United Service Transport seemed to have been quite a large company, I could not find anything about it in the local history books available at nearby libraries. All I could gather was that by 1965, the company and its large but ageing fleet were taken over by the Ewer Group, once one of Britain's largest coach operators.

The back of the building on Burr Road is now occupied by a car dealer and all traces of the original owner have disappeared.


Peter de Mayford said...

My father worked for the company 1958-1968; also his mother probably early 1900s. It started out making bicycles for the home and export markets; she tested some of them in the back garden. Later it went into motorised transport and hired out charabancs. All this developed into long-term vehicle rental: road tankers, coaches, newspaper delivery vans for the Express group, frozen food delivery vans. It was taken over by RCA Radio Corporation of America in 1968, and my father was made redundant. On the forecourt at Southfields there was a sign made up of a multitude of stainless steel discs that reflected in the light. Sorry no photos.

Sebastien Ardouin said...

Thanks a lot Peter for all these informations!