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Smithfield Garage


Rob C

I'm researching the Smithfield garage site, Meriden Street , Digbeth.
Using Kelly's directories, I've found that there was a Basket Manufacturers there beforehand and also a Branch of the King Edward VI school.

Does anyone know any details about these or have any images?
Also, does anyone know much about the Smithfield Garage? Or know anyone that used to work there?

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Rob C

Yes I found they did sell VW's.
It's seems though that a garage with such a grand entrance has been somewhat forgotton!


Gone, but not forgotten.
This is the only photo I have showing Smithfield Garage, but I am sure there must be plenty more about. I remember the garage itself very well as it was there for years. As you can see from the photo at this time the corner was occupied by a branch of the Westminster Bank.



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Super Moderator
Staff member
These show the side of the Smithfield Garage, looking up meridan st towards digbeth, taken by me about 1970




master brummie
Smithfield eventually became Hartwell Smithfield.They have been trading in VWs for over 40 years.(Hartwell was established in 1919)In 2004 VW UK decided to lose the Hartwell VW dealersips as part of restructuring.
VW UK stated in 1952

Brookfields Lad

master brummie
I worked there from 1971.

I remember it had two showrooms, the one on the left was for V.W's and the one on the right was for B.M.W's.



ell brown on Flickr
I walked past this today in a rainy Digbeth.

The Smithfield Garage Limited. Dated 1923. By Harry W Weedon (according to Pevsner).



ell brown on Flickr
Also on Meriden Street (near the Bordesley Viaduct), I spotted this building being renovated.

89-90 Meriden Street

It was Attenborough & Peacock Birmingham Ltd on Google Street Maps view!

Jamie 24

Brummie babby
I worked there for about 12 months as a 15 year old kid, in 1953. We all wore green overalls with 'Smithfield Garage' written in red letters across the back.

I was in the body shop in Meriden street. The foreman was Charlie Cooper. His son Johnny Cooper worked there after finishing his National Service, but left soon after.One of the panel beaters was an ex WW1 RWR veteran name Harry Chatterley, who served in the trenches in France, aged just sixteen! He left to join Perry Bros in Andover Street (as I did later)
The bloke in charge of the wood machines (lots of wood in lorries in those days) was Alfie Yates.

Being just a kid I was the 'bookies runner' I used to take the bets up Meriden Street, just under the railway bridge, to a back street bookie (off course betting was illegal in those days I was told) named Ma Froggat (I think!)
The works manager was Mr Bill Winkely. The mechanics foreman was named Charlton.

Smithfield Garage was owned by the Ladbrooke family.

Smithfield were the main agent for V.W.

A few years later I met a bloke while serving in Malaya, who's dad had actually bought a VW from Smithfield Garage......


New Member
My dad bought his VW Devon Moonraker camper van brand new from Smithfield Garage in January 1971 to pick up my late mum from Solihull hospital after she'd given birth to my sister. The model was a carry over from 1970 but came with cutlery, Melaware crockery and all the usual accessories (sink, cooker, bunk beds, pop-up roof etc). We went all over the UK in it.
After a disasterous restoration attempt that ended with the restorer's garage closing, last year I stumped up the cash to have it professionally done. They did a fair rather than excellent job sadly missing off the blue-on-clear Smithfield Garages dealer decal on the rear window.


Kentish Brummie
The garage today. Looking a bit tired but at least some of the workshop remains on Meriden Street. Viv.


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New Member
If I can upload the file (which is too large apparently) I've a photo of my dad's original black Smithfield Garage LTD keyring fob stating the phone no. 021 643 7341 and it being in Birmingham and 'for service'. On the other side is a metal black-and-chrome Volkswagen badge with the Wolfsburg symbol.


gone but not forgotten
Hi Bob
Just a quick question was billy Winkle a little man in height as the name is familiar
The guy I knew wasa man in charge of a department and his wife was a sister at the st margrets hospital over great
Bar I believe he came from over that way best wishes Astonian,,,,,Alan,,,


gone but not forgotten
Hi old boy Chris
As I am only using a note book some words do not come out correctly its only when I flash back to check spellings
Some times I over see some words where I have got winkle I have mixed the y out
The more I think about it Mr Winkle I am sure he is or was the. Man,
I do believe I have met Mr Winkle as he as a son whom years back in the seventys was an old friend of mine
I knew he lived in king standing but I think I have his sons address some where so I am going to try and find it
Or I might just get my nephews whom live down the road from them they lived opersite the Dears Leap pub
And see if I can get it confirmed it was is dad or not as I am sure he worked there
Best wishes old boy , Alan,,Astonian,,,,


New Member
! worked at Smithfield Garage in 1966. At that time the VW repair side of things was done on Little Ann St. The main garage was still very much into selling/servicing vehicles from Rootes Group. Eventually the emphasis became VW and the Rootes Group side of things stopped. Everything was then centred on the main premises in Meriden St.