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BP Petrol Station
John Clark Way


Prior to becoming BP, the company traded as National Benzole, and I recall the petrol station in Bedford road, Rushden, selling their fuel; this later went over to the Co-op (sold Shell fuels after that?).

It had four pumps providing two premium grades, a commercial grade and diesel, plus a pump for the two-stroke vehicles, mainly for British motor bikes, but certain cars were using two stroke fuel.

The Wartburg was a car built in East Germany that was running on two stroke petrol, and some of the early Saab cars were needing the petrol/oil mix.

Not forgetting the air pump to check the tyre pressures were OK.

Tyre options were more limited back in the 1950s and 60s but default names were Dunlop, Avon, Goodyear, Michelin, Pirelli Tyres, (also a favourite girlie calendar in car related offices) it would seem.

The site in Bedford Road is now owned by Steve and Maureen Horsley, with various car washes being based there over the years.

Steve’s father used to run the pet shop at the top of the High street, which was next door to Wills fashion shop. That was called “John Horsley” at number 6 High Street, and it was festooned by adverts on the exterior wall heralding “Spratts” animal products.

When the shop changed hands, it was bought by “Pat Holt” in the mid 80s; his wife Patricia had been working for “John Horsley” prior to this.

Long before we had “Sat-navs” (satellite navigation),  we had to lay a map out and start working out where we going to. And National did have some maps out during the 1950s, which cost 3 shillings and sixpence (17 new pence).They had 50 pages of colour mapping for you to enjoy.

“National” still trades today, but only in a couple places, one being the Isle of Wight, and the other being 700 miles north in Shetland.

The company called BP started out in 1908 with the discovery of oil in Persia. Over the years they have diversified with coal and oil, with a mixture of onshore, and the tricky and dangerous deep water oil fields.

The first oil arrived from BP’s Forties Field in 1975, and three years later we were enjoying around 20% of our needs in the UK. Currently in 2021 there are 184 oil rigs operating in the North Sea.

No doubt in years to come the future will move from those fossil fuels towards a lower carbon future!

The UK government has confirmed a 2030 ban on the sale of new petrol, diesels and hybrids, so the clock is ticking.

During 2020 there was a push towards “electric vehicles”, although they are priced out of the reach of most people. The cheapest car with any sort of mileage range start at around £30, 000.

So a halfway house could be the choice of “hybrid” vehicles, Hybrid electric vehicles are powered by an internal combustion engine and an electric motor, which uses energy stored in batteries.

The building of the BP site went underway during the final months of 2020, and by the start of 2021, temporary traffic lights were in place outside the BP site, and work was going on to dig out the approach leading on to the forecourt.

Open 24 hours.
Variety of vehicles.

BP’s newest site opened on Thursday 18th February, 2021, and can be found at the top of John Clark Way in Rushden.

Serving a range of fuels and products 24 hours per day, but surprisingly, there are currently no electric charging points for “electric vehicles”?

Although AdBlue is available at the pumps, this is a non-toxic diesel exhaust fluid, made up of high purity “urea” and deionized water used to treat exhausts on diesel engines to reduce harmful emission.

The name of “John Clark” originated from a member of a former Rushden shoe making company called “Jaques and Clark” which had its factory in Midland Road and Station Road. It was started in 1890. Sadly the factory shut in 1980, and is now a block of flats.

At the time of the launch of the BP site, fuel sales might be hit by the lack of demand due to the Covid 19 lockdown situation and motorists being confined to barracks for much of the time.

But comparing the opening BP pump prices to Asda, it stacks up like this. BP are selling diesel at £119.9 per litre, and unleaded petrol at £116.9 per litre.

Less than a mile down the road at Asda, it was £121.7 for a litre of diesel, and £118.7 for the unleaded petrol. Although it is to be noted that Asda is owned by the same company that owns “Euro Garages”!

Food for thought.

“Greggs,” a “Starbucks drive through” and “Sainsbury's on the go” are part of the offering at Rushden's newest service station.

View from John Clark Way.

On the day of my visit, it was pretty busy, and all looked quite impressive.

The site is open 24 hours per day, and is operated by “Euro Garages,” the company that now owns “Asda,” this was acquired in 2020.

Based up in Blackburn, Euro Garages was founded in 2001 by brothers Mohsin and Zuber Issa with the acquisition of a single petrol filling station in Bury, Greater Manchester.

The Issa brothers own “Euro Garage Group,” which now has more than 5,200 petrol stations across the UK and Europe, and also the many Asda supermarket stores.

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