Woodfords Garage was originally established in 1924 on the
London Road in Wickford, by Frank Woodford.
Frank was born in 1893 at Shanklin on the Isle of Wight, son of
Walter and Hannah Woodford he was one of twelve children. He
enjoyed being involved in and around horses, becoming a
proficient horseman at a young age. On leaving school Frank
earned his living as a horse dealer. With the introduction of the
motor vehicle and them becoming widely available in the early
1900s demand for horses started to fall, in the midst of a severe
recession on the island it was becoming increasingly difficult for
Frank to earn a living forcing him whilst still only in his teens to make
the decision to move to the mainland. His father, a dairyman, had
already moved to Wickford in search of work and had taken up a
position at a dairy farm, Frank decided to follow him and managed
to find employment in service at a large Country Home which at
the time were the nation’s biggest employers. It was here whilst in
service he would meet May Booth whom in 1914 he would marry at
St James, Paddington.
After they were married Frank & May moved to Ramsden
Bellhouse, in September 1916 at Billericay hospital Herbert Victor
Francis Woodford was born, the following year Frank was
conscripted into the army and posted to a desk job in Tilbury, it
was whilst living in Tilbury that his daughters Phyllis & Eileen
Woodford were born.
In 1924 after a spell in Galleywood, the family moved to a bungalow
Frank built at 115 London Road Wickford, it was in front of this on
the roadside a few feet from the curb Frank built a wooden shed
from where they started selling petrol & eggs, planting the seeds
for Woodfords Garage. The petrol was sold in two gallon cans,
which were delivered on a flat back truck & stored in a unit behind
the shed. May usually manned the store, between serving
customers she would knit various garments for customers, to make
some additional income.
In the 1930s Frank sold the garage to his younger brother Arthur
Victor Woodford (Uncle Vic, pictured below). Vic had been released
from the Royal Navy due to an apparent heart condition having
served King & country since 1910 at the slender age of 16.
In 1945 at the end of WWII Herbert Victor Francis Woodford (Vic)
Uncle Vic’s nephew, returned from the war where he had served in
the RAF in both the African & Italian theatres. On his return he used
his de mob money to purchase a 50% share in Woodford’s Garage
to become an equal partner with his uncle Vic.
On July 24th 1946 Vic married Amelia Rose Orrock(Mim), at
Billericay’s Catholic Church. After they were married Vic & Mim
moved into a bungalow (Hillbower) in London Road, only a stone’s
throw away from the garage. In August 1948 their first child Richard
was born & in June 1950 their second David, they went on to have
seven children in total.
In 1954 Vic Purchased 113 London Road, a bungalow on a large
plot bordering the garage, it was here he built a four bedroom
house as the new family home, he also expanded the petrol
forecourt enabling the installation of new larger capacity storage
tanks & five additional petrol pumps, these changes allowed
customers to drive through the site to enter & exit whereas
previously they had to either park on the curb or pull onto the small
forecourt & reverse out, the additional space also allowed for the
expansion of the car sales.
The business continued to grow & thrive, in 1963 as a 15 year old
Richard left school to work at the garage and a year later 14 year
old David joined his brother in the family firm.
In 1972 the brothers further expanded the business leasing a
showroom in Leigh on Sea where they ran a successful used car
In 1973 their Father Vic decided to semi retire so Richard & David
took the opportunity to buy a major share of the business &
proceeded over the next few years to carry out a huge expansion
program taking the company from strength to strength by
redeveloping the entire site, building a much larger square four self
service petrol forecourt, a state of the art kiosk, car showroom,
workshop, & MOT bays. The Company went on to win various
prestigious awards from Mobil Oil Company, for both quality of
services offered & record volumes of both fuel & oil sales. The
pinnacle of success for the brothers was when in 1982, they
managed to become one of the first sites in the UK to obtain the
The Brothers parted company in 1990 selling the family business to
allow them to pursue separate paths, Richard staying in the UK
whilst David deciding to fulfill his dream of building homes in
Atlanta Georgia, USA, which he continues to do to this day with his
eldest son David Junior, building over 50 homes a year.
In 1991 the Garage in Wickford became available again and David
could not resist the opportunity to acquire the site once more, it
was at this point he introduced his youngest son Roger to the
In 1993 the family acquired its second branch at 38 Maldon Road
in Burnham On Crouch, the garage was still operating attended
service, their first task was to convert it from attended to self
service by replacing the petrol pumps, they also added a retail shop
and car sales. The Family has a strong affinity with Burnham as it is
where in 1966 at the age of 16 David met Lynda Blanche Hawkes at
the Carnival Hall, they married at the families United Reformed
Church in 1969.
Lynda’s ancestors the Marshall Family are first recorded as residing
in Burnham On Crouch in 1796, this was her 3rd Great Grandfather
James Marshall an Oyster dredger. Her great grandfather James
Marshall junior a Master Mariner & Wife Ellen were residents at No
22 Lilian Rd when the Dreadful Fire took place in 1927 at No 24,
her Mother Violet Marshall, Roger’s Grandmother who sadly passed
away at the Grand age of 98 in 2017, often told the story of how she
remembered her father carrying her over his shoulder down the
stairs and outside to safety, 8 homes were destroyed that night
leaving 59 people homeless and all their possessions lost to the fire.
Since 2004 Roger & Amy Woodford have been the partners in the
garage they have introduced many new services adding car and van
hire in 2004, drawing on senior Mechanic and Family Friend Darren
Winckless interest in Motorcycles to add Class 1 & 2 MOT testing
& repairs. In 2017 due to customer demand they expanded into
garden machinery servicing and repairs and have now become a
sales and service agent for WEBB garden machinery and Stiga.
They are now in the process of adding hopefully the final pieces to
the jigsaw by modernizing the premises starting by building a
brand-new Class 1-7 ATL MOT lane. As well as this they have also
updated the forecourt and in October 2019 proudly became the
first Super Pace in the country.
The final touches of the new 900 square foot Spar/Pace branded
Retail shop are now complete. The hope is that the new shop which
offers groceries, confectionery, alcohol, newspapers, Lottery, Costa
Express, Country Choice hot foods and car care will serve as a much
needed amenity to the west of Burnham, it’s convenient location
will also enable residents to pick up groceries on their way to and
from their homes rather than having to drive into the town. The
Family will soon be celebrating the businesses 100th anniversary
and are excited to see what this next chapter will bring….