Friday, September 4, 2015
Upton on Severn, Worcestershire
Revisiting: Illuminating globe
There are people (you know who you are) who have been reading this blog since before April 2008, when I posted the first of several pieces about the Worcestershire town of Upton on Severn and focused on its two memorable garages, one an art deco surprise, the other in a converted chapel. Those with sharp eyes would have noticed that in my original picture of Shipp’s, the second garage, there was a rather old petrol pump, topped with one of those distinctive globes that petrol companies once used to advertise their wares. I think it was a Cleveland Discoll pump globe but for some reason I didn’t photograph it in close-up. I’m sorry I didn’t, because it has gone now. The garage is happily still there, though, and they’ve replaced the old globe with a shiny white and red Shell one. When I passed it the other day I didn’t make the same mistake and got the camera out right away.
The Shell oil company adopted their scallop shell symbol back in 1904, having tried a mussel previously. The earliest of the company’s pump-top globes were literally and simply globe-shaped – they introduced shell-shaped globes in 1929. They made various designs, with changes to the exact shape of the scallop and legends advertising ‘Shell Derv’, ’Super Shell’, and ‘Shell Diesoline’, as well as the plain and simple ‘Shell’ type. This example in Upton looks to be one of the kind introduced in the early 1950s. There’s more information about Shell globes, together with much more fascinating material about old garages, on the excellent Vintage Garage site, here. You can be sure of that.