Bee Filling Station, Market Street

There are few perks to moving home. Shifting furniture, stripping window frames, paint everywhere… The best thing about this move to Cardiff with my new wife Gwenan was rediscovering old things I didn’t realise I still had.

Digging deep into a cardboard box, I made the greatest find. Sandwiched between the pages of Roger Dean’s ‘Views’ book were three bits of Esso soccer memorabilia: ‘Famous Football Club Badges’ (year unknown), ‘The 1970 World Cup Coin Collection’ and ‘The 1972 FA Cup Centenary Medals’. These took me back to the golden days when we used to fill Sarah with petrol at the Bee Filling Station in Market Street. Isn’t it funny how we give our cars names? Sarah was our apple green Austin Austin A40.

Back in the late sixties and early seventies, filling stations weren’t self-service. The Bee’s staff all wore blue cotton overalls. Today, we buy fuel in litres; our father used to ask for ‘Eight gallons of Premier’ (there was no unleaded then … and only tractors took diesel). With every few gallons, you’d get a free paper pouch with a medal, coin or emblem in it.

The aim was, obviously, to collect the whole set of forty or so. As my brother and I struggled to fill the few remaining gaps in our collections, we had help from our neighbour, Ritchie Morris. He, along with John Griffiths, was the owner of The Bee Filling Station. Uncle Ritchie would often slip us a couple of extra pouches and help us find that elusive Charlton Athletic emblem, that Peter Osgood or Peter Bonetti coin.

The fact that my collections of soccer coins, medals and emblems are complete today is entirely due to Ritchie Morris’s kindness. These collections may well be valuable by now, although I’ve never heard them mentioned on the ‘Antiques Roadshow’. That’s beside the point. They’re worth a lot to me.

Bee filling station

7 thoughts on “Bee Filling Station, Market Street

  1. cled davies:

    i worked as a mechanic at the bee garage best years of my life and remember your dads austin well i rebuilt the engine ready for your journey to switzerland

    1. Gareth Morlais:

      And you did a great job Cled because that old apple green Austin A40 carried four adults and three children with a frame tent on the roofrack all the way via the Hovercraft to Switzerland and back. Diolch Cled.

    2. Marc Hampshire:

      Hi Cled, John Griffiths was my uncle [his wife Myfi was my mum`s little sister] and i spent all the summer holidays of my childhood in Abergele [we lived in Yorkshire]. Highlight of the holiday was always coming to the Bee with Uncle John in his little blue mini van and spending the day getting in the way of you and “Uncle” Sid trying to get on with your work. You were [like everyone at the Bee] a gent and i hope life is treating you well. I`m still in touch with my family in Abergele [Kevin, Ruth etc.]

  2. David Peskett:

    Cled Davies Remember you working at the Bee when you lived in Bodelwyddan and I remember a few times you helping me out when you were with the RAC top man

  3. Cledwyn Davies:

    Nice to hear from you Marc after the bee service station was taken over i joined the rac as a patrol ,now retired after 35 years, if you are in this area please let me know,i see Kevin walking his spaniels daily cheers Cled

    1. Gareth Morlais:

      And what a great ambassador you were for the RAC Cled. You saved my skin at the roadside at least once. Cofion gorau, best wishes.

  4. Pete:

    Cled has recently undergone a knee replacement operation. His surgeon told him “you’ll be fine today but tomorrow you’ll think you’ve been hit by a 10 ton lorry.” Cled, in spite of the pain, is cheerful and grateful to the NHS. Cled and his wife Gwerfyl have a new grandson, Sion Llewelyn. So, Cled, we wish you a speedy recovery and look forward to seeing you around town on your bike.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *