‘I’ll be a little late home, dear.’ Shoe Lane mechanical parking in 1963.
This remarkable place must have seemed like a glimpse of the future when it opened back in 1963. Cars could be stacked in bays in a most efficient use of space, slotting in between the other tall buildings in Farringdon. But such a design has obvious shortcomings – if the lift breaks down, you can’t get your car back. Even if it’s running smoothly, imagine how long you’d have to wait for your Austin Westminster if everyone wanted to leave at 5pm. Perhaps this explains why it seems to have closed after just a few months, after which the site was re-worked to become a conventional multi-storey.
Right at the top edge of the main picture we can see a couple of Ford Anglias peeping at us, while the row below that begins with a Hillman Minx and a Sunbeam Rapier next to a Mini with spotlamps. There’s a gap, then another Anglia and a Morris Oxford Series VI. From left on the row below we have a glimpse of a Standard Pennant then a Wolseley 16/60, a Ford Classic, a Vauxhall Victor Deluxe, an Austin A55 Cambridge and an MG Magnette. On the ramp next to it is the earlier (non-farina) species of Austin A55 Cambridge.
On the level
The row below is a Farina-rich place, starting with a Wolseley 6/99 or 6/110, pausing for a Mini before getting back to an Oxford Series VI and another Austin Cambridge. Next we see a Vauxhall PA Velox (or Cresta?) and then an FB Victor. The row beneath starts with a Ford Zodiac MKIII, we think, and then has an Anglia, a Morris Minor, a Morris Oxford Series V, an A40 and another of Ford’s Consul Classic family.
Highlights from the shot showing the lift in action (right) include a Rover 12 P2 right at the top and two finny Fords on the row below (Consul Classic and Zodiac MKIII) while the car on the ramp is another Zodiac – or maybe a Zephyr – MKII.