London 1979


Regent Lion Filling Station, Coptic St, Camden, 1979
19c-16: house, petrol, filling station, camden

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Rising at the top of the picture is the unmistakable tower of St George's Bloomsbury, but I had long forgotten the exact location of the Regent Lion Filling Station. I took it as the first of four frames before getting to St Chad's St in the area to the south of King's Cross, and I had long thought this picture must have been near there.
But I had walked some distance with the Leica M2 around my neck, and that this picture was taken on Coptic St, just to the south of the British Museum. Though the petrol pumps and the building above them have long gone, the building at the right edge of the picture is still recognisable on the corner of Museum St and Bloomsbury Way.
The company was incorporated in 1955 and appears to have been dissolved some time in the 1990s. The Regent trademark had a long history in petrol outlets, beginning with Burt Boulton & Haywood, a small independent distributor who had a wharf and chemical works at Prince Regent's Wharf which is now the Thames Barrier Park. They were bought up by Trinidad Leaseholds in 1930, and post war they merged with Texaco and later Caltex, reverting to Texaco in 1967, who discontinued the use of the brand name for most of the outlets, though it was revived for special uses in 2004. The Regent Oil Company were also on Canvey Island and the site changed its name to Texaco at some point but is now closed.
Regent were one of several companies who sold road maps under their name from the 1930s to the mid 1960s, though later these were sold as Texaco or Chevron (another Texaco brand).