Fry's Garage Story


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FRY'S GARAGE  1880 - 2000

Fry's Garage, which has served petrol in Tintagel for over 80 years, has filled up its last tank. During my chat with John & Tony Fry, they told me that Fry's were the first to serve petrol in Tintagel, originally in petrol cans from the rear of what was Fry's Private Hotel (today Tintagel Hotel). 
In the 1880s, Fry's used to run a horse drawn charabanc from Tintagel or Boscastle, to  Camelford & Bodmin. In 1903 they purchased Clifton House and changed it into Fry's Hotel. At that time they also leased the Wellington Hotel in Boscastle and the Wharncliffe Arms Hotel in Tintagel. Apparently Fry's used to have a butchers shop in Fry's Hotel and the slaughterhouse was at the rear. In 1926, the site next door to Cook's Newsagents was developed and a garage built. Here the vehicles were serviced including their own fleet of buses. The repair of their own coaches continued right up to the closure of the coach business at the end of 1998. Petrol pumps were installed on the new site in 1930 and at that time you could buy a couple of gallons of petrol for 1s9d!. The pumps were originally hand operated and a lot of effort was needed to serve a gallon of petrol.
The busiest time for the coach business was in the 1950s and 60s because there were not so many cars on the road in those days. Fry's ran a daily bus service to Plymouth, had coach trips to many parts of Great Britain and organised Coach holidays to Scotland, the Lake District and the Yorkshire Dales. Every week supporters of Plymouth Argyle could travel, home & away, to all their matches. During and after the war the popularity of the cinema meant that at least one, and many times two, buses travelled to the Regal Cinema at Delabole every Wednesday & Friday evenings. Mystery Trips used to pack at least one coach in the 40s & 50s but this died out in popularity with the advent of more people owning cars.
John (Bumper) Fry, John and Tony's father, was a wonderful character and a very good footballer. He played at centre half for Tintagel and on many occasions for Cornwall. Football was in the blood and John, who played for Tintagel, Camelford, Wadebridge & Newquay also played for Cornwall at centre forward. Tony was also an excellent footballer, playing for Tintagel & Camelford and was first reserve for Cornwall on one occasion. Tony retired from football early at age 32, but John played on till he was 42, finally playing in goal for Tintagel.    When 'Bumper' Fry retired, John, who joined the company in 1947 and Tony who joined in 1944 straight from school, took over the business and it continued successfully up to its closure. In latter years the school bus service became an important part of Fry's Coaches, and Fry's have a proud record of always delivering the children safely to school.
When I served on the Tintagel Parish Council in the 60s and 70s, Fry's always provided free bus transport to the citizens of Tintagel to the annual ‘Mrs Whitehouse Christmas Party’, held annually in Camelford.
Tony recalled on one occasion a party of Young Farmers requesting that the lights be turned off inside the coach. Whether or not this had any effect on the outcome of this action, but all the couples on the coach were eventually married to each other.
   The end of an era has come for the Fry family and for the people of Tintagel who have relied on Fry's for their petrol. No longer will you be able to fill up with Shell, National Benzole, Esso or BP, the nearest petrol station now will be in a neighbouring village. Sadly John & Tony Fry both died in 2003 & they are missed from village life

    Tintagel people owed the Fry family our grateful thanks
for their coach and petrol service they provided for over 120 years.

                        A Great loss to Tintagel

Original Article Was Written By David Flower and printed in the Camelford & Delabole Post 5th October 2000

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