The garage traded as Austin, Morris, Wolseley, MG and Morris Commercial dealers, the names were changed through British Leyland etc. and eventually we became the Rover distributor for the New Forest area. When the opportunity arose to expand, a new garage was built in the field next to the building in 1965.
The petrol pumps were originally outside the old showroom and then moved outside of the new showroom but a new petrol station and forecourt shop was built in 1993 and the old forecourt became the used car display area.
Sadly Mr Syd Gates died in December 1997 and John died in October 2006. The business is now run by Jonathan who started work in the business in 1984 after a period of training both at college and on site. He led the company into the change over to become Peugeot Dealers for the New Forest and district in August 2000. In 2015 Jonathan wanted a new challenge and the site was leased to a local new car dealer, with Gates of Brockenhurst continuing to trade from the Esso forecourt site in Sway Road.
Welcome to Gates of Brockenhurst, a family owned business currently being run by Managing Director Johnathan Gates, the third generation of the Gates family who have run the Sway Road Garage for over 50 years.
Gates Engineering Co Ltd
Sway Road Garage
The original garage building (behind the old showroom with the flat above) was constructed using materials from the hospital for New Zealand soldiers injured in the First World War at Tile Barn on the outskirts of Brockenhurst.
Mr ‘Syd’ Gates started work as a mechanic in 1931 having recovered from a serious motorcycle racing accident after he had won the ‘Motor Cycle’ Cup winning the 1927 350cc amateur TT on the Isle of Man riding a Velocette.
Unable to join the forces because of the accident Mr Syd Gates managed the business through the Second World War. Due to the shortage of mechanics he trained four local young ladies to help maintain those vehicles that were still on the road. Two young lads, Alf Wakeford and Peter Ansty, became apprenticed mechanics in 1943 and they worked at the garage for the whole of their working lives. Work in the garage was also to help maintain vehicles for the Hampshire War Agriculture Committee, while one petrol pump was taken over for a short period by the military prior to ‘D’ Day.
The Business was purchased by the Gates family in 1945 with son John starting as an apprentice in 1948, the original name of the company was Gates Motor Engineering Co Ltd., but as this was a long title the ‘Motor’ was omitted in 1952.
Gates Engineering History - Click on Images to enlarge.