End of an era for Easebourne family

The garage in the 1980s featuring Charlotte's father John Alan cleaning one of the hire vehicles
The garage in the 1980s featuring Charlotte's father John Alan cleaning one of the hire vehicles

They have all been John or John James through the 100 years of Backshall’s family garage business at Easebourne so local history has simply recalled them all as JB 1,2,3 and 4.

So when Charlotte Backshall took over the running of the business in 2009, it was inevitable she would become JB5.

And it was JB5 and JB4 (her father John Backshall) who had to take the difficult decision to call it a day after a century of family business in Dodsley Lane.

Charlotte told the Observer: “I always said I was born with petrol in my veins - I spent my childhood here and I was so proud to be able to provide a service through our family business to this little community.”

Her father added I am desperately sad when I think of the work my father and mother put in to the business and their parents before. This is not a decision that has been taken lightly, I worked here since I was 15 and I am 66 now.”

And in a message to customers on the forecourt this week the Backshall family said they had traded through “two world wars, strikes and recessions” but outlined the current reasons they had decided to shut up shop

They added: “A small family run business such as ours cannot survive such challenges and despite our best efforts and the loyal support of our customers the time has come when we have to call it a day.”

There have been Backshalls in business at the site since 1911 when the first garage opened as a cycle agent and repairer run by Charlotte’s great great grandfather John James.

As time moved on the site became a petrol station with its own car repair workshop.

In the 1980s the family leased the workshops to another business. John Backshall carried on running the service station until he retired in 2004 and his daughter Charlotte took over and refurbished the service station and forecourt shop.