Producing artwork for Wetherspoons requires research into the area that the pub is situated. Depending on the location, this can be both interesting and challenging. My latest location for Wetherspoons artwork was Woolwich. This particular branch of Wetherspoons was burned down last year in the London riots.
I came across a few interesting stories about Woolich, one of which was about the first automated car park, The Auto Stacker.
The Autostacker was to be one of the wonders of the world. At the touch of a button a car would be magically carried away to its parking bay with no help from the driver. It was to hold 256 cars and with the introduction of parking meters in sixteen streets, would solve all parking problems for years to come in Woolwich.
The Autostacker was the first of its type built for a borough council in England, at a cost of about £100,000. Parking was remotely controlled from a kiosk on the ground floor. The Car driver would park his vehicle on a conveyor in front of one of four lifts and then leave it. On paying his parking fee the driver would be given a yale type key which would activate the return of his vehicle.
The official opening was performed by her majesty Princess Margaret on May 11th 1961. A van presented to the council by Dagenham motors was to be “stacked” when the Princess ceremonially pressed a button. Unfortunately the operation was not a complete success and the van had to be pushed into its parking bay.
A year after the official opening, the “Stacker” still refused to function properly and one of the first tasks of the new London Borough of Greenwich was to pull the whole thing down at a cost of £60,000. The car showrooms and workshops continued to operate for approximately another 30 years.