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Kenning Motor Group (Kennings)

Kenning Motor Group
Locations:up to 2
Successors:Top Rank, Take a Break

Kenning Motor Group (later shortened to Kenning, informally known as Kennings) built and operated over 100 petrol forecourts, and won the contracts to build two motorway service areas. After a takeover in 1986, they were officially known as TKM, but the Kenning name was still used.

When motorway service areas were first being designed, the government wanted them to focus on repairing and servicing vehicles, so they were keen to involve companies like Kenning, who had a lot of experience operating garages and petrol stations.

Their service areas were all designed by London-based architects T P Bennett & Sons, and their catering was leased to Northern Caterers Ltd. Kenning's strategy was to bid consistently for service areas, using a small design built around the motorway, but they usually made a low financial offer, and would normally be outbid.

Kenning's waitress restaurant at Strensham.

Their first motorway service area, at Strensham, was one of the first to open in the UK. It had a fine grill restaurant, but the buildings soon proved to be too small for such a busy site.

The rest of their motorway history was much less fortunate: they became frustrated by the amount of money they were losing on unsuccessful bids, so for Anderton they successfully proposed a much larger design. Traffic levels at that one turned out to be much lower than expected.

Meanwhile, struggling Anderton was eventually sold to Top Rank in 1987, while Strensham received additional investment, and was now one of the busiest service areas in the UK. The new Strensham was branded simply "Kenning Services".

After TKM were taken over by Inchcape in 1992, the new owners wanted to focus on car sales, so the motorway service area didn't fit in. It was sold in July 1994, ending Kenning's tenure as a service area operator.


Kenning's logo in the 1980s.

The following services were owned by Kenning Motor Group:

Unbuilt Services

The following services were planned by Kenning but never built: