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Kings Worthy services

Kings Worthy
Road:A33 Winchester Bypass
(Google Maps link)
Address:By-Pass Filling Station
Kings Worthy
SO21 1DP
Grid reference:SU492321 (SABRE Maps)
Services type:Two sites located between junctions, with no public connection between them

A former independent garage dating back to the 1940s is not remarkably unique. Kings Worthy is a little bit different.

The A33 Winchester Bypass opened in 1940, and was ground-breaking in that it was one of the first rural dual carriageways in the country, relieving the narrow streets of Winchester long before the idea of a motorway had settled down.

Now the villages of Kings Worthy, Abbotts Barton and St Cross no longer benefited from the trade the A33 brought, a pair of garages were set up either side of the new bypass, at its northern end. Complete with a pair of slip roads (badly-designed by modern standards) and only accessible from the new road, this is perhaps the oldest example of something which clearly resembles the concept of a motorway service area. It was known as the By-Pass Service Station.

The location of the garages was chosen because to the south the A33 still disappeared into Chandler's Ford, whereas the road north of here was quite rural. Britain From Above has photos from this era.

The garages opened in 1946 and grew as passing trade increased, including gaining a small single-storey service building. In 1969 the A33 was realigned and the northbound forecourt had to be moved. In its later years it was branded Shell, and was also used to sell cars.

By the 1980s, the A34 was starting to improve the point where a lot of traffic heading north was starting to use it, and in 1986 it gained a large service area at Sutton Scotney. At the same time, the northern end of the A33 where these garages were situated was itself bypassed by the new M3. After many years, that new section of the M3 gained a replacement service area at Winchester.

At this point the garages closed and were demolished, and their large concrete apron was later grassed over (southbound) and re-developed for business (northbound). The northbound entry and exit slips are still in use today, by a local firm.