|Opened: 15 August 1960
Original owner: Forte
Current Owner: Welcome Break
Location: Between J14-15
Originally to be Cars only- with Watford Gap services being for Lorries only. The pair of services being the only services on the M1 at the time.
Fortes Motorway services were managed for many years from offices at Newport Pagnell
Had to open two hours early as queues of curious public had formed! On opening day it took a while to get a table as many people had come out to see the services and experience the novelty.
Egon Ronay was not complimentary during his survey of services in 2000. He said of the all the All-Day Breakfast: “One of my three colleagues remarked that it’s called ‘ all day’ because it tastes as if it has been hanging around all day.”
Acorrding to a Smiths song, Morrissey lost his bag here- (the “Smiths” track “Is It Really So Strange” contains the line “I lost my bag in Newport Pagnell”. As the song is describing a journey from north to south, (and back) – its normally assumed by Smiths fans that the line referrers to a stop-off at the service area.
A little bit about this service area and policing the motorway when it opened is available on this site
Entrance to Newport Pagnell back in the 1960’s. The block at the front (with yellow faced windows) is the Grill & Griddle restaurant, which was waitress service.
||Here is the entrance, and that is probably a member of staff offering assistance to the motorist. You can either directly enter the shop using the right hand door, or enter the Grill and Griddle Waitress Service Restauant using the door on the right.|
Heres we zoom in on the picture at the top of the page. Did you notice the roadworks? part of the lane is completely missing. They have closed 2 lanes to do this work, and there is no tail back. Those days are truely gone…!
You can also see some outbuildings in this picture, Most of these have gone now, but the main building has extended over where the road is now.
Newport Pagnell in the early 1980’s. This looks like the southbound side taken from the north side. The facade has been modernised. (photo by Michael Evans)
Hard to know what to say about Newport Pagnell. The building, being the first doesn’t offer much room for the operator to play with the environment, where as more modern buildings are more flexible and use more natural light. However, they made the best of what they have and it does the job. Thats not so say its unpleasant- it is clean, tidy, offers all you need at a motorways services. Clean loos, shop, cafe, coffee shop, arcade & illegal trader in the car park 😉 The cafe area gets most of the natural light and the best view for relaxing in. All you need, nothing more, nothing less.
The hotel Northbound is worth a mention. Get a glimpse of it as you depart- from the outside looks very much 1950’s American Motel style with balconies. Very charming, and different to every modern hotel building you’ll find on a Motorway.