Watford Gap


Opened: 2 November 1959

Original owner: Blue Boar

Current Owner: RoadChef


Technically, the first Motorway Services in the UK. However, when it opened, the buildings were not ready so food was sold from temporary sheds!.

Opened on the same day as the M1 Motorway

Very popular with pop stars in the 1960’s. Urban story has it that Jimi Hendrix thought Blue Boar was the name of a London club, becuase so many of his contemporaries mentioned it.

Blue Boar were offered the opportunity to develop the site to compensate the loss of business to thier existing facilities on the A5. They were offered Newport Pagnell too, but in the end that site was developed by Forte

The government originally intended this site to be “Lorries Only”

In 1977 an artist called Roy Harper released an album called ‘Bullinamingvase‘ which originally included the song ‘Watford Gap’ with its lyric ‘Watford Gap, Watford Gap, a plate of grease and a load of c**p’. Later versions of the album did not feature the song as a member of the EMI board was also a member of the Watford Gap’s board of directors.

Recently taken over by RoadChef, who have invested heavily practically removing all trace of the existing buildings and building new facilites.

Thanks to John Ferguson & Thomas Swift for help with this page.

Thanks to Thomas Swift, we have these fantastic photographs to share with you:

The services today.
The petrol station
Inside the MSA
More restaurant.
1960’s view


  1. Oh, the pits and Clacket Lane must rate with the worst. Luckily, I don’t have to suffer it much but I reebmemr one day last December when thick snow had fallen many days previously and NO attempt had been made to clear any of it. This naming strategy falls in to the same category of those businesses who think that all they have to do to effect a change is to change the name. Nat West is one of the worst with its latest campaign that promises far more than it can ever deliver (I know, I fell for it!). Marketing’ has gone into a deep hole.Nice blog!

  2. Genuine request – l work on behave of Pink Floyd. We are very interested in sourcing images of the Blue Boar Service Station during the 1960’s (even a postcard or map) for an up & coming 2017 London exhibition. If anyone can help or point us in the right direction, we would welcome the interest.


  1. WHATEVER HAPPENED TO… | goodnessandharmony - […] http://www.dailymail.co.uk/travel/article-1224682/M1-motorway-Watford-Gap-service-station-celebrate-50-years.html 1960s view In 1977 an artist called Roy Harper released an album called ‘Bullinamingvase‘ which originally included the song ‘Watford…

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