Although planning permission is still pending for the demolition of the former Monty Smith car garage and car showrooms at Windsor Road , Penarth -an “iconic” feature of the dealership has already gone.
The tall illuminated tower-sign which bore the “Rover” and “MG” logos was taken down yesterday by Andrew Smith, the son of the founder, as a memento of his late father.
Andrew had made arrangements with the owners of the site to remove the big sign, which has been a familiar feature of the Penarth townscape for many years.
Andrew Smith said that every time he passed the garage he had felt sad – but at least now has the sign as a permanent souvenir of what was once one of the best-known businesses in Penarth .
There to help him were his son Tristan Smith and friend Martin Lewis. The team managed to uproot the sign manually and lower it onto a large trailer .
The sign will be restored and installed at Mr Smith’s new business premises off Penarth Road.
As previously reported on PDN a planning application has been made to demolish the entire building and build one – possibly two – new retail units on the site
Originally the building had been a cinema – the Windsor Kinema – where many Penarthians may remember once watching the 1956 movie “Rock Around the Clock ” ( an early rock’n’roll film starring Bill Haley and the Comets) which prompted the audience to jive in the aisles.
The original 800-seater Windsor Kinema was designed by Lennox Robertson and built for Oliver Willmore by local builder John Britton. It first opened on Monday February 2nd 1914 – and showed silent films like the one advertised in the posters in the photo. [The movie was Dorothy Dalton starring as a twin-holstered gunfighter in a western called “The Crimson Challenge” . The posters claimed the film “teems and tingles with thrills” .]
The cinema closed in May 1958 . The frontage was demolished and the auditorium, was converted into a two-storey car showroom with a concrete first floor supported on internal pillars.