The LionTribute to Brian ParnellThe Lion

Brian Parnell of Lion Garage, Lion Mews

Brian Parnell of Lion Garage, Lion Mews, Hove, 20/10/1999 by Steve Moore
Brian Parnell of Lion Garage,
Lion Mews, Hove, 1999

Brian Parnell of Lion Garage, Lion Mews, Hove, 18/09/2004 by unknown
Brian Parnell of Lion Garage,
Lion Mews, Hove, 2004

Brian Parnell of Lion Garage, Lion Mews, Hove, 28/06/2005 by unknown
Brian Parnell of Lion Garage,
Lion Mews, Hove, 2005

Lion Garage, Lion Mews, Hove, 2006
Lion Garage, Lion Mews, Hove, 2006

Leyland 900FG Recovery (c) webmaster
Leyland 900FG in Lion Mews
Taken by mobile phone camera

Leyland 900FG Recovery (c) Stanley Hurwitz
Leyland 900FG Recovery GPF856J at Preston Park, Brian and Eileen on London to Brighton Run
Photo by Stanley Hurwitz

Leyland 900FG Recovery (c) Steve Moore
Photo by Steve Moore
Click for more FG details here

Toyota Recovery BAC 849T 1978 while at the annual Adur Buckingham Park Vintage Rally, Shoreham, (c) webmaster
Toyota Recovery BAC 849T 1978
while at the annual Adur Buckingham Park Vintage Rally, Shoreham

Toyota Recovery BAC 849T 1978 at work! (c) Steve Moore
Toyota Recovery BAC 849T 1978
while on recovery duty at the Mews
Photo by Steve Moore

Ford Courier van V92 VCD, outside Duprets Garage 2007 (c) Webmaster
Ford Courier van V92 VCD,
outside Duprets Garage 2007

Lion Mews, c 1884 from an early map seen at Hove Library
Lion Mews c 1884 from an early map
seen at Hove Library
Brian Parnell, known locally as 'Brian the Lion'Brian The Lion

   had since 1971 had been the joint Proprietor of Lion Garage, in Lion Mews, off Richardson Road, Hove, East Sussex, in the trade of 'Garage Repairs and Servicing' who had sadly passed away suddenly at home just after New Years Day 2007, about the age of 74. Catering for the motorist as a vehicle mechanic, he was also remembered as the last garage in Hove to give up hand petrol pumps on his forecourt. He always said to many he would 'live to work' and never retire.

Before Lion Garage, he started work in 1947, in order to be taken on as an apprentice two years later, working at the Dreadnought Garage by the side of the King Alfred Leisure Centre in Hove on the A259 seafront road. When this closed he moved on to a Vauxhall dealer called Tates, in Crawley, here he met Eileen Oakley whom he started up in business with at Lion Garage.

During those earlier years HGV repairs were undertaken and Brian had since continued to support the vehicle preservation movement by travelling with his bright orange coloured 1970 Leyland 900FG recovery truck GPF856J nicknamed 'big ears', to a variety of Southern England events. This vehicle had never been restored, only ever operated as a fully insured recovery vehicle kept to a very high standard. Often he was seen assisting those in trouble on the road, and by moving buses and coaches for their owners. As an addition for smaller recovery used his 1978 Toyota recovery, nicknamed 'noddy', that could be more frequently seen towing in a car to his Mews garage for repair. Both recovery vehicles were adapted to suit the work intended, & the cutting back of the rear chassis with new parts welded & bolted to turn what was a scaffolders lorry into the main HGV recovery truck, while the Toyota had been bought new by 'Austin' to study this new design against the then current Gipsy model, a vehicle that Lion Garage had also been using up until then. Both Brian Parnell & Dennis Oakley spent many hours recreating both these vehicles to a design more suited to the needs of the business. For more information about BMC, Morris & Leyland trucks in particular the FG-series/FM-series cab can be found at
The Unofficial Austin-Rover Web Resource created by Keith Adams.

For some years Brian also had a Hyundai pick-up van, (a picture of this would be most welcome), which was a handly little runabout to pick up parts, ferry customers about & such like locally. As with all motors over time it was getting past its life & from memory, Brian sold this to a farmer for use on his own land as MOT's were to be a problem. To replace this, a vehicle he had maintained was offered, being used at 'York House Wines' based at the North side frontage to Lion Mews, which he had maintained for the previous owners of that wine shop business. This van was duly given signage for the business along with lions both facing front on each side of this Ford Courier. The van was sold onto another local mechanic trading close by, also a long established independant garage under the name 'Duprets'.

In 1995 Brian & his working business partner Eileen, lost the petrol pumps, being far too expensive to convert from gallons to litres. During those days his then partner, Eileen Oakley used to attend to the drivers wishes for fuel, check oils, water, and clean windscreens for the local elderly customers, something no garage can afford to spend time doing today, also taking bookings for vehicle repairs, and keep the accounts in good order on a daily basis.
The cessation of providing fuel to the local motorist was a topic given much publicity at the time through local media. Apparently Brian was heard to say
"it would cost me 30,000 just to make the changeover from gallons to litres"

Brian Parnell was a very fond supporter of many charities and associations mainly connected with transport, the dearest to his heart was BEN. His funeral held at St. Philips Church just south of his former Garage in Lion Mews, on the 16th January 2007, was a packed congregation of family, colleagues, and friends. Instead of flowers, donations were made to his nominated charity which is the
Motor and Allied Trades Benevolent Fund.
Motor and Allied Trades Benevolent Fund LINK & LOGO
Another society dear to Brian Parnell was the Historic Commercial Vehicle Society, which, among other events organise the famous 'London to Brighton' Run for commercial vehicles, that includes buses, coaches, lorries, steam wagons, fire appliances, light commercials, and many more of a similar interest.
The HCVS are celebrating the Golden Jubilee 1958-2008 this year.
Historic Commercial Vehicle Society LINK & LOGO

Visitors to this site who have more information and any old photographs that would be worth adding here are welcome to contact the author of this page here. As time progresses, hopefully more of Brian Parnell in photographs and written history, can be added here in the field of transport and preservation. More about Lion Mews will also be added elsewhere on a more local topic considering its long history in Aldrington part of the former Portland Estate.

Lion Mews itself has a long history and was originally built at the end of the last century as stables and since the motor car, had been known as a garage for the petrol and repairs alongside a few other established trades within the Mews. Over successive years from the Mews being built, St. Philips Church, and other buildings came to be constructed around this sole structure with Richardson Road now a thriving, but small community of local business. The Westerman Family, also a Building contractor formally based at School Road in Hove, purchased Lion Mews and surrounding empty plots of land thought to be around 1932. These since have been built upon including a block of flats and a detached house which has become a Rest Home for the elderly. More information is expected to be provided on the Mews and the Westerman Estates at a later date on a separate site, with a link from here.

From an initial idea by this webmaster, the first page was created as a tribute to Brian Parnell on the 14th January 2007, which has been repeatably updated and enhanced, with assistance including photographs from local residents, business and his customers such as; Steve Moore also of Lion Mews, Eileen Oakley, Marilyn Collins, Stanley Hurwitz, and others to which names are not available. Any further information known in connection with Brian Parnell, the garage or with Lion Mews, would be most appreciated, so those with a story to tell of the garage or mews is welcome. All photographs will be credited where known. Views without credits are deemped to be from the webmasters own library or collection of images and not to be reused without permission in order to protect the original source of such material.

Lion Garage, Lion Mews, Parish of Aldrington, undated!Lion Garage, Lion Mews, Parish of Aldrington, undated!Lion Garage, Lion Mews, Parish of Aldrington, undated!
Three pictures of Lion Garage, Lion Mews, Parish of Aldrington.
Left=Unknown date! Middle= 1950's Right= 1950's - Better dates anyone?

St Philps Church and Lion Mews, c 1884 from the webmasters picture archive
St Philips Church, New Church Road taken from Walsingham Road
Lion Mews & stables, Richardson Road circa 1899, from the webmasters picture archive.

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