Blakeney Garage – Driven to Make A Positive Change…

Mark & Luke Davenport are a special father and son team whose deep passion for classic cars and racing have led Mark to purchase an historic garage business in North Norfolk.

Mark Davenport has always worked in family businesses having started his career in 1988 as a Caterpillar driver working on a landfill. This close-up confrontation with the problems of waste disposal led to a demonstrable and lifelong passion for improving recycling processes and reducing waste. The company he founded was eventually awarded an £830m PFI recycling contract and in 2010, Mark received Cambridgeshire’s “businessman of the year award.” He is a Royal Warrant Holder and has sat on the Warrant Holders National Council at Buckingham Palace.

Luke Davenport, Mark’s son, grew up always wanting to be a racing driver. A fully qualified member of the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveys, Luke now combines his time between his passion and profession, working on commercial property projects in East Anglia as an associate for Cheffins and achieving a life long dream of being a professional racing driver and motorsport coach. We recently caught up with Mark to explain more about their family drive…


Before we got involved, Blakeney Garage began life in 1919 by Herbert Pye on a piece of land given to him by his father. The site had previously served as a recreation ground for troops stationed in Blakeney during the First World War, where several fiercely contested sporting competitions between troops and local lads had taken place.

In 1923, the original garage was partly rebuilt and designed by local architect John Page. Page’s design took inspiration from the village’s non-residential buildings, including boat sheds, stables, blacksmiths and maltings.

The methods and materials in the construction of the garage also remained true to the heritage of the area. Local builder, Meadows Grimes, was employed to build the garage and Pye himself toured the countryside in search of materials, reclaiming roof trusses found lying in a field near Wells. Meanwhile, weathered pantiles were purchased second hand from a local farmer and lintels for windows and doors obtained from old farm buildings.

During the 1920s, the garage expanded its offering with a bus and lorry garage, on site blacksmith, farm machinery repairs, a taxi and school bus service, and leasing of lorries for the sugar beet and carrot harvests. Until the 1950’s, the garage also sold new and used cars.

The garage has long provided motor fuels for the community. Originally, petrol was stored in cans in a pit. However, collecting the petrol was dangerous and on one occasion a workman was overcome by fumes and had to be rescued. This led to the purchase of two mechanical pumps.

In the early 1930s, a generator was installed enabling the garage to have a DC electric petrol pump as well as an oil fountain, whereby oil was pushed up by compressed air. During the Second World War, the garage became the headquarters of the local Home Guard with Pye as the Commanding Officer. For the first year of the war, the garage also housed the local ambulance and Auxiliary Fire Service pump.

In 1948, the garage changed hands with various buildings re-purposed, including an engineering workshop, a chandlers and pottery supplies. In 1992, the current buildings once again became a petrol station and workshop, under the ownership of David Chenery and Brian Daniels. They ran the garage successfully until the business passed to its current ownership, my father and our family in 2016.

In 2019, Blakeney Garage marked its centenary year with an expansive restoration project whereby much of the original façade was restored, the workshop completely refitted with the latest facilities for MOT, servicing and repairs, and renovation of the fuel forecourt.

After several months of restoration work, we were delighted to be able to once again serve locals, businesses and visitors to the area and celebrated the occasion with a grand opening in December 2019. As well as fuel sales, MOT’s, servicing and repairs, we have made the most of Blakeney Garage’s spacious site with an event venue room for hire, classic car and motorbike displays, and future plans for a cafe, proudly offering a central hub for the local community. We restored the building just in time for it’s 100 year anniversary.


I bought the garage in 2016. We have spent a lot of time in Blakeney as a family, holidaying up there when our children were at school. Mum and Dad have lived in Blakeney for some time and wanted to get more involved with the local community. The garage provides a great local service and it is also a way for us to indulge our passion for vintage and classic cars.

To most people cars and motorcycles are a necessity. A tool to get you to work or used for the school run. But for many of us, what we drive and how we drive gives us a lot more pleasure than simply using a machine to do a job.

A vehicle can tell you a lot about a person before you have even met them. A sports car assumes a younger, enthusiastic or competitive driver. A four-wheel drive is for practical outdoor, country living. But these stereotypes do not exist when it comes to us hobbyists. You would not expect to see a 1500cc Harley Davidson ridden by an 80-year-old grandmother, but they are. Likewise, a leather-clad “Hells Angel” would not be expected to ride a Honda C50, but they do!

The great thing about motoring is you can indulge your individuality and use it to bring enjoyment to yourself and those around you. We have to get from A-to-B so let’s have some fun doing it.

We offer Fuel, MOT, repairs and restorations and ancillary retail from the garage shop. We also offer a service for sourcing and selling classic and vintage cars. With 6 members of our team, we help predominantly tourists during the summer along with a steady stream of local business all year round. We are an ongoing service so fuel/retail requirements remain consistent. We sell an astonishing amount of kindling and firewood every year!


I suppose the big change we have had in the last 12 months has been the impact of fuel prices and going forward it will be alternative fuel and electric vehicles. Inflation has had a big impact within the local community – people are more prepared to use us to repair their cars than using the manufacturer garages, as we can offer a better personal service at a reduced hourly rate. As an employer and business owner, keeping ahead of wage inflation, fuel price fluctuations, and managing expectations has and remains a challenge.

Restoring, rebuilding and re-engineering classics ensures the sustainability of our passion for motor vehicles. Together, we are all becoming increasingly aware and concerned about the impact of our actions on our planet and the motor industry, in particular, is seeing some significant changes.

New forms of power, and new technology, combined with the re-engineering of existing vehicles all present new challenges. But this is an exciting and rewarding time for the motor industry. Indeed, there are many lessons that can be learnt from the past where older engineering used highly innovative methods to achieve success.

The UK’s first mass produced car for the people, for example, was Herbert Austin’s wonderful 1920s Austin Seven. Simple, light and frugal, it sold in massive numbers and allowed people to travel independently at very low cost. So, while the world and our industry are moving forward, there is certainly a lot to be said for keeping one hand on the steering wheel of the past.

1920s Austin Seven car
1920s Austin Seven car


Our 14 year old Spaniel / Terrier cross-breed starts barking around 6am! Luckily, I have a lot to achieve still in life but our proudest business moments have definitely been the success of our family business, being awarded the Queens Warrant as a Grantee, and becoming president of the local association. On reflection, if I could do it all over again, I would take more downtime along the way to spend with my family. I am driven to make positive change to the world around me and that will keep me going for as long as I can.


Supporting the local community is what we love to do. This year we start more event management in the local community aimed at motoring enthusiasts and in the summer, Bentley are visiting the area for a celebration of Tim Birkin’s life and we are hosting on the Saturday night. A family business that transcends time, keeps the faith and enthuses the next generation all supporting one another to continue.

We love our motorsport and working together with enthusiasts, from historic racing as a Father & Son team, to long distance vintage car rallies around the world, Blakeney Garage has a great name for historic automobiles. Recently I found myself in New Zealand with a 100 year old car with the Blakeney Garage logo on the side of it and was recognised by a local from Norfolk who’s a customer!

The Blakeney Garage Motorsport Team
The Blakeney Garage Motorsport Team


In the 1990’s, as oil specifications were changing, we needed greater information and support for our clients. Witham have always given us the information and back up we request quickly and its always accurate.

We use Witham for our engine oils, general lubricants, paints, and because they are all great quality and with fantastic support. Continuity and support is vital from a supplier backed up with the right information and supplies delivered on time.

We choose to work with Witham Group as it’s a family business with a great ethos focusing on the customer.  Witham – please keep doing what you are doing!

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