1938: Push-button garage

In the late 1930s Mr. Robert Bourdillon of Frognal Lane, Hampstead, London, constructed a unique solution to the problem of parking the family car.  

As demonstrated here in 1938 by Harriet Bourdillon, on arriving home the car was driven onto a concrete slab and, at the touch of a button, the slab and car descended into a watertight concrete pit into the driveway.  A roof over the structure then formed part of the front garden.  Another button-press raised the car to street level, ready for use.

Robert Benedict Bourdillon was an Oxford scholar and a founder member of the University's mountaineering club.  Together with his son Tom and another partner, he would develop the oxygen system used on the successful Everest expedition of 1953.


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Text and curation: Amanda Uren