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Brief History

Heron Service Stations started in 1966 when Gerald Ronson saw an opportunity to develop a chain of own-brand company operated petrol filling stations promoting Green Shield (trading) stamps, which were still new in Britain. Named after his father H.E. RONson, Heron soon made an impact in South-east England, before selling its 30 garages to Shell in 1968. Heron continued developing sites for Shell/BP and Texaco, before reintroducing the brand around 1975. Only 26 or so sites were branded Heron, with the others carrying major brands (mainly Texaco) before the 150 service stations were sold to Mobil in 1977. Heron Corporation diversified into many other areas of property, but always retained an interest in the service stations. A third Heron chain flourished briefly in the late 1980s, before being sold to Elf. Finally in the mid-1990s, a fourth Heron chain was developed, although this could not use the brand for legal reasons so was known as Snax 24. These outlets later switched to major brands, mainly BP.

Much later, in 2011, Ronson made a spectacular re-entry into the business buying the UK downstream operations of Total, the French oil major. The chain was soon split into three, with the most valuable sites being sold to Shell, and the dealer supply business going to Irish-owned GB Oils. Snax 24 retained a portfolio of formerly company-owned sites, mainly in Northern England.


1978 Heron map

The only known Heron sheet map dates from 1978. A card cover shows a Heron station through the window of Gerald Ronson's favourite car, a large Daimler. Inside, a specially drawn Bartholomew map at 9 miles to the inch showed over 200 Heron locations. The extract from Bournemouth shows four such sites marked on the map with an H; most sold Texaco, not Heron branded petrol.

The following year, 1979, Heron sold its own version of the Britain Roadfinder atlas produced by Bartholomew (below).

Section of 1978 Heron map

1979 Heron (Bartholomew Roadfinder) atlas of Britain

Front pages from 1979 Heron atlas of Britain

It had 94 pages of maps mainly at 1:300,000 and although the standard board covers were retained, Heron's version listed all its service stations and motor dealers on a double page spread. Due to the earlier sale to Mobil, only two stations were now listed in Bournemouth, for example.

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Text and layout © Ian Byrne, 1999-2012

All original copyrights in logos and map extracts and images are acknowledged and images are included on this site for identification purposes only.