Pentland Garage


Sonny Swinton

Straiton, About 6 miles south of the centre of Edinburgh




Ian Mycko

Gilmerton, Edinburgh

Ian wrote:

Bonyrigg, Loanhead and Penicuik

"My dad worked for Pentland Garage and for Middleton's Coaches in Loanhead.  He also did some part-time work for Hunter's Coaches.

I spent lot of my youth in Loanhead with my dad .  I wonder if any of people who commented on Hunter's Coaches knew him.  His name was Michael Mycko"

Ian Mycko, Gilmerton, Edinburgh:  June 7, 2007

If you'd like to reply to Ian Mycko, please e-mail me and I will pass on your message to him. Thank you.    -  Peter Stubbs:  June 7, 2007

** Tom Inglis (who wrote 'Recollections 12 + 13' below) responded


"Ian mentions Michael Mycko, above.  I remember both Michael Mycko and Alan Fentiman very well as reliable drivers and for theirgreat sense of humour.

Tom Inglis, Dalkeith, Midlothian, Scotland:  December 8, 2010




Alan Fentiman

Bournemouth, Dorset, England

Alan wrote:

Pentland Garage

"I was most interested to read of Ian Mycko whose father worked at the Pentland Garage. My father worked there also and often spoke of Michael Mycko.

Sonny Swinton's Transport

I wonder if Ian managed to obtain photographs of any of the rickety old lorries Sonny Swinton used to run. I would love to see photos of those lorries in their cream and green livery. ** Unfortunately, my father never had any photos of the lorries."

Alan Fentiman,  Bournemouth, Dorset, England:  June 6, 2008

I've now contacted Ian to see if he has any photos of the lorries.  If anybody else knows of any photos of them, please email me.

Thank you.    -  Peter Stubbs:  June 12 2008

** Tom Inglis (who wrote 'Recollections 12 + 13' below) responded

Vehicle Liveries

"Pentland livery on new vehicles was two tone green with red grill and wheels and black bumpers never cream."

Tom Inglis, Dalkeith, Midlothian, Scotland:  December 8, 2010




Ian Mycko

Gilmerton, Edinburgh

Thank you to Ian Mycko who found some photos of Sony Swinton's lorries.

Ian explained that Pentland Garage   was owned by the Swinton family, Sonny, Andrew, Bessie & Molly.   Sonny was head of the family.   The only surviving one now (2008) is Bessie Swinton. **

Ian wrote:

Pentland Garage

"Here are some photos of Sonny Swinton's lorries, taken by a friend of my dad.  My dad is the man at the front of of the front lorry in the middle photo below."

Pentland Garage Lorry with a large load ©  Pentland Garage Lorry with a large load ©  Pentland Garage Lorry with a large load ©

Ian added:

"The lorries were carrying tanks that were coming from Birmingham to British Leyland at Bathgate, now sadly gone.

I remember my dad telling me that as the lorries came through the village of Forth in Lanarkshire, he heard a pinging sound.  On closer investigation, he found that they had broken the overhead phone lines.  I bet the GPO were pleased!"

Ian Mycko, Gilmerton, Edinburgh:  June 13 +19, 2008

** Tom Inglis (who wrote 'Recollections 12 + 13' below) responded

Family and Businesses

"There was also sister, Cathie, who ran the original garage and also ran another of Sony's many businesses, his coal merchants' business."

Tom Inglis, Dalkeith, Midlothian, Scotland:  December 8, 2010




Bryan Gourlay

Biggar, Lanarkshire, Scotland

Bryan wrote:

Sonny Swinton

"It was interesting to see Alan Fentiman’s comments about the legendary Sonny Swinton (2 above).

My dad knew Sonny well, for many years, and I was at his yard a few times as a boy.

Every time I pass there, a few yards from the roundabout at Ikea at Straiton, I can see Sonny standing out front in his customary pose.

My dad bought a couple of lorries from him and even a new car, a Singer Vogue, in 1968.

When I met Ian Mycko a couple of years ago, he told me that Sonny died not all that long ago, in his nineties, I think Ian said.**  "

Bryan Gourlay, Biggar, Lanarkshire, Scotland:  June 18, 2008

** Tom Inglis (who wrote 'Recollections 12 + 13' below) responded

Sonny Swinton

"I believe Sonny was in his seventies when he died.  Perhaps Adam could confirm that."

Tom Inglis, Dalkeith, Midlothian, Scotland:  December 8, 2010




Bryan Gourlay

Biggar, Lanarkshire, Scotland

Bryan added:

Sonny Swinton

"Another memory has come to mind about Sonny.

When I was about 12, I went with my dad to collect a lorry he was buying from Sonny.

I’ll never forget Sonny putting his hand in his pocket and giving me a rather well-worn ten-bob note as a sort of ‘luck penny’.  It was a fortune at the time."

Bryan Gourlay, Biggar, Lanarkshire, Scotland:  June 18, 2008




Forbes Wilson

Near Guildford, Surrey, England

Forbes wrote:

Sonny Swinton

"In the mid 1960s, my father owned a second-hand Morris van that required a new water pump.  Having established that Swintons were breaking-up a Morris van, my father took me up to Swintons to have the pump replaced.

My father used the services of Swintons on several occasions. He recalls that Sonny was always seen in his oil and grease stained blue boiler suit.  My father was convinced that he lived in that boiler suit.

As a young lad of about 10, I recall hundreds of broken-up cars stacked one on top of the other with various car body parts lying here, there and everywhere.

Suffice to say that Sonny Swintons replaced the faulty water pump and it lasted for many years."

Forbes Wilson, near Guildford, Surrey, England:  June 23, 2008




Adam Swinton

Thank you to Adam Swinton for sending me the message below.

Adam wrote.

Bessie Swinton

"I have just been reading the recollections of some people who worked at Pentland Garage and i must say it was everything I remembered it as.

I am Andrew's son.  I spent many days there as a youngster.

Can you could let the contributors know that my Auntie Bessie is still alive and living in Howdenhall Road in Edinburgh."

Adam Swinton:  November 12, 2009

Adam:  I've now emailed the other contributors to this page to let them know about your message.




Ian Mycko

Gilmerton, Edinburgh

Ian wrote:

Adam Swinton

"It's great that one of the Swinton family (Adam) has posted a comment about Pentland Garage on the web site.

Ian Mycko, Gilmerton, Edinburgh:  November 12, 2009




Bryan Gourlay

Biggar, Lanarkshire, Scotland

Bryan wrote:

Sonny Swinton

"I still have a squint in the direction of Sonny’s yard every time I drive past  –  there's nothing there at all now."

Bryan Gourlay, Biggar, Lanarkshire, Scotland:  November 12, 2009




Alan Fentiman

Bournemouth, Dorset, England

Alan  wrote:

Sonny Swinton

"I guess Bessie Swinton must be a good old age. It would be nice if she could record some of her memories."

Alan Fentiman,  Bournemouth, Dorset, England:  November 20, 2009

Hi Alan:

I'll send an email to Adam Swinton to see if that might be possible.

Peter Stubbs:  November 20, 2009




M Bain

Loanhead, Midlothian, Scotland

M Bain wrote:

George Bain

"I was just wondering if anyone knew my Papa, George Bain.  He was foreman at Pentland Garage.  If I ask my Gran very nicely I could possibly get some photos.

I think my Dad pretty much grew up at Pentland Garage.  His  school buses were from there and he said he helped fix them in the school yard at St David's, Dalkeith."

M Bain, Loanhead, Midlothian:  Message posted in EdinPhoto guest book:  December 30, 2009


If you'd like to send a reply to M Bain, please email me, then I'll pass your message on to him.  Thank you.

Peter Stubbs:  January 2, 2010



Tom Inglis

Dalkeith, Midlothian, Scotland

Thank you to Tom Inglis who wrote:

George Bain

"I have just recently discovered the Pentland Garage web site and was indeed surprised to see so much interest.

I am one of the few surviving long-term employees, having spent nearly 20 years there.  Although Sonny had a finger in many pies, so to speak, I was involved mainly in the transport side, having driven local and long distance before becoming foreman alongside the only other transport foreman we ever had,  namely Bob Mclean."

Tom Inglis, Dalkeith, Midlothian, Scotland:  December 8, 2010



Tom Inglis

Dalkeith, Midlothian, Scotland

Tom Inglis added:


"I noticed on a page, somewhere on the web, that someone was advertising photographs of a Pentland Volvo 8-wheeled flat, reg. no FSY IF.

I found this to be rather amusing, for when I picked up that vehicle from Volvo's yard at Neilson, Glasgow in1967, it was an F86 Tractor Unit."

Ran Lumsden

"I'd like to mention Rab Lumsden, my very dear best friend . We met when he came to Pentland Garage, some 50-odd years ago, and up until his death last year, hardly a week passed without contact.

He is not only missed by our two families but by everyone who knew him."

Tom Inglis, Dalkeith, Midlothian, Scotland:  December 8, 2010




John Elliot

Dalkeith, Midlothian, Scotland

John Elliot wrote:

Sonny's Other Nephew

"I  am Sonny's other Nephew.

I remember Ian and Michael Myco well as they had a taxi cab which they had fixed at my mother's garage, Pettigrew's.

My mother was Mary but I knew her as Molly.  She was Sonny's other sister.  I would be grateful to hear from anybody who could tell me about the firm."

John Elliot:  March 21, 2011

Reply to John?

If you'd like to send a message to John, please email me, then I'll pass on your message to him.   Thank you.

Peter Stubbs:  March 21, 2011




Robert Murray


Thank you to Robert Murray, formerly of Penicuik, Midlothian, Scotland and now living in Thailand, for leaving this message in the EdinPhoto guest book.

Robert wrote:


"I worked at the Pentland Garage in 1967.  That's where Istarted my lorry driving, with lots of hard work at Eskmill Paper Mill loading trailers and happing and roping them ready for delivery south."


"I drove lots of old bangers:

2-stroke 4-wheel Commer,

4 wheel Albion Chieftain Tipper

I took bricks from Roslin to Melrose.  Later,I did long-distance, with a more modern 4-wheel Commer."


I remember:

-  Tom Inglis,

-  Bobby Cornett,

-  Davey Bell

-  etc.

I also remember FSY 1F and FSY 2F.

I think Bobby Cornett drove 2F.

Those were the days !"


Messages for Robert?

Robert tells me that he'd be pleased to hear from anybody who remembers Pentland Garage.

If you'd like to contact him please email me, then I'll give you his contact details.


Robert Murray, Thailand:  Message posted in EdinPhoto guestbook, September 14, 2011




Phil Corliss

Tonasket, Washington, USA

Phil Corliss wrote


"I was stationed at RAF Kirknewton in the early 1960s and married Sylvia Brown, a gal from Loanhead.  We bought a caravan and had it at Nivensknowe."

Ford V8 Pilot

"We needed a car, so Willie Brown, my wife's father, suggested Sonny's garage.  I met Mr Swinton and was greeted with a hearty handshake and an invite to look around his car collection. 

I found an old '48 Ford V8 Pilot, which I thought was a '36 Ford.  Mr Swinton told me to hook up a charger to the car and come back in an hour.  I was so excited about getting the car I could hardly wait..

Once back at the garage, Sonny told me to go start the car and take it for a test drive.  Needles to say, I bought the car and it served us well for as long as we were in Scotland."

Phil Corliss, Tonasket, Washington, USA:  January 1, 2011




Vivienne Baird

Loanhead, Midlothian, Scotland

Thank you to Vivienne Baird who wrote:

Old Pentland

"While doing a project on Old Pentland, I found people talking about Sonny Swinton's Garage.

My dad worked there for a while and I remember going down to Sonny's garage as child and seeing all the old cars stacked on top of each other and the office stacked with papers everywhereThinking back, Sonny was a legend!

The old school at Old Pentland is now a house, and Sonny's garage site has become an Asda store.

Vivienne Baird, Loanhead, Midlothian, Scotland




Allan Dodds

Nottingham, Nottinghamshire,  England

Allan Dodds wrote:

Car Respray Business

"In the 1960s, my mates and I ran a car re-spray and resell business in a yard in Leith owned by Kersans food cannery."

Sonny Swinton

"We often used to purchase vehicles form Sonny Swinton, most of which had been insurance write-offs.

Sonny was always there in his great bulk, with dungarees in which he kept several Pound notes in the top pocket.  Sonny never kept the notes in a wad, but rolled each one up separately in case he gave more than one in change at a time!"

Old Cars

"Sonny had a number of sheds with cars that had lain forlorn for decades, most of them covered in a thick layer of pigeon droppings.  None of them were runners and I remember some hair-raising rides in them, being towed at 40mph with no brakes other than the handbrake operating!

Of course, in those days the MoT had not yet been introduced and I'm pretty sure that none of the vehicles was insured or taxed.

MoT  Certificates

"When MoTs came in, we had a tame mechanic who used to MoT them over the 'phone.

"How are the brakes?", he used to ask.

-  "Fine", we replied,

    and a certificate was duly issued.

My 1934 Austin Seven, whose brakes never really worked and which wandered all over the road, always passed with flying colours.

 Happy days!"

Allan Dodds, Nottingham, Nottinghamshire, England:  February 25, 2014




John Stevenson

Trinity, Edinburgh

John Stevenson told me:

Sonny Swinton

"I remember Sonny Swinton and his Pentland Garage.  People used to arrive there from miles around, to buy parts for their cars.

Sonny encouraged them to:

-  bring their own tools to dismantle the cars in his yard.

-  take off the door, the alternator, or whatever they wanted.

-  show it to him and he would tell them the price.

If you looked shocked or disappointed when you heard his price, he would reduce it."

John Stevenson, Trinity, Edinburgh:   March 25, 2014




John Stevenson

Trinity, Edinburgh

Thank you again for sending more memories of Sonny Swinton.

John wrote:

Sonny Swinton

"My wife, Rhona, remembers Sonny Swinton.  She remembers him sitting at the front door of his house if things were quiet in the summer.  His front door faced west, and often when you passed he was fast asleep.

One of my neighbours who is into vintage cars also remembers Sonny.  He tells me that Sonny could tune the twin carbs on a Jag XJ using a rubber tube held against  his cheek, which told him if the down draught was OK!"

John Stevenson, Trinity, Edinburgh:   March 25, 2014




Ronnie Peters


Thakham, Bangkuntian, Thailand

Thank you to Ronnie Peters who wrote:

Sonny Swinton's Garage

Playing in the Scrap Yard

"As a young boy, I used to go Sonny Swinton's Pentland Garage in Loanhead, quite often, with my late father, Frank Peters.  We would walk over from Rosewell.

I loved playing in the cars in his scrap yard next to the garage and house.  I especially loved sitting in the Jaguars, pretending that I was driving them."

Driving for Sonny

"My late mother was a good friend of Sonny and his sister Betsy or Bessy (memory is a bit hazy) who lived at the house.

My father used to drive for Sonny at times in the late-1950s and the 1960s.

Sonny used to pay 'trip money' which meant that you got paid for each trip.  It was handy as my father would do trips for Sonny on his holidays and at other times."

Car from Sonny

"We bought our first car from Sonny, around 1961.  I remember, it was a Wolesley."

Spare Parts fr9om Sonny

"As the years went on, I used to go to Sonny's for spare parts for cars that I was working on.  It was always 'You get what you see!".

Sonny was certainly well known standing out the front of his garage in the overalls."

Ronnie Peters ('Rocky'), Thakham, Bangkuntian, Thailand:  September 29, 2014




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