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Blue Boar owned the first service area at Watford Gap on the M1. They were offered it as compensation for the reduced traffic on the A5, where they ran a petrol station, which was about to be bypassed by the opening of the new motorway.
The company was named after the lake behind one of their petrol stations (at Dunchurch), where a local legend says that a blue boar lived during the time of Robin Hood. The company had a number of garages and restaurants across the area. The original Blue Boar Café took its name from the junction of the same name on the A45, which is still there as a Little Chef today.
In 1998 Blue Boar sold their business to Roadchef, who later bought Take a Break, as part of their plans to enlarge their company and become 'the UK's fastest growing motorway services operator'. Roadchef have since refurbished all of Blue Boar's sites. The half-built Stafford was included in the sale.
Blue Boar liked to provide local branding, such 'Annandale Lodge'.
At its best, Watford Gap became popular and famous amongst travellers and party-goers. It is still known nationally and nostalgically as 'The Blue Boar'. Until 1965 it featured a waitress restaurant, this was scrapped in favour for a self-service one as Blue Boar quickly realised customers wanted to be served quickly.
One noted early money-saving trick was to serve hot drinks in disposable wax cups, which did not go down well with its high-class audience.
The following services were owned by Blue Boar:
They also planned the following unbuilt services: