London has got its first all-women garage. The hilariously named Spanners with Manners in Finchley was founded by Laura Kennedy, who trained with Porsche and wanted to create a more inclusive space for people to have their cars fixed and serviced in a world that can often feel very male-dominated.
You won’t find any male mechanics at SwM, because the staff is made up of entirely of women. Kennedy told the Londonist that people are often surprised to see all-female mechanics. You’d think this wouldn't still be a thing in 2022, but she said people just don’t expect to see women operating heavy machinery and jacking up cars. ‘We do have muscles, you know,’ she said.
‘I think people are quite surprised how we look,’ Kennedy added. ‘People don't expect to walk in and actually see girls that take care of themselves!’
Kennedy runs the garage with her wife Siobhan, a former hairstylist.
On the website, the garage says it’s a ‘warm, welcoming, and non-judgemental environment for all customers, but especially for women who often feel less confident at garages as the environment can be very male-dominated.’
Kennedy explained that Spanners with Manners wasn’t created to intentionally be all-female, it just happened organically. ‘Other female mechanics sought me out,’ she said.
Although the staff are all women, everyone is welcome. One of the garage’s mottos is ‘come as you are’. Kennedy said: ‘We genuinely welcome everyone.’
Spanners with Manners, 308b Long Lane, N2 8JP.