Londres at Newhaven

Watching the ferries going in and out of Newhaven harbour was always a popular activity. They were fun to watch from close quarters, where you could see the passengers and wave at them. They were fun to watch whilst sea swimming when you could enjoy the bigger waves which the ship created and they were fun to watch from the top of the downs, some four or so miles away. The fun there was to see the puff of exhaust from the ships hooter. It always sounded this before it entered the harbour area as a warning to small boats. Then you could wait maybe 25 seconds before you heard the noise. What a grand way of learning that sound really travels relatively (to light) slowly.

From closer to we could enjoy the differences between ferries. My favourite was the Lisieux  but Londres was quite good and it is Londres that my dad photographed back in 1954.

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That’s Londres, leaving Newhaven just about 60 years ago.

The thing that strikes me is how small the ferry looks. Back then there was no thought of roll on / roll off car ferries. These ships were for carrying passengers and many would have arrived on the boat train from London. These days ferries might have a kilometre of road on the car deck so no wonder they are much bigger than their older counterparts.

And even if the passengers are small in the photo we can sense the excitement they felt as they headed off on what was still a real adventure. Passengers are crowded on the open decks waving at docksiders like us.

The passengers were on their way to Dieppe which, Back in 1954 was the other side of the world as far as I was concerned

I have once made the journey now. The fast ferry we booked on was cancelled and a slow one substituted. That one sailed happily to Dieppe where the tide was too high for it to dock so we gently cruised up and down outside the harbour for a couple of hours and then docked. There was none of the excitement or glamour of past times. But I was pleased to do it.

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