Posts Tagged ‘1937’

First Family Car

December 23, 2012

For the first ten years of my life, I lived in a carless family. How different life was then. Journeys to see grandparents started with a mile walk to Ifield Station (It was properly Ifield Halt at the time)  and then at least one change of train along the way. Two bus services passed by our house. For us, both went to Crawley and both were operated with what I now know were venerable old buses. Usually we cycled to Crawley but in any case, much of our shopping was dealt with at Howlett’s Store which was just across the road from our house.

My dad had acquired a driving licence during World War II. By 1959 the family finances were deemed sufficiently firm for a car to be added to the household effects. It was a pre-war, 1937 Austin 10. Here it is, outside the house with mum admiring it. Dad, obviously, took the photo.


As far as I remember, my dad paid £50 to get us on the road. Some of its faults can be seen – the rusted running board under the doors and the dented rear wing are fairly obvious. It had other quirks. The gear stick wouldn’t stay in first gear unless it was held there. If there was a front seat passenger, then it was their job to hold the stick in place. My dad attached a piece of elastic to loop over the stick for solo driving. Then, the force of gravity was stronger than the petrol pump. On steep hills, petrol failed to reach the engine and the only option was to turn the car round and reverse up hills. Later, one of the rear wings partially fell (or was knocked) off. It was held in place by wire but from then on that side’s rear door couldn’t be used.

None the less the old car – first registered in Southampton and with the number plate of BCR 337 got us about.


That’s mum again, and a grossly overladen car arriving at our personal camp site. A box looking like a picnic hamper has been unloaded. It actually contained the family cat who came camping with us.

In 1960, the car testing regime was introduced by government decree. There was no way old BCR 337 was going to pass so, sadly, off she went to meet her maker. A new(er) car was bought – a mere dozen years old. The motoring age had come to stay.

Inheriting the bug.

November 21, 2012

This is my dad at age 17 or 18. The year was 1937. He worked for EMI in Hayes, Middlesex. Just what he did, I don’t know but he always claimed he’d had his fill of television by the time World War II broke out.

I suppose this was a job rather than an interest so really it proves nothing much about the wide interests of my dad although he must have applied for the job.

To my Dad’s left there seems to be a high voltage area. The wire cage, the square plate on what look like insulators and a couple of discharge spheres all point to some rather sparky equipment.

But whatever this photo shows alters nothing. My dad was interested in all sorts. He was well versed with knowledge of plants and animals that you might see in the countryside. How I wish I’d learned more from him. He was enthusiastic about matters scientific and mathematical. In later years he took up industrial archaeology. But he was also well involved in community affairs. People mattered to him and he cared about society.

I’m proud to have inherited, or learned some of the characteristics he had.