Posts Tagged ‘1964’

Holiday Haunts 1964

June 21, 2016

This book gives an indication of the decline in railways as a means of getting on holiday. Until 1962 such books were issued by the railway but after that publication was down to other commercial concerns. The introduction says it all.


HERE is the second Dickens Press edition of HOLIDAY HAUNTS.
The first, in 1963, was successor to the long line of British Railways issues which ceased in 1962. It was felt that here was a reference book essential to holidaymakers in Britain. The success and support which greeted our first publication of HOLIDAY HAUNTS has confirmed that opinion.

But let’s take a look at the book.


For half a crown (12½p) you could buy a guide to the whole of the UK running to more than 500 pages. It gave some general overviews of areas and then had a gazetteer listing and describing pretty well all holiday places. My local town, Devizes, gets a mention.

DEVIZES. Wiltshire. – 86 miles London (43/- Ordinary 2nd Class Return), 203 miles
Manchester (100/-),418 miles Glasgow (/74/-).
Pop.: 8,497. E.C. Wed. Mkt. Thurs.
Stonehenge, Avebury and Silbury are not many miles from this historic town in the heart of Wiltshire; and in the museum of Wiltshire Archaeological and Natural Historic Society are notable exhibits of times long past.
Golf (9), tennis, bowls, open-air swimming pool. Coarse fishing. Caravan park. Cinema. Carnival (September).
Annual fairs (April and October).

We get distances and train fares from some major places – early closing and market days – an attraction is mentioned and various annual events and activities are listed.

But of course, much of this bit of memorabilia is adverts and for no obvious reason I have picked out Clacton.image004

I suppose things haven’t changed that much but destinations probably have.


November 28, 2013


OK, I know that correctly the piece of agricultural kit that both cut corn and tied it up into bundles was called a reaper-binder. In my experience, though, the fact that they reaped or cut the crop was taken as read. They were always called binders.

I associate them, very much, with ‘camp’.

Back in the early and mid-50s the sight of a binder working the fields with men following and stoking up the sheaves was commonplace. To me, as a child, it was timeless. As a child you imagine that things are as they always have been so to me a tractor hauling a binder with a crew of two must always have been what happened. I did know that historically, horses had provided the motive power but that was before my time and I probably guessed that it might have been alongside the Stone Age, rather than having been the norm for my dad.

However, the future was with us, and I remember my brother and me dashing up to the top of the downs to see a new-fangled combine harvester at work. My dad, sensible as ever, recorded the binder scene and here we have one of his charming photos.


So, a classic scene from 1955. Driving the tractor was a young man called Julian Freeman.


The farm we camped on was managed by his uncle Dick and he normally managed the controls of the binder, but on this occasion, I don’t think it is him.


In fact I really don’t know who that is. Julian’s father, George would have been helping at the harvest and his other uncle, Harry would have been around as well. But this isn’t either of them.

As the fifties drew to a close, the binders began to get swept into oblivion. My dad, realising this had another go at recording the scene at ‘camp’ using a colour slide film.


This was actually in 1964. Julian is still on the tractor but this time it definitely is Dick Freeman on the binder.

But the binder never quite died. In Wiltshire, where I have lived all my adult life, a few farmers grow long straw wheat and cut it with a binder. This keeps the straw in good order, and after the grain has been threshed out, the straw can be sold for thatching

So here we have a 21st century binder resting after harvesting a local field.


The Old Shed

September 5, 2013

Here are some pictures from 1964 when I was a teenager. I certainly won’t say I was a rebellious teenager. In fact I feel I had little in the way of boundaries to rebel against. My mum was already suffering from cancer, which she died from 1n 1967. My dad’s job meant he was often at home during the day but out in evenings. I had a free and easy time.

By 1964 a degree of financial security had reached the family and my dad had been able to acquire a brand new vehicle which he felt was essential for his job as a touring (extra-mural was the term used) lecturer. He felt a garage was needed to house the vehicle which was a Bedford Dormobile.

The first picture shows garage under construction, but still housing the old black shed. One of our camp tents has been put up down the garden to act as storage.

The shed was a wonderful glory hole. Grandad had been a cobbler and we had some of his old gear. My dad was a keeper and hoarder (Yippee!) so we had an awful lot of old tins filled with anything that might be useful. I loved that shed and only now, looking back do I realise how small it was.


By the way, that’s me leaning over twixt garage under construction and the tent.

The interior of the garage still has dad’s crazy paving down. I remember these stones being bought at a local house clearance auction and they served us well (and still exist, of course).


Here we see me leaving the shed. Yes I was quite tall, but I have no memory of the shed door being quite so low.

The lean-to on the house on the left was the bathroom which had, originally been an outhouse. Next to it, where you see the dustbin had been our coal store and the area between lean-to and shed had been covered by a corrugated metal roof supported on poles. It had also been used for storing our bikes.

Beyond our shed I see the house at the local garage and petrol station. Now there’s an idea for another blog!

But meanwhile I’ll remember that shed with huge affection.

Was Grandad a nerd?

December 9, 2012

I’m sure the answer, really, was no he wasn’t. The view of some was that Grandad’s life was blighted by the first world war. He came home, as far as I know, unharmed in any physical sense. But the ‘land fit for heroes’ was unable to get him his pre-war job back. He’d been a postman. He had some skill as a cobbler and got a poorly paid job doing that. There was certainly poverty, but at least grandad had a job and the wolf was kept from the door.

Grandad took photos. He didn’t have facilities to develop a film, so he got that done at a local shop and then printed his own images – or those he thought were worth the money. I think this one fell into the ‘not worth it’ category, but Grandad kept his negatives which, eventually, were handed to me. I have been able to digitise them and so can see something of my ancestor’s life and that of his family. Of course, negatives are not captionned. It has not always been easy to sort out where photos were taken, let alone why. But as we can see, this shows a railway.


Now I’m on guesswork. I think this will be near Sidley on the Bexhill West to Crowhurst Line of the old South Eastern and Chatham Railway. I suspect part of the purpose of the photo was to do with the vegetable garden on the left. I know grandad’s brother, Joe, had an allotment somewhere near the railway so it might have been his.

The sign on the right says ‘catch points’. There may be an expert who can recognise that sign and its proximity to an over bridge.

It’s certainly a shame that granddad was unable to get a train in his picture. That would have helped to date it and locate it.

Since I last wrote about the Bexhill West branch, I have located another ticket, probably bought as a souvenir by my dad for it dates from the time of his last trip on the line.


Sixpence for a journey of slightly over 4 miles sounds laughable today but the adult rate was, no doubt, threepence per mile back then. It would not have seemed cheap in the 1960s.

The Bexhill West Branch

November 4, 2012

My dad was born in 1919 within sight and sound of the Bexhill West branch of the South Eastern and Chatham Railway. He wouldn’t really have had memories from before the grouping, but he told me he used to get confused about why people sometimes referred to Bexhill West as ‘the South eastern station’. He also commented that he knew people who had built the line, something he thought almost impossible since railways had clearly been there for all time. In fact, the line opened in 1902, just 17 years before dad’s birth.

In 1964, Dr Beeching had the line earmarked for closure. My dad decided he wanted to take a nostalgia trip along the line. He remembered ex Brighton D3 tanks as motive power, with the Westinghouse donkey pumps providing air pressure for the train braking system.. By 1964, a 2 car Hampshire style diesel unit provided the motive power.

Let’s start at the only intermediate station between Bexhill West and the Tonbridge to Hastings main line at Crowhurst. That was Sidley.

We appear to be the sole passengers waiting for the train. That’s me, resting on Dad’s shooting stick and clearly wearing some trousers that didn’t like my shoes.

I bought a platform ticket as a souvenir. It is dated 21st May 1964. The ticket I was given, however, had originally been printed earlier than that for it is a Southern Railway ticket and says it cost 1d – an old penny.

Sidley was the nearest station to the flats where my dad was born and brought up. He took a photo of the flats from the train. The quality is awful.

Yep! That row of unprepossessing flats is where Dad was born. He could see the trains from the back windows, just as we could see the flats from the train.

It’s now 48 years and a bit since we made this pilgrimage for Dad. I cannot remember precisely what we did – except that we went to both ends of the line.

Let’s see Bexhill West first.

There’s the two car diesel unit on the left. It ran the shuttle service between Bexhill West and Crowhurst. Hopefully, you didn’t wait long for a train from Hastings for the onward journey. Bexhill West looks far too grand. Perhaps it was never a sensible line to build, for the rival Brighton company already served Bexhill.

About half a mile from Crowhurst, the line crossed a little stream and this meant a large viaduct was needed. We went to look at it.

Dad managed a none too good shot of the Bexhill West train passing over this structure.

There’s an altogether sharper shot of the viaduct.

And so to Crowhurst Station

The Bexhill train is on the right,  with a Hastings bound train, from London, approaching.

Gosh.Dad was almost artistic here, framing the viaduct under the footbridge and organising a lad (me) to stand, casually, looking into the picture.


Crowhurst viaduct was blown up, as captured by a newspaper photographer.

We visited again in 1969 with half a demolition job done.

This time I was the photographer and I grabbed a photo of Dad on the rubble.

He’s in the white coat.