Posts Tagged ‘Holiday’


May 18, 2016

I have never been to Northern Ireland. The six counties which are somewhat wrongly referred to as Ulster were subjected to troubles from 1968. One always suspected that the troubles were restricted in terms of where they happened, but the publicity was bad and like many another person from the east side of the Irish Sea, I kept away. It didn’t stop us from visiting Eire – the republic comprising the bulk of the island including counties that made up historic Ulster. But the six counties that have remained a part of the United Kingdom have still to be visited by me. That’s my loss, of course.

Back in the 1950s Bangor, in Northern Ireland was seen as a holiday destination and was advertised on the railways.


As ever, a railway poster, depicted here on a 2016 calendar, has made the place look very attractive and worthy of a visit which I am sure it is. This poster first saw the light of day in 1955 and was the work of A J Wilson.

Back in the mid 50s only about one household in every five actually had a car so holidays by train were still very much the norm. It must have been exciting to make a sea crossing and still be on British soil able to speak the same language and use the same currency. It would also have been quite expensive so only the more well to do folks would do it.

For me, a holiday in 1955 was camping in a farmer’s field in really quite primitive (but memorably wonderful) conditions little more than 20 miles from home in Sussex.


We were definitely a carless household. Dad hired a lorry and driver to take and collect us.

Summer before the War

November 9, 2014

I always say there’s more to being a railway enthusiast than just trains. For most of the time that railways have existed they have been (for better or worse) companies attempting to make a good profit for shareholders. It was important that travelling was encouraged and so advertising always played a part.

I was always an enthusiast for the Southern Railway and so I acquired from somewhere a  book called Hints for Holidays published by the Southern Railway in 1938 – the summer before the war.


As is often the case with this kind of book, the advert on the back is more interesting than the front.


Since my student days, back in the late 1960s, I have been a ‘follower’ of the folk rock band Fairport Convention. I have quite a few of their albums from various eras of the band. The album ‘Red and Gold’ was the last ever vinyl record I bought. On that album, one of my favourite tracks is called ‘The Summer Before the War’. It’s a gentle lilting melody about the sort of activity we see in this book – young people enjoying the simple pleasures of sand, sea and air. There’s a youtube version of the song – click here. This has nothing to do with me in terms of posting it to the web. Sorry if it has vanished if you link to it.

I think it combines well with the book.