Posts Tagged ‘then and now’


September 22, 2016

From my childhood home in Ifield in Sussex to a village called Crosshill in Ayrshire, Scotland is  a road journey of 435 miles which the Automobile Association estimate would take seven and a quarter hours of continuous driving. Yet my childhood home was called Crosshill and was named after this village. My home was one of a pair of semi-detached homes. The other was called Straiton and that is named after the neighbouring village to Crosshill.

When returning home from a recent holiday in Scotland there was an opportunity to visit Crosshill in Ayrshire and see just what my old home had been named after.

Like many a Scottish village it is quite an attractive place.


Here we have some of the main street and just opposite here there is a Post Office and store where I was allowed to copy an old photo they had hanging up.image004This photo, to judge by the car, dates from my childhood era.

We also had it pointed out to us where we could see more photos from the past.


The square had a war memorial and of course, it still does.


This is King Street in 1913 – a dozen or so years after my home was built.image010A similar view now.


And this was my childhood home – the right half of the pair. The left half is Straiton.


Tarbet, Loch Lomond – then and now

August 20, 2016

Our first visit to Tarbet on Loch Lomond in Scotland was in 1970 which, as I write, was 46 years ago. We had caught the boat up to Tarbet from Balloch and had a wonderful, bright clear journey. Our vessel for this trip was the wonderful paddle steamer, Maid of the Loch. It didn’t really prove possible to photograph it until we had alighted at Tarbet at the end of that stage of our journey. As the old Maid departed she did her best to blacken the skies above those bonny banks.


By heck – that was a lot of evil black smoke but Maid of the Loch quickly got under way as she headed further up Lomond.


She is of course a fascinating ship still extant but now a static tourist attraction. She was built in 1953 on the Clyde and then disassembled and transported by train to Balloch where she was rebuilt and launched in 1953 so she was but 17 years old when we travelled on her – the last paddle steamer built in Britain.

We’ll now fast forward to 2016. We had been to Tarbet in between times but always got bad weather, but in July 2016 the sun shone again for us.


That little peak hasn’t changed but there is no Maid of the Loch to occupy the foreground.


The boats on the loch do not have the same appeal that Maid of the Loch had but Loch Lomond looked good.


The Portsmouth to Ryde ferry

June 29, 2016

It wasn’t so long ago that I was on the end of Ryde Pier head watching the ferry leave for Portsmouth.


That’s Wight Rider 1 backing away from the pier at Ryde before its high speed dash back to the mainland.

Sixty years ago – and long before I knew him – my father in law took a photo of a Ryde ferry at Portsmouth.image004

His photo isn’t sharp enough to read a name but I feel it could be the ferry called Ryde. Times were more leisurely and this old lady, driven by paddles, will have chuntered gently across the Solent. If she is Ryde, then her operational life was from 1937 to 1969. She still exists but in a very derelict state. Whether she ever gets conserved is still a matter for conjecture.


There was certainly something more glamorous about the old boats as compared with the new. I know which way I’d prefer to travel.

Sussex County Magazine

June 6, 2016

My dad started taking the Sussex County Magazine in 1948 and continued until that version ceased publication in 1956. If he got a whole year, he had them bound into one book with one index. I have these and also the ones that never were bound – a few from 1948 and 1955 onwards. These have their front covers on which I think make them more attractive.

And this one would really have excited us when it was delivered through our front door for it depicts our village. It dates from January 1955.


That’s the Plough Inn in Ifield. Ifield Street which runs off to the left leads to the church. On the right, under the spreading tree was an old blacksmith’s smithy. Just outside was the iron disc on which tyres were fitted to wooden wheels. It’s still there and so is The Plough.


Actually, it is remarkably the same considering 60 years and the growth of Crawley in that time.

But back to the magazine and its headline for what was inside – Old barrel organs at Sussex churches. Amongst those depicted is the one at Piddinghoe.

image006My dad must have remembered this article for when opportunity arose we went to see this barrel organ. I recall winding the handle and seeing how it worked – changing the hymn by a small movement of the barrel. Yet I can’t have heard anything for this was a pipe organ and the pipes were missing. Memory plays tricks for I’d have sworn we made music on that organ.

I still get much enjoyment looking at these magazines about my birth and childhood county.

Ifield – Then and Now

April 5, 2016

This was the street on which I was brought up. My family moved to a house well down this street when I was less than a year old. It was still the 1940s!

This postcard has been seen before on this blog. It was posted in 1921 and I believe changes had been made between then and my earliest memories.


Most notably, the left hand side of the road as we look at it had a pavement. But other than that this was the street I knew from my earliest times. The road is called Ifield Green. The one heading off to the right is called Langley Lane. I’d have known most of the people who lived in any house that can be seen in that photo.

Now I still have relatives who live along that street so I still visit it. They live in a house that wasn’t built in my early memories. I remember it being built. On one of my visits (actually back in 2009 I took this photo.

image003There often seems to be much more in the way of greenery – trees and shrubs these days. Houses that used to be visible are now hidden. There are now pavements on both sides. There’s an ugly concrete street lamp.

The large house on the left is clearly the same and there is still a hedge on the left around allotments.  Speed humps have been put in the road and whilst it might still look quite quiet it is actually a busy road. Down at the far end of the picture there is still the village shop. There is also a pub not far past the big house. What was open land, just past Langley Lane, now has a row of large detached houses. They are set back a little and are hidden by hedge and trees.

I can just make out the bus stop shelter which I recall being built. It is near the white van.

As a child I could play in the street but that changed in the mid 1950s when the New Town of Crawley was being built and particularly when Gatwick Airport was under construction. That major project led to what seemed like an endless stream of lorries carrying spoil away from the site trundling along our little road.

You can see more of my village street by clicking here.

Farewell to the old home.

February 2, 2016

It is 1976. We had lived in our first home since we married in 1971. Now we were saying farewell, ready to move into our present home.

There’s my wife sitting on the floor.


Knock down furniture had been taken apart for removal. Pictures were off the wall. There was a clutter of cardboard boxes.

But now for something to amuse.

We still have the same L S Lowry print hanging on the wall.

image004It has faded quite a bit in the last 40 years.

We still have much of the same furniture.

image006Stool, chairs and coffee table all exist still. We had that rug then too. The chairs and the sofa have been reupholstered twice.

The knock down furniture is still up and in the orange colour we had chosen then to match the furniture. They have been relegated to a spare room, along with the same curtains.

image008Actually, the carpet in that room is also still the same as the one my wife sat on in 1976.

There’s a blue suitcase in the 1976 picture. That is in use as a container in our loft. I can recognise that in front of it is the gramophone I still use – a battery electric one rather than a wind up.

And of course, I still have my wife or should I say we still have each other.

The French phrase is plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose which means the more things change, the more they stay the same. Perhaps in my house we’d better say the times change but the things stay the same.


Faroese Sheep

January 29, 2016

Father in Law spent time in the Faroe Islands towards the end of World War 2. He was a radio operator in the RAF and was able to help have knowledge of what was going on in the North Atlantic – a vital zone for preventing supplies reaching Germany.

He took quite a lot of photos – a sort of snapshot of Faroese life just over 70 years ago.

It is now more than ten years since we were there at times tracing his footsteps.

Doug (Father in Law) took a photo of Faroese sheep.


He captioned his photos and here we have two captions for this one.



We were not there in spring so I can’t match his cute lamb. But sheep still scratch a living on the hillsides of the islands and here’s my photo.

image008What a gorgeous beast. The owner has had to trim the horns. Sometimes a curly horn can point straight into the face of the animal and keep growing. Trimming the horn is not a problem. These sheep aren’t particularly tame. Getting close can be a problem.

Our visit to the Faroe Islands was interesting. Much had changed since Doug’s time, but much still remained the same.

Millers Dale

December 5, 2015

Travel in 1905 and 2008

We’ll start with one of those railway carriage prints and it depicts, as the name implies, travel back in 1905.

What we see here is a Midland compound loco on a Manchester express near Millers Dale in Derbyshire. The loco was said to be new back then. It still exists for it became a part of the nationally preserved collection of locos.

The print does not date from 1905. It was issued in 1951 by the London Midland region of British Railways. The original art work was by Hamilton Ellis and was part of a series of ‘travel in’ prints used.

I reckon this particular copy has suffered fading. The loco and carriages ought to be in a crimson colour. If you search for this item on the web you’ll see what it would have looked like when new. But I rather like the more subdued colours here.

Sadly, the old Midland Railway route to Manchester was closed in 1968. Parts of it have been restored as heritage lines and much of the area in Derbyshire is now a footpath – the Monsal Trail.

Back in 2008 we walked some of this including a stretch at Millers Dale.


That scene, taken from the track, could be very close to where Hamilton Ellis set his scene.

This is Millers Dale station with a platform edge, the remains of buildings some being used by builders, but no tracks and no trains.


A very battered relic

October 22, 2015

You have to forgive yourself past mistakes and I certainly made one when repairing an old map with sellotape. I’d have been about 12 at the time so that was over fifty years ago.

I bought the map – probably just about given away – at a jumble sale. It was a map of the railway network of Great Britain and it showed the new grouping.

Before the First World War there had been dozens of privately owned railway companies. My favourite company from that time (always ancient history to me) was the London, Brighton and South Coast Railway. I lived roughly in the middle of what had been its area and even though my memories start 30 years after the demise of the old company there were still locos and carriages from that long gone era around.

During World War One the railways were taken over by the government and then, in 1923, they were returned into private ownership. But it was thought that small companies, like my favoured Brighton one, would never have the resources to manage well so all of the dozens of old companies were merged into the ’Big 4’. These were largely regionally based. Again, my favourite was the one in the area I lived and was called the Southern Railway which incorporated the old Brighton company, along with others and it operated trains south of London from Kent to Cornwall.

My map was to show this new grouping of railways. As this took place in 1923 the map must date from about then.

That’s the map cover today showing my awful sellotape damage.

image002 And here’s a little section of the map.


The lines shown in red are those of the Southern Railway whilst the green routes belonged to the Great Western Railway. One line is shown in red and blue dashes. This was a joint line owned by the Southern Railway and the huge London, Midland and Scottish Railway. Each of the counties is shown in colour so here we see parts of Devon, Somerset and Dorset.

Just for interest here’s much the same area 90 years on, in 2013.


There are a lot fewer lines than there used to be!

Barmouth Bridge – then and now

September 24, 2015

Back in the 1980s – a generation ago – we took our family camping on the south side of the Mawddach estuary for three years running. It was a quiet and undisturbed area with bustling Barmouth less than a mile away across the footbridge next to the railway line.


I think we must have been up near Llynau Cregennen, above Arthog when this photo was taken.

That’s my daughter on the left looking about the age her son does now. I have to say she is also looking cold. A wooded hump rises up from by the water. That is Fegla Fawr – a hill we camped on.

To the right of that a black line goes across the water and that is Barmouth Bridge. This spans the estuary. We can also see, just alongside my daughter’s head and going into the centre of the photo the Fairbourne spit which goes nearly all the way to Barmouth.

I’ve called this a ‘then and now’ but I don’t have a now view. Instead I have the opposite view from Barmouth, across the bridge, over Fegla Fawr and up into the mountains.


The bridge passes in front of Fegla Fawr. Llynau Cregennen is high up in the mountains beyond.

It is a beautiful part of the world and people speak the Welsh language there. I may not understand what they say but by golly it sounds so beautiful and most folks can speak English and they do to we English folk.

Pronunciation is different in Wales too. We learned some things quite quickly back in the 1980s. The nearest railway station to where we camped was and still is Morfa Mawddach. It’s a request stop. If you want to get off the train there you have to tell the guard in advance so he (it was still all men back then) can ensure the train stops. We recall the first time and we told the guard we wished to get off at More fir more datch. Eventually he understood and said, ‘Ah! You mean more var mouthe ack’. We don’t pretend to be any good at Welsh but because road signs are bilingual we have learned many words and mostly we think we pronounce them tolerably well.