Friday, 31 July 2015

Just a Tram at Twilight...

September 1985 - doesn't it take me a long time to write these blog entries? Anyway on one warm evening we had gone for a walk up the Promenade and went up to the North Pier to capture a few of the illuminated trams coming out to play.

If I were asked what was my favourite of the illuminated trams it would be hard to choose between this and the western train. But I've always liked this 1950s vision of what a space ship would look like. The tram had a body raked up at 30 degrees - the only one of Blackpool's fleet to have such an arrangement. It rejoiced in the name of Tramnik 1 - by the end of the 1950s the Americans were only just getting thinking about space travel. The Russians though had managed to put a satellite called Sputnik 1 in orbit in 1957. It orbited the Earth every 96 minutes and stayed up for three months before it burned up in the atmosphere falling back to Earth in early 1958.

Tramnik 1 did slightly better, retiring from use in 1999 after 38 years. It was capable of being driven in reverse but this was not a sophisticated arrangement and today's Health and Safety regulations would require extensive work before it could ever be allowed to run again, but the external lighting was rewired and the tram displayed on the Gynn Square roundabout for the 2012 illuminations.

Tram 761, one of only two Jubilee trams built, seen at Central Pier. It was built on the chassis of Balloon tram 725. The tram was elongated and had doors fitted either end for use as one-man-only operation. It first ran in 1979 and due to its high passenger capacity was used throughout the year mainly on Fleetwood runs. It later acquired all-over advertising - something I (and most tourists I've spoken to) hate - ending up bright orange, advertising Wynsors World of Shoes. It was withdrawn in 2011.

I love night photography but the best shots seem to come not when the sky is black, but at twilight when there's still a hint of blue in the sky. In this case, some cloud turns the sky a patchwork of blue and dark adding interest to this shot of Standard Tram 40, closely followed by a Balloon tram travelling south past the Golden Mile.

They are worth another look. On its way back to the depot, Standard 40 has only a few passengers and I suspect some of them may be workers at the end of a shift.

I'll finish with a daytime shot. There never needs to be an excuse to show either Lewis's store or the Dreadnought tram!

Thursday, 30 July 2015

Second Blackpool 1977 Photo Album 4 - Miscellany

Our final look at this 1977 photo album containing my photographs of Blackpool. This one will be a bit of a mash-up of different subjects and parts of the town.

Engineering Tram 753 seen at the Starr Gate loop. It had an inspection tower on the top deck and a diesel engine that allowed it to work when the line power was off. This engine was later to catch fire in 1990 and the lower deck was gutted. The tram, originally Standard Tram 143, has been owned by Lancastrian Transport Trust since 2002 undergoing restoration.

This photo has appeared on the blog before, but now re-scanned. It shows the construction of the ride station for the Pleasure Beach's Steeplechase ride. Equipped with horses based on the design of the Derby Racer horses, it looked awesome. Up to three horses could race along the track, though it was rare to see more than two. Teething troubles led to a few problems with whiplash due to the abrupt braking of the ride but once sorted, this was an unusual and exciting ride.

Boarding a Balloon tram. 1970s fashions include lots of blue denim, knitwear, vests, leather jackets, plastic cagoules and hair! A good photo to show your grandparents in a few years when they start going on about the "good old days"...

I know... I took far too many photos from the pedestrian bridge over the Promenade... But it was a great spot for taking photos of the trams and for people watching!

The Central Pier arcade and entrance. More knitwear and denim is in evidence and some fine flared trousers. Flares were something of a disappointment to me - my legs are fairly short and usually trousers have to be cut short a bit so the flare would have disappeared before my legs got to go in them... The only way to wear flares was to cut a vertical gash and insert a triangular piece of denim in the middle! Hands up if you did it too... Look sheepish if you then sewed Noddy bells on the corners...

The end of the pier theatre is showing Those Good Old Days, that phrase again... It was based on the TV show The Good Old Days that was shown from Leeds City Varieties theatre with Leonard Sachs as chairman. The TV show ran from 1954 all the way to Christmas Eve 1983 - still with Leonard Sachs in the Chair. It ran for several years on the Central Pier too until the format changed and Linda Nolan spent 8 years topping the bill as Maggie May.

Knitwear again. Oh and large-checked flannel trousers! Pontins! A suitcase without any wheels!!! Ah - the good old.... no, I can't say it...

The Linden Lea and Laurels hotels next door to Pablo's on the Promenade near the South Pier. The Linden Lea is on the corner of Dean Street and later became the Sands. The Laurels is now Camelot Hotel. A very traditional looking pair of hotels, probably the most attractive along the Promenade. (I'm not linked in any way to either of them I should point out...)

I did take the odd family photo every now and then and here is Miss Franny, my wife of just over a year on East Park Drive. We are now approaching our 40th anniversary which will occur next year and she has now given up the blue and yellow jacket...

And whilst we are on East Park Drive... Adopt your best Lloyd Grossman voice and say: "Who, in their right minds, would want to own a car in this colour???" It must have some advantages I suppose... It wouldn't show if someone was sick over it for example...

We'll finish with a couple of black and white photos which worked their way into the album. This shows an exhibition of BBC costumes from various shows including period dramas and Dr Who. The car is a Morris Marina. It had taken over from the Morris Minor 1000 in 1971 and despite initial awful (later just poor) understeer caused by the front suspension (Autocar had described taking a tight bend on their test drive and ending on the wrong side of the road), it did sell in considerable numbers, being second only to the Ford Cortina. 807,000 were produced over ten years but by 2006 Auto Express reported that only 745 were still on the road, giving it the dubious honour of being the most scrapped car of the previous 30 years.

Sooner or later I'll have to do an entry of "people seen in Blackpool". There are still people taking what is known as "street photography" these days. It was simply called candid photography in the 1960s through to 1980s and the photographic magazines of the time used to run regular articles on how to get the best candid photos of people.

I was a member of Blackpool & The Fylde Photographic Society in the later 1980s and they had at least one night-time outing along this theme. Also I used to freelance to several magazines and many specified that there had to be human interest in the photographs they used. Consequently I have lots of photos featuring people on holiday or working in Blackpool. It might be fun to see if anyone can recognise themselves!

That brings us to the end of this particular album. But there just could be others to come...

Wednesday, 29 July 2015

Second Blackpool 1977 Photo Album 3 - The Pleasure Beach

Today we'll turn the pages of my photo album from 1977 to look at some photos of the Pleasure Beach on the south side of Watson Road.

Personally I much preferred walking along the front of the Pleasure Beach before the row of shops was built. The view of the Log Flume with the Big Dipper behind it always raised great anticipation of going on rides. Even for people who didn't like the white knuckle rides there were the rafts of the Tom Sawyer ride and every now and then the Pleasure Beach Express would chug along the edge of the lake at the foot of the Big Dipper woodwork.

The lake had once been home to rowing boats and then what I used to call putt-putt motor boats. These were moved to a spot in the north-east corner where a twisty canal was made to drive them along. The Tom Sawyer ride was a raft ride with a few tableaux of scenes with caricature figures of hillbillies placed here and there, perhaps just a touch incongruously amongst the supports for the Log Flume and Big Dipper.

In the background are the Aztec towers of the River Caves - the frontage I always think of if anyone mentions the River Caves. Because of its position with only a narrow space in front of it, I always found it impossible to get a really good photo of the River Caves which is a shame.

The Grand Prix dated back to the 1960s. After the bridging of Watson Road, the ride's station was situated on top of the bridge and a double spiral road led up and down to the track. I remember the cars being petrol driven but they were later replaced by electric motors. You steered the cars yourself and could either try to go top speed or you could zig-zag as much as you liked, but a central metal barrier stopped you from running off the road. It was very popular with teens still under the minimum driving age.

There were three parts of the Monorail ride I always particularly liked. This shows one of them - the passing of the train through the wooden structure of the Big Dipper seen here from the south station of the Pleasure Beach Express. You always hoped that the Big Dipper itself would be thundering down the dip towards you as the Monorail came out, but it seldom happened that way!

The second was when the Monorail went around the casino building at the northern end of the park. This part of the ride was later closed and a new section of rail kept the ride within boundary of the Pleasure Beach. After going round the Casino building it briefly travelled over the car park on the north side of the Pleasure Beach.

I don't have a photo of the third part but it was when the Monorail passed through the back of the Fun House. A favourite part of the ride for lots of people I imagine!

The Pleasure Beach Express passes the South Station and will now travel along the length of the Big Dipper before looping round up the side of Watson Road to enter its main station. Dating from 1933 the Express had three diesel engined locomotives, shaped to look like steam engines. The bulk of the carriages were open as seen here but the train usually pulled one enclosed pullman carriage designed (or at least sized) for younger riders.

In the days when radio controls were large and expensive and involved complicated arrangements of transistors and soldered joints, the nearest most people got to them was something like this. The boats could be made to turn left and right and go forwards or backwards. My Dad was into electronics and had made a radio controlled boat that we used to sail at a local pond before we had moved to Blackpool. The boat itself was just a little larger than these but it had an engine that was started with a length of leather chord and it went about 300 times as fast as these... The radio control quite often stopped working and it would smash itself into the stone-flagged side of the pond with a ferociousness that caused a very sore hand if you tried to catch it!

One of the kiddie rides. The southern half of the Pleasure Beach had started out as a children's version of the northern side and it was only with the bridging of Watson Road that larger rides started to appear.

One of the many sideshow attractions of the Pleasure Beach. Knocking a pyramid of cans over was easy. Knocking them off the back of the shelf wasn't... Consolation prize from the bottom shelf - tiny screwdrivers, combs, pencils...

Tuesday, 28 July 2015

Second Blackpool 1977 Photo Album 2 - Along the Seafront

The second entry from my 1977 photo album. In this we'll have a look at various bits and pieces on the piers and on the beach with a brief stop to admire a tram.

Taken from the Central Pier, this shows activity on the beach near the slade. As soon as the tide started to recede, the wet sand would be immediately claimed by someone with a deckchair, an ice cream van, a small group of donkeys or a boatman. Before the sand was uncovered the steps leading down to the beach would be so full of sitting tourists that anyone else wanting to go down had to either tread on somebody, or slither down the slope of the slade itself. It's a nice word - slither - I must use it again...

The ancient lorries used by the boatmen were a testament to their mechanical skills. Dating from somewhere around World War II, they spent all winter in the exposed weather of the Promenade, engines tightly sheeted with canvas. In the spring someone would come and lovingly whack them with a lump hammer and they would shed any new rust in a shower and obediently splutter into life... When they disappeared I felt as though part of my youth had gone with them, I had known them for so long.

Just swinging the camera round to the right a touch gives us this view of the Golden Mile Centre. If you follow the line of steps from the beach then just to the left of the top step is the green canvas that covers rows and rows of folded deckchairs available to hire for the half day or full day for the beach. For a bit extra you could take a canvas windbreak down and erect a little wall behind you, but with the prevailing winds coming off the sea all they usually achieved was a drift of sand after a few minutes that on really gusty days could build up to halfway up the canvas, until the wind died and it collapsed, sliding down like an avalanche to bury your feet, sandwiches and children. Dogs invariably went behind you to wee on them too which all added to the aroma of fried onions from the burger stalls on the Golden Mile...

Taken from the North Pier, this shows the Tower, with its top painted silver for the Queen's Silver Jubilee. The much-loved honeycombed front of Lewis's store is on the left and the beauty of the old sea wall with the symmetrical double staircases leading down from the Promenade to the beach is something now gone apart from a tiny portion next to the North Pier itself.

Another once common sight along the Promenade was the Twin-Car combination of a tram and trailer set. This was taken just south of the Central Pier. The street leading off the Prom behind the tram is Princess Street - the first street in the world to have an electric tram travel along it under its own power.

I think this is the Central Pier, but am not 100% sure. It could be South Pier but I think it is the Central Pier. In 1977 there was still a 5 pence admission charge to the pier itself once you got behind the amusement arcade. This required the employment of pier attendants, two of whom are saying "That chap's taking our picture...!"

We were walking along minding our own business when we spotted my Grandad and Doris, his second wife, on the beach. We waved and shouted but... nothing...

Absolutely fast asleep... But they weren't the only ones. There's a young chap behind them, legs outstretched past my Grandad's chair also with a long line of Zzzzzzz coming from him. Behind him someone is wagging a disapproving finger at the little lad with the spade - a tin spade on a wooden stick, none of today's plastic rubbish. She's probably saying to him "If you chop your toes off don't come running to me...!" which is the sort of thing Mums and Nans do all the time. Naventi's Ice Cream van waits for customers. Tubs of well frozen ice cream, filled from deep containers packed round with ice make up for the lack of any refrigeration. Early morning ice creams had chunks of solid ice throughout. Later ones had to be eaten quickly before they just ran away down the cone and your fingers.

Those were the days... Please note that suits and ties should always be worn on the beach - no riff raff please!

Monday, 27 July 2015

Second Blackpool 1977 Photo Album

Well I've still not managed to turn up the negatives of the photos from this photo album, so again I have resorted to scanning the photographs from the album.

Last November I featured the photos from its sister album, which was red. This time it's a blue bordering on cyan - I'll call it teal for lack of something more inspiring!

The photo album dates from 1977, the year after we had moved to Blackpool and I went somewhat berserk with the camera, loading film after film through it and ending up with a fair portrait of most of the bits of Blackpool I was most interested in at that time, which are the holiday bits... Because these are scans of printed snapshots, the quality is sometimes a little more rough than I'd like. Films had to be developed and printed in those days and quite often came back with horrendous colour casts that chemists were sometimes embarrassed about enough to put little stickers on to try to blame it on the photographer. "Red cast - film might be fogged. Load your camera in a dark place." Stuff like that. "Lens obstructed - keep fingers and camera straps away from in front of the lens." was another. I never remember one that said "Photo lab cock-up - very sorry" even when once an entire film came back with every print showing the right hand portion of one photo, a black line, and then the left hand portion of another photo...

So a few photos of Blackpool's intrepid workmen from the Illuminations Department, starting with this one of a string of lights going up during the early season. I remember summers like that - all sunshine and blue skies... Whatever happened to them...? At this time the Illuminations were changing from flat wooden boards with coloured lights on the outside to fibreglass 3D mouldings with lightbulbs placed inside. The one on the right comes from a set of puppies and kittens. I hope he doesn't jiggle that string of lights too much - it'll be over like a flash...

1977 was the Queen's Silver Jubilee year and these oversized crowns made an appearance for their second year. The Promenade has two lanes in either direction and an elderly chap with a walking stick feels quite safe walking along the narrow dividing pavement in the middle until he can cross. The car is a 1968/69 Hillman Hunter, my Grandad had one and passed it onto my Dad when he had finished with it. A nice car, I got to drive it about a bit too. The Devil's Den behind the lorry was a short-lived feature of the Golden Mile and the building with the corrugated cladding is Ripley's Believe It Or Not housed in the old Victoria Hotel, the first Ripley's "Odditorium" to be built outside the USA.

A little further up the Promenade more crowns are being lifted into place. In the background the Golden Mile Centre was the first of the large modern purpose-built amusement arcades. On two levels, it housed fairground rides on the upper floor. There was a dodgem car rink amongst them I remember.

The crown display hanging along the Golden Mile. The sun has disappeared - so much for me enthusing about those 1970s summers... The photograph was taken from the pedestrian footbridge over the Promenade. Still relatively new, it was supposed to be one of eight originally but no others were built and it was demolished finally in 2009.

But hey, whilst we're up here, let's have a look around! We caught a glimpse of the train illuminations last November in the first series from the red album. This shows one in much better detail. It shows The Rocket, George Stephenson's famous locomotive. Appropriately coloured bulbs illuminate the painted flat during the Illuminations and those on the billowing smoke trail from the funnel are controlled by relays to flash, giving the appearance of movement. Similarly there are two rows of smaller bulbs set along the two lines of railway track which do the same.

On the real tracks below, Balloon car 720 has just set off from the tram stop and the conductor is in the act of closing the doors. The family walking alongside it remind us just how popular blue denim was during the 1970s!

Looking north down from the bridge on the land side there's a glimpse of an ultra-modern high-speed Intercity train on the illuminations display and down on the Promenade, the open doors of the Purple Penny arcade.

And I'll finish with this one, taken way down South Shore, looking north towards the Pleasure Beach. The illuminations here are animated robots. Their heads turn and they have animated arms or legs but not - if memory serves me right - both. Some walked and others waved their arms up and down. This photo also shows (look hard) some illuminations tableaux which at this time were not entirely confined to the north shore cliffs.

This photo had a sticker from the chemists that said "Warning! Photo light at one side and dark on the other - reason unknown!" The actual reason was that I'd borrowed my Dad's camera and the shutter was a bit sticky so it speeded up after it had got going... After this I took the plunge and bought myself a Canon AE1 SLR. The bee's knees!

Grateful acknowledgement to Nick Moore whose epic and awesomely excellent Blackpool Chronology website easily reminded me of the name of the Victoria Hotel (Ripley's Believe It Or Not) which I couldn't remember even after force feeding my brain with tuna sandwiches... Also thanks to Andrew Hazelhurst who helped clear up my mistake on the year the crowns first made an appearance!

Saturday, 25 July 2015

Edgar Pedley in Germany at The End of World War One

I made a bit of a boo boo yesterday with my entry in the Edgar Pedley series. These two postcards featured here should have come first. So apologies to those of you following Edgar's time in the Signals Corps during World War One. This marks the last of my entries about Edgar unless Hayley Easthope, whose collection the postcards come from, can find any more.

I said in yesterday's entry that Edgar had had some leave at the end of the war, but it was obviously not for a while as these postcards prove that he was first sent into Germany as part of the occupying force. They were posted on the 19th January 1919 and postmarked by an anonymous Field Post Office, but both the postcards depict the German city of Köln or, as we would call it in English, Cologne. French actually - Cologne was what the French called it when it became part of the French Empire under Napolean Bonaparte.

Britain kept an occupying force in the city from the end of the war until 1926 and Edgar seems to have been a part of the British Army of the Rhine. I don't have his full message this time. He is once again writing home to his friends Arthur and Fanny Storr in Shropshire with whom he lodged. He sent the message in three parts, each on a separate postcard, numbering the parts in the corner. I have only parts two and three.

Edgar congratulates Arthur on his own homecoming. We know that Arthur had been wounded and he must have been demobilised from the army at the end of 1918. Edgar's own circumstances are telling on him a little as can be gleaned from the tone of his message.

2/ ...you've no idea what a treat it is to get such nice things to eat. Well Arthur I'm very pleased to hear that you are safely back at home, whatever does it feel like to be a free man again? I wonder how much...

3/ ...longer I have to do. I'm afraid now that I am in this quarter I shall be some time eh, what do you think? I'm more fed up now than ever I've been. Do you think troops in Germany will be released with the others(?) Well I suppose I must grin and bear it, but it's hard lines, one leave in 2 years isn't it? Well Cheerio Arthur, must close now, will let you have a letter soon. Hope you are all keeping quite well. Kindest Regards to all at 22 (the house number) Yours etc. Ped

Post Script

Alfred Edgar Pedley was born in 1892. As we have already seen due to my mistake with the order of these entries, he must have been sent home on leave temporarily sometime between January and April 1919 as the last postcard in my possession has him about to board ship in Folkestone on May 19, 1919 heading back to Germany.

The postcards have come from the collection of Hayley Easthope, a friend I met through a common interest in the singer Billy Fury. Fanny Storr was her great aunt, being the sister of Hayley's grandmother. Arthur Storr died in the early 1950s and at some point afterwards Edgar and Fanny were married together. Without any more information I'm not making any assumptions about this fact other than to point out the following:

In the 1950s a single man lodging with a single woman would be bound to cause gossip and a little scandal. The likelihood is that their marriage was one primarily of convenience to avoid scandal and to allow Edgar to carry on living at what he would obviously regard as home, but it was also a marriage between two people who had been long-standing friends. Yet in Edgar's postcards he addresses them to Arthur and Mrs Storr and never takes the liberty of using Fanny's given name.

Edgar would by then have been in his sixties. Being sixty in 1950 was not quite like being sixty in 2015. Life expectancy was not as long as it is now and in photographs of the time, people of middle age in the 1950s can look a lot older to our modern eyes. Edgar died in 1962 aged 70. He was one of those brave men who risked everything to keep their country safe and as such I salute him.

Rest In Peace, Edgar Pedley.

Friday, 24 July 2015

Fleetwood Tram Sunday 1989 Retrospective

Yesterday I was showing some of the vehicles that had congregated for this year's transport event at Fleetwood and it struck me that some of the cars on display these days were everyday runabouts when the event first started. The first event coincided with the centenary of the Blackpool tramway system in 1985 and it was so successful that they decided to make it an annual event.

Today's photos are from a few years later when the event had become hugely popular and attracted a brilliant number of cars and other vehicles.

In 1989 the roadway was still wide enough to allow cars to pass trams on their inside. Passengers had to cross the road to the tram door which, with the number of vehicles on the road these days, became too risky. The final decider was the change to Blackpool's new Flexity trams which require raised platforms for people to get on and off at. This facilitates wheelchair use on the trams but means that the roadway was narrowed considerably at these points. In common with many other towns, Fleetwood also chose to narrow the road by building pavements out for reasons known to local councils as "traffic calming measures" and to everyone else as "Stop cars parking for free so they have to go in council car parks".

This vastly reduced the number of vehicles that could be displayed along the road during Tram Sundays and consequently, I've had to whittle down the number of photographs here - though I don't think I can be accused of short-changing my readers!

The first photo is the Webster's Brewery dray pulled by a pair of fine shire horses. All the photos in this entry will be black and white. Digital photography has been around long enough now for many people to think of photographs as "free" once you have bought the camera, mobile, or even tablet (though why people want to hold up miniature televisions to take photos of other people's miniature televisions held aloft confuses the heck out of me...). In 1989 you not only had to buy a film but then you had to pay to have it developed and printed. Taking a 36 exposure film would set you back a healthy chunk of your disposable income for a week.

I bought chemicals and equipment and could process my own photos. Black and white, although rapidly dying out in favour of colour, was far cheaper and easier to process and was still the preferred medium for magazines and newspapers of the day.

I don't have a great deal to say about many of these cars so some of the descriptions may be short! However, to start us off, this is an Austin Seven. Built from 1922 to 1937 they were the UK's equivalent of America's Ford Model T. They sold in great numbers and the name became so popular that it was brought back by Austin in 1959 for their first version of the Mini.

Rolls Royce in their early days didn't have a standard model. They produced a rolling chassis, that is the underneath foundation on which to build a body and the engine, gearbox, controls and braking systems. You bought this then took it to a coachbuilder who would make a body to fit the chassis and radiator grill and then you took it to an upholsterer who would make and fit the seats. In this case if you couldn't afford a roof you then took it to a pram manufacturer who would fashion a fabric roof with plastic windows. As plastic didn't exist yet, there was sometimes a long waiting list for the foldable windows...

What was this doing there in 1989? It was probably only 15 years old by then? Anyway, Chevrolet Corvette Stingrays were somewhat rare on the roads of the UK even so.

The Wolseley 1500 was produced from 1957 to 1965 with Series II coming out in May 1960 and Series III in October 1961. The first series had external bonnet and boot hinges that were visible under the windscreen close to the sides of the bonnet, so this example is a 1960s car. My Grandad had a couple of these, one after the other. If that sounds extravagant, it was because he leased them rather than bought them. It was the first car I remember that had the indicator switch on a stalk that came out of the steering column. In most cars of the time the steering column was a pole with the wheel on the end, but this had a little housing behind the steering wheel and the little stalk came out on the right hand side with a green warning light on the end of it that flashed with the indicators.

Another version of the Austin Seven. This was known as the Chummy. The children's TV show Brum about the little car that lived in a museum had the lead ...er... caracter based on the Austin Chummy. And kids, if you want to see the original model than get your parents to take you to that very museum which is in Bourton-on-the-Water in the Cotswolds.

A whole row of Austin A35s. Made from 1956 to 1968 they are one of the cars that stimulate the most emails or messages to be fired off to me whenever I do a car-related blog entry. No one in the family had one but a couple of my mates drove them as their first car. Eight years was reckoned to be the average age of a car in those days and they must have all been at least getting on for that during those early 70s. By the time of this event in 1989 they were at least 21 years old and there's at least three of them lined up here.

Armstrong Siddeley 17hp circa 1935. That's the full total of my knowledge about it!

Ford Cortina MkII in Lotus colours. Seen here in Lotus black and white...

Ford Model Y, also popularly known as the Ford Eight (the engine was rated at 8hp). The car was produced between 1932 and 1937. Another one is seen below.

Ford Anglia E494A. Made from 1949 to 1953 I always used to wonder what the difference was to the sit-up-and-beg Ford Popular or "Pop" which was my Dad's first car. The answer, so I found out recently was no difference at all. When the new shaped Anglia came out in 1953 the old one stayed in production and changed its name to Popular, in which guise it continued until 1959.

In 1953 the Ford Prefect and Ford Anglia had very few external differences other than the grill, the number of doors (big giveaway!) and the rear lights cluster. Compare this Prefect to the Anglia above in the previous photo though and there is more of a body shape difference between the two older models.

A 1930s Austin Light Twelve-Six. Again: sum total of knowledge and sheesh - how long did it take me to identify this???

1933 Singer 9 Sports Car. Quite a branch from their sewing machine business but if you worked the treadle fast enough with your feet, this could really move...

Flatbed lorry in the livery of wood and coal merchants and haulage contractors, H&A Burgess of Southampton.

One of the last of the Humber Imperial model from 1967. One by one the old names of marques from the UK's past were merging and disappearing. The Rootes Group had Hillman, Standard, Triumph, Sunbeam, Humber, Commer, and Karrier all under their wing. It ended with the takeover by Chrysler in 1967 and the Rootes name disappeared altogether twelve years later when Peugot bought out Chrysler Europe.

1937 Jowett Eight. Jowett went by the wayside in 1954 following the abolishment of purchase tax and a huge increase in the demand for cars. Why should that make a car firm go bust? Because the large firms like Ford and the newly formed British Motor Corporation (BMC) were quick to grab up the available body building firms, leading to supply difficulties for Jowett.

1937 Wolseley 14/56. Many of what used to be the famous names in British cars were paired with another. Austin and Morris were one example - the Cambridge and Oxford models were look-alikes. Wolseley and Riley were another pair. Whilst I always thought of Wolseleys as posh anyway - they kept the illuminated badge on the front of their cars long after other brands had ditched them - it was Riley that generally had the higher specification of model. Both Wolseley and Riley produced a "posh" version of the Mini - the Wolseley Hornet and Riley Elf, which had an elongated boot instead of the stagecoach boot of normal minis and also had a raised central band along the bonnet leading to a narrower more traditional grill.

1948 Bentley Mk VI. It was very expensive and undoubtedly beautiful. I was privileged to drive one of these a couple of times in the 1970s when the photographic studio I worked for had one available for weddings. The gear lever was to the right of the driver which took a bit of getting used to. Despite the weight and stately appearance, its 4.5 litre engine made it quick off the mark if you could cope with the sucking noise as the petrol tank emptied...

1963 Zephyr 4 Mk III. Another beautiful car. I had one myself at the age of 17. Bench seat, column mounted gear stick. Ahhh... bliss... You did need to be strong to steer it though...

1949 MG YT 4-seater 1¼ litre tourer, made for export (to Ceylon) and returned to the UK in the 1980s. Also seen below.

AC 2-Litre, produced from 1947-56. The flashing indicators will have been retro-fitted.

This is confusing. The mascot on the bonnet is I think a later addition and probably nothing to do with the make of car. It's a Riley and I think one of the RM series. Riley made RMA through to RMF from 1945 to 1955 and the RMB and RMF were large limousine types produced at the same time as the smaller RMA and RME respectively. I think this belongs to the larger class. The RMC and RMD were both convertibles. So I think it is either a Riley RMB or RMF but I wait apprehensively for someone with greater knowledge to say, "You fool...".

Oh... and here's another. I'm going to stick my neck out here and say it's a Riley 12/6 which was not the purchase price but the size and number of cylinders in the 1500cc engine. But now indecision strikes and is it a 12/6 Falcon, Kestrel or Mentone? I have no idea...

The Yanks are coming! Line-up of American military vehicles.

A Morgan sports car - Morgan Plus 8? I'm presuming it was built in 1986 from the number plate but it could be a big ask.

Yay! One I know! A 1966 Ford Corsair. Dad took one out for a test drive in 1966 and didn't like it. We ended up with a brand new Ford Zephyr 6 Mk IV instead...

Basically a longer Cortina, the Corsair replaced the lovely Consul Classic in 1964 and continued to 1970 when - and here's a twist - Cortinas got bigger. So the Corsair was replaced by the Cortina Mk III and the gap in Ford's mid-sized car range was plugged by the brand new Ford Escort.

I am writing some 26 years after this event took place. As I said at the beginning, some of the cars being used as everyday (and brand new!) transport then now appear at current events. The number of veteran and vintage cars, those cars from the very early days of motoring have inevitably shrunk during the intervening years.

The other difference between 1989 and the present day is the existence of the Internet. In the 1980s I used to write occasional illustrated articles for magazines - another reason for taking photos in black and white. Now I can spread my ignorance far wider on this blog... To identify cars after the event in 1989 meant spending hours in libraries. Now, with only a few exceptions, it is easily accomplished in a few seconds online. I hope you have enjoyed sharing these memories.

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