Holidays and Travel Part 1

Reading some travel blogs recently, I thought I would look back at childhood holidays and day trips. I have mentioned travel in passing in my earlier blog Transport but this time I will be digging a bit deeper – with my bucket and spade!

Image result for kids beach wear 1950s

I flew back from Ireland last night after spending a few days with my daughter and the grandchildren. How easy, quick and affordable travel has become in the last few decades! In my childhood, family holidays were taken by road, coach or train – if you were lucky enough to have one at all. Now that I sort all my trips out on a computer, it’s hard to imagine my mum and dad planning holidays to a different part of Britain for all five of us. We didn’t return to the same place each year so new accommodation had to be found each time. Before our first telephone, this would have all been done by letter!

Image result for picnic food 1950s  Image result for 1950s uk scotch egg 

Picnics were a big part of family outings. There were no fast food outlets and most post-war families couldn’t afford to eat in cafes too often so food was taken with you.

I remember – mainly sandwiches (egg and cress, Spam or tinned ham, Shipham’s paste), peeled hard-boiled eggs, tomatoes, scotch eggs. Drinks were tea in a Thermos flask and made up orange squash (I remember a brand called Quosh). There would be some pieces of home made cake after the sandwiches. I didn’t come across crisps until at least 1960 so they weren’t part of 1950s picnics.

Image result for 1950s uk thermos flask   

Driving to the coast for a holiday or a day trip often involved long traffic jams. Most beaches had little in the way of amenities, cafes and toilets often involved a walk back from the beach into the town.

Public Transport

First of all, I want to point out that I grew up in a remote part of Wales so my memories will not be the same as many other people’s. I hope there is still plenty for you to identify with and I welcome any contributions.  We had no service buses but the village railway station was a walk of about a mile from our house. Trips to the town (five miles away) when my dad was using the car for work, involved my mum walking up to the station with the three of us to catch the train. We hated the walk because we kids inevitably caused us all to be late leaving the house so it wouldn’t be a walk, more of a route march along the lanes to the station. We loved that station! Although a remote, rural station, it had a full-time station master who was wonderful with kids. The waiting room was always cosy and welcoming and in winter had a coal fire burning. I don’t ever remember waiting on the platform with anybody else or seeing any passengers alight at our stop. Even so,  John the station master kept that station immaculate. The trains were amazing! That smell! Each carriage had several compartments. A sliding door led from the corridor into the compartment.    The only time I went on buses or trams was when we went to stay with friends and relatives in Swansea and Cardiff. I loved the trams with the sparking poles connecting with the overhead wires – apologies for the very un-technical jargon! The buses had conductors, an entrance and exit at the rear and – joy of joys! – a stairway to an upper deck. As children, we thought this was the very best way to travel!