The Roadshow paid a midday visit to the Age UK Luncheon club at Winnall Community Centre. All the group were looking forward to sharing their weekly lunch together, but we just had time to look at some of the items on the Heritage100 website together and share stories about old times before a lovely fresh cooked meal was served up.
We started by exploring the vintage cars on the website, all of them chosen by staff from the National Motor Museum at Beaulieu. The 1959 Austin Mini 7 prompted one man to say his father had a car exactly like it: an old Austin with ‘JO55’ as the number plate. He told us there was a luggage rack on the back which he and his brother would sit on for fun. His father would travel about 20 miles for work and regularly used to run out of petrol going to Portsmouth. When this happened, he and his brother would sit on the back and bounce it until they got it up to the top of the hill. On another trip to Portsmouth BOTH indicators came on. These stories caused much hilarity amongst the group.
The 1920s Shell Poster inspired the conversation to move on to days out enjoyed in the past. “We would go picnicking at Stonehenge,” said David, “It wasn’t thought to be anything special then. You could eat your sandwiches with your back against the stones.”
Someone else complained that the tin flasks have cork tops which broke very easily and were not very practical. “It always tasted horrible if you put your tea in it – like poison,” they said. “If you dropped it, it would smash.”
“We used to go up St Catherine’s Hill or St Giles’ hill or swimming at Bulls Grove,” (Garner Road) said one person. “We used to take the children down there in the summer.”
Someone else mentioned swimming in the river down Water Lane. There was no River Park Leisure Centre then.
Our 1950s swim suit which has toured the Roadshows with us prompted memories of knitted swimming suits. “They weren’t very comfortable,” said one lady. “They shrunk as soon as you went in the water. They were always red so your mum couldn’t lose you. They were itchy, and if you went in the sea the salt water would rot the wool.”
Holidays were taken locally, Hayling Island being a popular destination. One woman remembered going on the train called the ‘Puffing Billy’ and going across the railway bridge, and if there were too many people on the train you would have to get off and walk. Another person reflected that the train journey was awful; the seats were wooden and you had to take a cushion for comfort. “Sometimes you’d have black all over your face from the boiler; you’d be filthy,” she said. “We didn’t worry about the smoke though. It was all part of the fun.”
Another woman recalled the Monkey Island and the funfair by the side. “You could throw pennies in the moat,” she said “And the monkeys would try and get them out.” No-one remembered when the Monkey Island was closed but there is no trace that it ever existed on Hayling Island these days.
Everyone enjoyed the reminiscing session and there was just time for people to look at the website for themselves using the iPads before lunch was served and we said our goodbyes.
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