Web Page No 2128
1st February 2015
Top Picture: Morris Bristow’s AA bike
Middle Picture: Another sign of summer, the open top bus service.
Lower Picture: Coaches waiting for tour customers 1950
Bottom Picture: Jerry ‘Here comes summer’ Keller
Here Comes Summer!
I know that it is only February but hopefully Spring is only just round the corner, but do you remember this time of year when we were kids? The weather was either wet or cold or both, the evenings were long and dark and going out meant wearing coats, scarves, gloves and even sometimes hats.
We could not wait for those long cold, dark evenings to disappear and we looked for the first sign of spring and the official start of Summer Time. But what actually marked the coming of summer? We all know daffodil’s and crocus’ but there were other more subtle changes in daily life that may have been forgotten, so let me try to remind you of some.
To start with the Ice Cream man would resume his interrupted round much to the delight of the local kids and the Corona man also would start to appear again selling his bubbly drinks, but other deliveries like the coalman and the paraffin delivery man in his pink van were no longer being required and so would go off into hibernation.
One of the sure signs that summer was on the way would be change of uniforms. I do not know the official change over date (doubtless someone will tell me) but the crews on both the Southdown and Corporation buses would suddenly appear in stone coloured linen jackets and with white covers over the top of their uniform caps. When you saw this you knew that Summer was coming.
Other uniforms were also affected. My father had a friend, Morris Bristow, who was an AA patrolman and he dreaded the summer coming because he could never remember where he had put his white hat cover when he put it away the previous year. For many years he was a motorcycle patrolman out on the motorcycle and side car so a white top did not apply but it did when he moved into the luxury of an AA van. Back to the motorbike and sidecar; when I was a young lad he would call in if he had a quiet patrol and would sit me on top of the side car tool box and take me for a spin around our back garden. Imagine my surprise when many years later I visited the National Motor Museum at Beaulieu and there on display was his bike a BSA M21 registration number YUC 593 and as of last June it was still there. Take a look at the photograph and see but unfortunately the sign on the sidecar in the picture does not mention the highly irregular garden trips that this particular bike made. Whilst talking about road patrols I believe that the RAC also used white hat toppers on their uniform caps in the summer.
Another sign of summer was the appearance of the deck chair attendant along Southsea front (where did they all go in the winter?). The attendant was always male, I never remember a female attendant, complete with his long buff coloured storekeepers coat with the Portsmouth coat of arms on the lapels, a Corporation employees cap with white top, ticket machine and money pouch.
At this time all the seaside kiosks would be open as was the pier. Another seaside sales person was the photographer. I only got caught once when I was walking along the front with Jenny and we were caught by a ken photographer and were persuaded to buy the photograph he said he had taken. However we did have to pose for another one which actually turned out very well when it arrived. I still have my copy and I know that Jenny still has hers!
The other thing on the seafront that heralded summer was the opening of the Coach Tour ticket kiosks. I expect we can all remember the rows of coaches lined up along the prom ready to take the visitors on a day trip. Coach company’s such as White Heather, Byngs and Meatyards all offered a jolly day out on four wheels.
Just about Easter time the Hilsea Lido swimming pool would open providing salt water bathing in a sheltered position. Isn’t it a shame that when the built the M275 the contractors managed to bury the sea water intake pipe and so it was decided to fill it with fresh water instead and so Portsmouth lost the only salt water swimming pool that it had.
As I have said before, it all happened a long time ago. But finally do you remember the song ‘Here comes summer’ by Jerry Keller?
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News and Views:
On this day 1st February 1960-1965
On 01/02/1960 the number one single was Why - Anthony Newley and the number one album was South Pacific Soundtrack. The top rated TV show was not listed and the box office smash was North by Northwest. A pound of today's money was worth £13.68 and Burnley were on the way to becoming the Season's Division 1 champions.
On 01/02/1961 the number one single was Are you Lonesome Tonight? - Elvis Presley and the number one album was GI Blues - Elvis Presley. The top rated TV show was No Hiding Place (AR) and the box office smash was One Hundred and One Dalmations. A pound of today's money was worth £13.25 and Tottenham Hotspur were on the way to becoming the Season's Division 1 champions. The big news story of the week was Oral contraceptive made available in UK.
On 01/02/1962 the number one single was The Young Ones - Cliff Richard & the Shadows and the number one album was Blue Hawaii - Elvis Presley. The top rated TV show was Coronation Street (Granada) and the box office smash was Lawrence of Arabia. A pound of today's money was worth £12.89 and Ipswich Town were on the way to becoming the Season's Division 1 champions
On 01/02/1963 the number one single was Dance On - The Shadows and the number one album was Out of the Shadows - Shadows. he top rated TV show was The Prime Minister (All channels) and the box office smash was The Great Escape. A pound of today's money was worth £12.64 and Everton were on the way to becoming the Season's Division 1 champions.
On 01/02/1964 the number one single was Needles & Pins - Searchers and the number one album was With the Beatles - The Beatles. The top rated TV show was Labour Party Political Broadcast (all channels) and the box office smash was Dr Strangelove. A pound of today's money was worth £12.24 and Liverpool were on the way to becoming the Season's Division 1 champions.
On 01/02/1965 the number one single was Go Now! - Moody Blues and the number one album was Beatles For Sale - The Beatles. The top rated TV show was Coronation Street (Granada) and the box office smash was The Sound of Music. A pound of today's money was worth £11.69 and Manchester United were on the way to becoming the Season's Division 1 champions. The big news story of the week was Sir Winston Churchill's funeral.