Web Page No 2250
1st April 2016
Hope to see a lot of you on Thursday at noon in The George
Hope to see a lot of you on Thursday at noon in The George
Top and Second Picture: Hilsea Miniature Railway
Pictures three, four and five all show the Southsea system
Bottom Picture: Diesel haulage at Southsea.
Miniature Railways in Portsmouth/
There were two on Portsea Island and here is a bit about both of them.
The Hilsea Miniature Railway
The Hilsea Miniature Railway was a 101/4" gauge system built by Louis Hathaway of Reading in 1945 but within a very short space of time of opening the track was lifted for use at the already established Southsea system and new track laid by Leonard Baker & Robert Bryden. In 1947 the track extended so that it ran from beside Hilsea Lido along seaward promenade towards a terminus just short of Alexandra Park. Their one locomotive was built by David Curwen Ltd number 1547 and weighed 2 1/2 tons and was painted Apple green based on the LNER Pacific express locomotive Robin Hood. In 1950 new track was laid by W Botterill of Nassington but the recepts were low and the line did not reopen for the 1951 season and W Botterill asked to remove the track and locomotive to Drayton Manor Railway near Tamworth.
I never remember riding on this little line but I do remember seeing the track bed and platform edges along with three bridges over the line that were still in situ in the late 1950s and early 1960s.
Southsea Miniature Railway
This line was much earlier and opened 1932 at Children's Corner on the Esplanade at Southsea For most of its history the line was run by Mr George Vimpany of Bognor who owned the Southern Miniature Railway Company. He who also ran three other lines on the South Coast including the one at Stokes Bay, one at Bognor and one in Poole. The final passenger train ran in October 1989, and now all traces of the line have totally disappeared. The first diesel train ran on the line in 1960 but I have been unable to find out any information regarding it. But I am glad to tell you that the steam locomotives which hauled the trains for over thirty years are still running. After the Southsea Railway and the Bognor Regis circuits were dismantled (the Stokes Bay line only lasted for 1 complete season and everything was moved down to Poole) the locomotives – Victory, Vanguard and Valiant – were bought with the intention of rebuilding and using them elsewhere. This did not happen and the locomotives were carefully dismantled, packed and stored in wooden boxes. Then several years later along came Stuart Ravell, who owns the Kirby Green Light Railway in Lincolnshire and he purchased the locomotives in 1990 and rebuilt them. He has a 1 ½ mile track running around his land which he opens to the public about five times a year for charity. Mr Ravell does not charge for the rides but encourages people to make a donation to charity and in so doing the railway has raised thousands of pounds for deserving causes. So I am informed that the former Southsea locomotives are all still in fine fettle and working.
I have many happy memories of riding on this railway especially when my family went for a Sunday walk along Southsea Seafront, I even have photographs of it! I also remember spending many happy hours floating about in the motorboats which chugged their way round a specially constructed lagoon right next door to the line. I must have cost my parents a fortune in fares!
Keep in touch
In 1946 a survey of all the mothers who gave birth in the first week in March in England, Wales and Scotland was undertaken to learn about the social and economic costs of childbearing. Health visitors visited the mother at home to ask about her ante-natal and post-natal care and about the family's social and economic circumstances, the baby's weight and their survival during infancy was followed up.
Concern over the falling birth rate and the health of the population were reasons why the survey was undertaken. As it turned out that this was the beginning of the post war baby boom. Information was also needed to help assess how efficiency of midwives and obstetric services, both in preventing infant deaths and in promoting the health of mothers and infants. The survey found that not all mothers had access to pain relief in labour and this led to changes to allow midwives to administer gas and air. The survey also found that 26 in every 1000 babies died within the first month after birth. In 1946 babies born to mothers in the poorest economic circumstances weighed less at birth and were almost 4 times more likely to die in infancy than babies born to the most economically advantaged mothers.
This was the first group of people in the UK to live most of their lives with access to a National Health Service (NHS), which was created in 1948.
Dr James Douglas who was responsible for the survey was able to obtain funding to follow up 5362 of the babies. The first follow-ups, at 2 and 4 years, were designed to study growth and health in relation to social and economic circumstances and care. Between 6 and 31 years there were 15 follow-ups. The study found, for example, that for children with similar test scores, the children from more advantaged homes were more likely to pass the 11+ and be offered a grammar school place than the children from less advantaged homes.
In adolescence and young adulthood the study was particularly concerned with how education, childhood health and the home environment shaped future choices in occupation and respiratory disease. The study found that members who, as infants, had experienced chest illness or had lived in crowded homes were more likely to suffer from respiratory symptoms and chest illness in their twenties.
Now all the survivors are 70 and have received a special birthday card from the Foundation.
Were you a Douglas Child? I missed becoming one by one day as I was born on 28th February 1946
On this day 1st April 1960-1965
On 01/04/1960 the number one single was My Old Man's a Dustman - Lonnie Donegan and the number one album was South Pacific Soundtrack. The top rated TV show was Wagon Train (ITV) and the box office smash was Psycho. 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 01/04/1961 the number one single was Wooden Heart - Elvis Presley and the number one album was South Pacific Soundtrack. 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.
On 01/04/1962 the number one single was Wonderful Land - 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. The big news story of the day was First military satellite TV broadcast.
On 01/04/1963 the number one single was Foot Tapper - The Shadows and the number one album was Summer Holiday - Cliff Richard & the Shadows. The top rated TV show was The Budget (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 01/04/1964 the number one single was Can't Buy Me Love - The Beatles and the number one album was With the Beatles - The Beatles. The top rated TV show was Coronation Street (Granada) 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. The big news story of the day was British troops in Cyprus fist fights.
On 01/04/1965 the number one single was The Last Time - Rolling Stones and the number one album was Rolling Stones Number 2 - The Rolling Stones. 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.