Editorial March 22

Then and Now

Apart from the obvious, two other news items caught my attention recently; the Queen’s Accession, and the easing of Covid restrictions, particularly in relation to travel. This set me thinking about how life was for me in 1952.

At that time I was living with my family in the village of Tring in Hertfordshire. It was a village much like Kibworth with a similar size population, on a main road that went straight through the middle of the village, parish church, primary school, a Rose and Crown pub, on a main railway line but with the station a few miles outside the village.

When trainspotting we sat on a wall watching the steam trains, kicking our heels on metal advertising signs which now sell in antique shops for sizeable sums of money. Unlike Kibworth there was no secondary school in the village and my older brother had to travel by bus to go to his school.

What I remember, is not the Queen’s Accession but the death of King George VI, as walking home from school I noticed that flags were flying at half mast and was told what that meant.

What of holidays? Air travel was in its infancy, and except for the very wealthy, travel was by bus, train and car. Like a lot of other people our holidays were spent staying with relations. My parents had moved from Yorkshire in 1938 and we were fortunate in having relatives living in Scarborough and Harrogate, and in having a car to get us there.

Five of us travelled in an Austin 10 (hp). All of our luggage was in a trunk strapped onto the fold down boot lid. There were no motorways. ‘A’ roads went through the centre of all towns and villages on the way, so journeys were lengthy. With young children there were plenty of stops to hop into fields for some relief!

Such was progress that about 10 years later I was camping on a beach in Spain having driven there with three friends. We had crossed the Channel by air, with the car in the front of the aircraft and the passengers in the back. A couple of years later we flew all the way in comfort. This was only about 60 years since the first powered flight by the Wright brothers. There was no thought of global warming.

There has just been the first flight by a single seat battery powered aircraft. In another 70 years will it be battery, hydrogen or some other power source? Will there still be a constitutional monarchy in England?

It’s going to be an interesting ride!

Frank Wilcock (Editorial Team)