The Way We Were

Six-page sum­mer spe­cial

Classic Car Weekly (UK) - - This Week - An­drew Roberts

Sunny Wor­thing, the ‘all year round sea­side re­sort’ claimed the Bri­tish Rail­ways posters, and a day out on Ma­rine Pa­rade in 1954 seems a very be­guil­ing propo­si­tion. Who could pos­si­bly ask for more than a walk along the pier fol­lowed by Doc­tor in the House at The Rivoli cin­ema or maybe the Punch & Judy Show just east of the Pavil­ion? To make sum­mer in West Sus­sex even more at­trac­tive, food ra­tioning ended on 4 July with coupons no longer re­quired for meat or ba­con – much to the hap­pi­ness of rosy­cheeked sea­side land­ladies.

Some of the hol­i­day­mak­ers in this shot would have taken the elec­tric train from Vic­to­ria, oth­ers ar­rived in a South­down Ley­land Tiger Cub, but many would have driven to West Sus­sex. The vol­ume of pri­vate mo­tor traf­fic was very much on the rise, even if petrol cost as much as 4/6d per gal­lon. The size­able num­ber of pre-war cars on Ma­rine Pa­rade is a re­minder that the MoT test lay six years in the fu­ture. Near­est to the cam­era in the traf­fic queue ap­proach­ing the ze­bra cross­ing is a Ford Model Y and its sub-60mph top speed would still have been more than enough to cope with A27 traf­fic.

The Sun­beam-Tal­bot 2-Litre is of a slightly more re­cent vin­tage and its el­e­gant coach­work seems highly ap­pro­pri­ate for Wor­thing’s slightly raff­ish air. By con­trast, the Mor­ris Ox­ford MO looked as solid and re­spectable as Jack Hawkins while such cars as the L-Type Vaux­hall Velox with the sil­ver bon­net flutes and the post-1949 sep­a­rate side­lights, the up­right Ford E494A Anglia and the util­i­tar­ian but stylish Hill­man Es­tate Car add to the im­pres­sion of bustling af­flu­ence. And for me, the one de­tail that truly dates this pho­to­graph is a seem­ingly mi­nor one – the ab­sence of dou­ble yel­low lines.

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