Kentish Express Ashford & District - What's On

Swinging through time


Ever wondered what it would have been like to jump on a steam train in the 1940s and travel through the Kent countrysid­e?

This weekend, a retro 1940s festival is giving visitors a taste of what life was like in wartime Britain, so throw on your tea dress and get ready to lindy hop as you take a trip down memory lane.

The annual festival starts with an identity card, which visitors can pick up for free on arrival.

These cards were introduced in 1939 as part of a piece of wartime emergency legislatio­n.

Until 1952, every person, even children, had to carry an ID card on them at all times to show who they were and where they lived to help keep track of evacuees, monitor rationing and record population statistics.

Once you have collected your card, you can get stuck into a host of nostalgic activities, including living history displays, swing music and vintage stalls.

While most of the festival activities will take place at the stations on the Kent and East Sussex Railway, the trains will also be up and running throughout the weekend. Visitors can hop aboard an authentic steam locomotive and travel back in time as they journey to and from Tenterden and Bodiam stations.

The railway will be turning back the clock with retro fashion stalls, secondhand clothes and accessorie­s and a 1940s hair salon so you can really look the part.

There will also be vintage police cars and military vehicles, a living history display and live re-enactments.

Visitors can also enjoy a packed programme of live entertainm­ent. There will be lindy hoppers and a hangar dance at the Old Dairy Tap Room, with tunes from DJS Rocket Rod and Lookout Lance.

There will also be live music from swing quintet the Ruby Sisterz, jazz singer Ross Hardman, vintage trio My Favourite Things and wartime duo Swingtime Sweetheart­s.

The 1940s Weekend is on Saturday, May 18 and Sunday, May 19 at the Kent and East Sussex Railway’s Tenterden and Bodiam stations. Tickets for train travel can be booked online or on the day.

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