Blakeney, Norfolk, 1959
This charming picture could be replicated today as the north Norfolk village of Blakeney, some 11 miles west of Cromer, hasn’t altered all that much. It was once an active port but since the River Glaven slowly silted up more than a century ago, only small craft have made it in to the quay. We’re just downstream from there, looking over the large car park by the riverside.
At the front is a mossy green Bedford CA, most likely a Martin-walter Utilibrake. This versatile vehicle could act as people carrier, estate car, works van and even camper, though to enjoy all the mod cons you needed the fully-kitted Dormobile. Behind it is a GP 14 sailing dinghy, a classic 1949 John Holt design, and then comes probably the newest car here, a Hillman Minx of Series I or II ‘Audax’ variety, and a De Luxe. Behind that is an Armstrong-siddeley Lancaster with sunroof and windows down. Closer to the river and just beyond the little clinker-built rowing boat is a Ford E493A Prefect, then the first of two E-series Vauxhalls, this one probably a Wyvern (missing a rear spat) and a much jazzier two-tone Velox or Cresta beyond the Morris Minor, wearing white-wall tyres. Beyond that is a really interesting Woodie we can’t pin down – an Austin 16, but not the usual Papworth body? Or a big Ford? Please put us right, if you know. Further beyond is another Minor, perhaps an Austin 10, a baby-blue Jaguar MKVII and a little old drophead-coupé with pram irons. Facing us, with one door open, is a black Austin A70 Hereford.
Perfect Prefect 1
It’s hard to imagine that any car park in Fifties Britain didn’t feature a descendent of the pre-war Ford Ten. These sidevalve chuggers may have been basic, but they were at least available and affordable.
It’s a bomber! 2
The Lancaster was the first post-war car from A-S and one of the only new models in Britain in 1945. Independent front suspension by torsion bars was advanced, but just 70-75bhp meant this Lanc was never a flier.
Shoot to thrill 3
The shooting brake started life as a means to give toffs a lift to the grouse moor, but post-war steel rationing and purchase tax rules (commercial vehicles were exempt) made them suddenly popular.
‘The north Norfolk village of Blakeney hasn’t change much in 59 years’