Dear Diary – Page 27 (Late 1950’s – Model Railway)

In the Summer of 1956, we duly moved from our caravan and into our new home. It was, as Dad described it at the time “A very simple design. It is alright as a first attempt but the next one will have a more artistic appeal.” How true that statement was!

Our new home was a basic square, brick semi-bungalow. A semi-bungalow being a design whereby all the main rooms are on the ground level, but the roof space is used for bedrooms. It therefore looks like a bungalow ……… but has made use of the roof space.

We had a quite large Kitchen / Living area with a partial separation being a walk-in pantry. The Living area had a coke burning fireplace which had a water boiler behind it. This provided heating for the water but, of course, only when the fire was on. Bath times, and any other need for hot water, had to be planned around the lighting of the fire! The Kitchen also had a sliding glass “window” through a wall into our Lounge. This was a serving hatch for food to be served for formal meals.

The Lounge was “the best room” and as such saw very little activity unless musically inclined. This was because Dad’s classical record collection and a “wind up” record player resided there. It is interesting that I have no recollection of there ever being a formal meal in the Lounge!

Downstairs were also Mum and Dad’s bedroom and a spare room which was used by Mum as a sewing room. Upstairs were two big bedrooms (around 14′ x 14′) of which Frances and Valerie shared one, and I had the other one. Mine of course overlooked the fields where I could clearly see the trains going on their way.

It was not long before Dad started building model railway shelving to go around the perimeter of my room. I can remember Mum asking him what he was planning on doing when he gets to the doorway, and Dad nonchalantly commenting that the trains have to go across the doorway. Her response was “Well if you think I am going to duck under a railway line to get into his room to make his bed and vacuum……… then you had better think again!”   Dad’s response was “Don’t worry. I am going to make a bridge so you just have to lift it up and go through. Of course you had better make sure there are no trains coming.” If I remember correctly, Mum left the room in total exasperation.

The railway ultimately consisted of three tracks going around the room however, on one side of the room there was a ‘table’ around 10′ x 4′ which allowed for a pretty big railway station, goods yards and a dock.   The dockside cranes, the “Sea Salvor” (a ship that Dad had built years earlier) and much of the rolling stock is still with me. In fact the “Sea Salvor” and a couple of the cranes saw service on a model railway here in Oakville (see photo below).

1956 Sea Salvor“Sea Salvor” in dock. Dad made the hull from a solid piece of wood. The rest was made from whatever he found laying around plus a few things that he thought Mum wouldn’t need!

My very first electric locomotive (No. 46201 Princess Elizabeth) ran many miles between 1956 and 1964 and, accidentally or otherwise, suffered a number of mishaps over that time period. She is still with me, but has lost her motor and has clearly suffered some bad falls or collisions.

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7 thoughts on “Dear Diary – Page 27 (Late 1950’s – Model Railway)

  1. Smashing ship model. I always wanted a train set, but never got one.
    Bungalows with bedrooms in the roof were often referred to as ‘dormer’ bungalows and became very popular with builders in the 60s.
    My father also built us a house, one of a pair of semis. The front door opened straight into the lounge which at 28 feet long had a dining area at the other end with french doors opening into the garden. There was a door to the kitchen (behind the integral garage though no direct access to it), and a serving hatch, again, very popular in the 60s.
    The lounge end had an open fire, behind which was a boiler for the central heating and hot water.
    The large room was ‘divided’ by the stairway which lay behind a closed door and went up to three bedrooms, a separate loo and bathroom, and a large airing cupboard. I fell down those stairs a few times but luckily the door was always open when I hit the bottom!
    I loved that house, but sadly my Mum could never settle and we moved in 1972. I often wonder if the 1965 ha’penny is still set in the concrete by the back step, or even if the concrete it was set in is still there!

    Liked by 2 people

    • I am only familiar with “dormer” in the context of “dormer windows” (being the style that projected out from a roof). As for your ’65 ha’penny? When I moved here in 1996, I had to do some concreting and impressed an old two shilling piece into the wet surface. As at today, it is still there! Did you ever use your lounge, or was it a “special” room that was rarely used? 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • We had no choice but to use the lounge all the time as it was the first room you stepped into from the drive, and wasn’t sectioned off from the dining area. It was one thing I liked about our cottage, we had a separate lounge and dining room, though we only used the dining room for meals when we had visitors! In the boat, we just have a long tube that houses everything, and the only ‘room’ with a door on it is the bathroom!
        My great grandparents had a parlour at the front of their house and sitting room at the back next to the kitchen. I used to go in and raid the sugar lumps in their sideboard, but I can’t remember them ever using the parlour at all.

        Liked by 2 people

  2. Ah yes. My dad put a 6×4 chipboard table in my bedroom for the railway. Not much room for anything else. Also had Airfix planes hanging from the ceiling. My mum dusted … the Nazis were knocked out of the sky.
    Did the same for my son. Where did it all go!

    Liked by 1 person

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