Dad’s Army

This creased photograph is from an early Andover Carnival procession – my mother is in the rear seat of the front-running Austin Seven and I guess my grandfather is driving. They have won ‘First Prize’; the car is adorned with everything including the kitchen sink. The sign attached to the radiator points to ‘Squatters Camp’ and the tin tub is inscribed with ‘Here We Come’.  The year is a mystery but I would guess the early 1940s assuming the Carnival continued during the war years – my mother married in 1943 and moved north to Manchester so it is unlikely to be later.

It is the detail that fascinates – the familiar shop names: Johnsons the dry cleaners and Freeeman Hardy Willis, the shoe shop – FHW – For Happy Walking!; the hairstyles, the dress, the shoes and the then familiar sight of a man in uniform. This could be a set from Dad’s Army.

Andover Carnival ...

Oddly, on the rear of the photograph and in my mother’s hand, there is a shopping list.  It too is of its time, probably the 1950s but post rationing:

Butter, marge, lard, tea, sugar, cheese, bacon, soap powder, biscuits, Vim, icing, jam, baking powder, suet, Heinz soup, ground almonds, sultanas, matches, toilet roll, cornflour or custard, biscuits.

This is a cook’s list for this is primarily what she did along with keeping the house clean and keeping the children in check (mostly me 😦 ).

(click on the image to enlarge)


  1. easyweimaraner · March 24, 2015

    It’s great to see this photo… thanks for sharing… oh and thanks for sharing the shopping list, now I now what I forgot on mine: jam :o)

    • northumbrianlight · March 24, 2015

      Many thanks, glad to be of service 🙂 And don’t forget the Bonio!

  2. Mo Claydon · March 24, 2015

    Oh that’s brilliant, as is the shopping list! I’ve got a few from the Haltwhistle Carnival in the early 50’s (there’s one here

    • northumbrianlight · March 24, 2015

      Many thanks Mo – as well as the shopping list, the original has some of my early creative crayon work scrawled across the image – removed courtesy of Photoshop 🙂 Love the Haltwhistle shot.

  3. LaVagabonde · March 24, 2015

    Your mother must have run out of paper that day. Cool photo of a funny tradition. It’s good to hear that it continued even during the war.

    • northumbrianlight · March 24, 2015

      Peg had a habit of writing on the back of photographs (not always shopping lists). I recently removed some photos from an album for scanning and found quite revealing notes on the reverse side related to my Mum and Dad’s pre-marriage holiday. One day I will share with the world – I can hear my mother’s voice – “Don’t you dare or there will be hell to pay!” 🙂

  4. M-R · March 25, 2015

    You do have some wonderful photos, Robin ! Your mother was married the year I was born.
    Ack !!

    • northumbrianlight · March 25, 2015

      Aha – almost the same fine vintage as my sister born almost 9 months to the day after they were married. Childbirth was not top of my Mum’s to-do list (who can blame her) hence it was another seven years before my grand entrance. Half heard, half understood conversations from when I was very small suggest that a third arrival would have had serious consequences for her sanity.

      • M-R · March 25, 2015

        Was it you then ? [grin]

      • northumbrianlight · March 26, 2015

        That would be my conclusion 🙂

  5. restlessjo · March 29, 2015

    This must be where your love of cars comes from. 🙂 What a cracking photo, Robin!

    • northumbrianlight · March 29, 2015

      Many thanks Jo and very perceptive – my grandfather raced trials bikes and a car (a Lea Francis made from two halves) at Brooklands in the 1920s.

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