Blog : The 1930s – a decade of extremes

Martyn Kelham

Wolseley 011

My 1934 Wolseley Nine was born into a very different world from today and drivers of that decade had vastly different expectations from their cars. While we might think that the country was hugely prosperous and everything was fine up until WW2 – and it all went wrong in the 1950s – the reality was somewhat different. The country was in a considerable mess leading up to the war.

Anyone who caught the recent ITV programme dealing with 1949 will have got an insight into the harsh but very realistic facts of sensible welfare-state management. During the 1930s though, the harshness was far more brutal and sometimes quite unrealistic. For example, if it was deemed that an employed father could support an unemployed son or daughter, his or her benefit would be stopped. This meant that a family unfortunate enough to have one (or more) members of the family unemployed was to expect a lower standard of living across the board – to carry the passengers. In some cases the unemployed son or daughter would be thrown out of the house – made homeless – because the father would not support them.

Alongside such hardship, the era was one of expansion and great technological development. For some, home ownership was a real possibility for the first time; there was massive growth of light industries; the consumer society was born; the Baby Austin appeared in thousands of garages; every town began to have its Woolworth’s – and football pools, greyhound racing and cinemas were becoming ever popular.

…the consumer society was born; the Baby Austin appeared in thousands of garages; every town began to have its Woolworth’s – and football pools, greyhound racing and cinemas were becoming ever popular.

Dreams of the determined became realities. Huge progress in airship development with the R100 and R101, Henry Segrave pushing the Land Speed Record to 231mph at Daytona Beach, Sir Gilbert Scott designing the new Battersea Power Station and pylons beginning to thread there way across the South Down – all happened in this decade.

The period began with extremely cold weather followed by a superb summer – both of which caused the motorcars of the day (or at least the drivers) something of a problem. Today’s cars would be totally unaffected by such things but let’s have a look at just what this would have meant for the 1930s driver.

Anti-freeze had been around for some time (discovered, some believe, by a waste product melting the ice on a lake in the USA – certainly in time for use in the early Model T Fords). However, many drivers in the UK could not afford it and my father, even into the 1960s was putting an oil-fired stove under the sump at night. Indeed, I struggled to afford the stuff when a youth in the 1960s and popped every core plug in the engine one cold night on my Ashley Sportiva special!

The 1930s driver often had a problem even before he got in the car. Door locks would freeze up easily as there was less attempt at keeping the moisture out than on our current cars. We then had to clear the screen (pre-credit card or aerosol screen sprays remember – and there were certainly no heated screens). Later, Woolworth’s and other retailers sold a very useful electric screen heater – a bright metal bar affixed to inside of the screen with two rubber suckers.

The exposed element hid behind the bar (just) and, at around five shillings, they were very good value.  In 1930 though, such things were not around and many cars had no heater at all. Getting the screen clear of ice and getting it to stay that way often resulted in a lot of wiping – with our sleeves, handkerchiefs or whatever we had to hand. There were no screen washers and wipers were single blade – but not made of the sophisticated stuff we use today. In cold weather they became as hard as steel – and pretty useless. There was a way to gain one hundred percent visibility, of course – and that was to open the screen. Some screens opened to allow a gap of 6 inches or so but some would open fully – and were useful in these extreme conditions. Of course, the downside was that your eyes, ears, hands and mouth got icicles dangling from them! 1930s man was made of tough stuff, though!

Wolseley 006

The routine then was to take a kettle of warm (not hot) water with you and liberally poor the stuff over the and into the door locks and then trickle it over the screen and side windows – if it was too hot, the glass would crack of course.

Smart drivers never left the handbrake on – usually relying on chocks and first gear. Frozen brake shoes welding themselves to the drum tended to slow initial progress somewhat!

Often, of course, the winter brought proper snow – a foot or so over the road and drifts of serious proportions. Newspapers of the day were fond of catching the ‘Stop sign picture’ with just the triangle visible – and the 6ft pole in a drift. There were no grit or salt spreaders – yet, for the most part, the country battled on. Others will have memories far older than mine but even in the 1960s (I think it was 1963), I well remember my parents and I leaving Bristol at about midnight and setting off on the 60 mile journey home – through virgin snow mostly about six inches deep but sometimes more. The thin tyres of the Vauxhall Ten bit through well and we arrived home around four hours later. It has to be said most of our ordinary modern cars would falter after a few meters – with such wide tyres and so little ground clearance.

There was no ABS, stability control, limited slip diff (in most cases) or any wizardry to help. Your driving skill was all-important – you had to avoid spinning the wheels unless you actually wanted to! You leant opposite locking and four wheel drifting very fast – and used them to your advantage.

There was no ABS, stability control, limited slip diff (in most cases) or any wizardry to help. Your driving skill was all-important – you had to avoid spinning the wheels unless you actually wanted to!

The lighting performance of those days would surely shock a modern driver. This is one area where the quality of the 1930s vehicle showed up enormously. A Bentley or a Jaguar may have had Lucas P100 lights but your little ten horsepower Austin or six volt Ford 8 would be less than perfect. Before the MoT, many drivers used lights with very discoloured reflectors – and some used ‘tin foil’ to re-line the bowls. Our 1938 Jowett 8 had a top speed of 48mph – definitely too fast for night driving in the wet.

The ‘2013 Man’ might be surprised by the low noise of some 1930s cars though. A quality car with a separate steel chassis, a very nice straight six engine and cross ply tyres – could be exceptionally quiet. Certainly progress was not accompanied by the constant humming of tyre noise that we live with today.

Modern man might have some issues with general braking performance. I took our 1939 SS One and Half Litre saloon for its MoT in about 1968. The Tester failed the car because he said it took far too long to stop from 40 miles an hour. I had to show him the handbook, which clearly stated that the car was actually stopping ten foot shorter than the expected figure!

In most cases, performance would not impress modern man either. Where as the naught to sixty dash is now around 10 seconds for ordinary family cars – 30 seconds was nearer the mark for a thirties something saloon. There were some quite quick cars – but not for the ordinary ‘chap’.

One area where progress might not be quite so advanced is fuel consumption. My little Wolseley gives me around 33 to the gallon – a Mini Cooper in petrol form might give us 45 (ish). Ignoring actual performance – that’s not a revelation for 70 years of progress. The modern diesel of course can do really impressive figures and nothing pre-1950 could compete!

The big difference for our current driver, though, would be in the area of handling and roadholding. The average 2013 modern driver might approach a roundabout in a 1930s popular small car – at what he might think is a sensible speed – and would probably come to grief! Stopping quickly on a wet road as he approached a hazard on a blind bend might cause a lot of drama too. The 1930s drivers (and those of us who use the cars today) know this of course and drive accordingly.

Disappointment might set in for the modern DIY fan going to the ‘boot’ of many 1930s cars (and many had no boot at all). The Wolseley has a spare wheel compartment but the only way to carry a lawn mower home would be by using the leather straps provided – and sit the machine on the bootlid.

On hot sunny days, cars often over-heated. Water temperature indicators were often confined to a dial on the radiator top – visible from the driver’s seat. The Wolseley and many other popular cars had no thermostat and no water pump.

What the 1930s car does have, of course, is oodles of character and charm. Many young drivers today have never experienced a car that you can actually have a relationship with. Modern cars do just about everything we ask of them and the technology gets the driver out of so many scrapes. With sophisticated traction controls, car stability systems, braking performance enhancers and modern tyre technology, we are so divorced from what is actually going on between the car and the road that it takes idiocy to lose control of a car and have an RTA  – and when we do it’s often because we have pushed the boundaries of technology just a little too far.

Wolseley 008

There are many (and I meet a lot of them on a Tuesday night at our Vintage Car Meeting in the local pub) who say that no good car was ever made after June 1930. They say that it was an era of mass production and the beginning of the ‘bean-counter’ mentality. In the twenties, things were built properly and mostly bespoke. Cars were only just past their first twenty years of development – and many were hand built and using totally different technology to everyone else.

We had front engines, rear engines, prop-driven, chain-driven, electric power, propeller power, wooden wheels, steel wheels, wire wheels, fabric bodies, steel bodies, wooden bodies – this eclectic mix of core values was extreme. I can’t argue with the purists – the 1930s did bring ‘conformity’ to many ordinary saloon cars. However, driving a Morris 8 was still so different to driving a Ford 8 that it was akin to that between driving a Lexus and Kia Picanto. Engines were so distinctive in their running – and the sound of their exhaust.  Cable brakes, hydro-mechanical brakes, rod brakes and fully hydraulic brakes – all these things gave a car such a different character. Umpteen different steering systems – worm and peg, cam and peg, Burman etc. – all providing a totally different experience.

Yes, the 1920s was probably the era of the ‘proper car’ – but the 1930s allowed thousands to enjoy the experience.

While some enjoyed their new Ford, the extremes of the decade continued with forty percent of miners in the UK unemployed and total unemployment in Wales exceeded 39%. Yet the ‘art-deco’ movement thrived and fashion in most things became more of a way of life than ever before.

Amy Johnson the renowned amateur pilot became the heroin of the age with most young girls rating her second after Edith Cavell and above Joan of Arc, as a role model.  Fred Perry won the Men’s Singles at Wimbledon in 1935 and 1936 and Oxford won the Boat Race in 1937 – the first time since 1923 – but the biggest sports news in the 1930s was undoubtedly the start of Greyhound Racing. This was the sports phenomena for the UK that employed thousands of people and affected the lives of hundreds of thousands more – both positively and negatively.

On the roads, deaths hovered around 4000 per annum with injuries recorded at just under a quarter of a million. To try and educate our drivers, a trial was set up using ‘courtesy cops’ who rode around on bikes and ‘advised’ motorists to slow down. A huge divide was forming between those that have and those that have not – the Rolls Royce gained its Spirit of Ecstasy and, along with Bugattis, Sunbeams, Vauxhalls, Bentleys and some Daimlers, started the ‘streamlined’ look – leaving the everyday car (by Ford, Austin, Morris, Jowett and the like) looking as archaic ‘as your grandmother’s hat’ to quote a term of the time.

No consideration of the 1930s would be complete without mentioning two aspects very dear to my heart – Brooklands and Bluebird. The decade was the height of activity for both but Brooklands (in terms of history for this country) deserves its own article and I’m not going to attempt to do it justice in this piece.

Bluebird, of course, driven by our man Malcolm Campbell took the Land Speed Record away from Ray Keech and Henry Segrave though King George did ask him what was the point of it all! Undaunted by the King’s remark, Campbell went on to take the record up to 301mph on 7 March 1935. Just at the end of the decade Campbell took the water speed record to over 140mph in another Bluebird. In this same year – 1939 – cars raced at Brooklands for the last time.

And so to the end our decade and with the war looming and shadow factories taking up aeroplane  construction, ‘plane components or armaments – we lost car production across the board with a few exceptions, notably Austin due to Leonard Lord’s clever thinking. He continued to produce the Ten under the banner of it being an army vehicle!

All these things discussed here shaped the 1930s motorcar of course – whether with art-deco streamlining for the upper echelons of society or the price conscious approach by Ford, Austin and Morris to beat each other into pulp – with the £100 car.

What we are left with as enthusiasts of the period is cars that still have enormous character, are cheap to run and fun to drive. Apart from a brief and disastrous blip in the 1990s, though, anyone considering buying a popular 1930s car to run and sell on at a profit will mostly be disappointed. If the thing goes wrong, even a humble little nine-horse power can set you back fifteen hundred quid for ‘white metalling’ (pre-shell bearings) and that’s before you start any sort of strip down and re-build.

That said, if you have more greenbacks to spend – say, £50K upwards – then, with careful purchasing and knowing all the right people, you could make a buck or two while, if your finances run to Bugs, Lancias and Alfa Romeos with competition history, then you’re in the £250,000 to £2 million mark.

For me though, the joy of 1930s cars is in the ownership and the driving!

Even my humble little Wolseley…

Wolseley 002


  1. Thanks Martuyn for this excellent piece. I am very aware that tyhe 1930s was a decade of often extreme contrasts but also of great achievement. Mentioning The Blue Bird (Malcolm Campbell always separated the two words) is also a reminder that today (29th September) is the 61st anniversary of John Cobb’s fatal accident with Crusader at Loch Ness in 1952 after setting the first 200mph plus one-0way record. At the time, Cobb was also holder of the Land Speed record with the Railton Special and actually held this record continually from 1939 to 1964.

    By the way, Sir Malcom’s 301.129 mph record was set at Bonneville on the 3rd September 1935. The March record – the last and fastest at Daytona Beach – was actually a little slower (!) at 276 mph. The 1935 Blue Bird was briefly back in the UK for the Goodwood Festuival of Speed this year. Normally it’s kept at the (closed) Daytona USA exhibit at the famous International Speedway; although, strangely, they acknowledge only its Daytona record and not the higher speed attained at Bonneville. Also, does anyone remember “The Thirties” exhibition at London’s Hayward Gallery in 1979? The BBC replica of The Blue Bird (now at the Lakeland Motor Museum) was exhibited on the roof next to Waterloo Bridge!

  2. Yes the 1930’s. Huge investment in Infrastructure in London and the South East – London Underground, Battersea Power Station, sprawing estates of suburban housing, but the unemployed in the North East having to March on London because they where literally starving. Much the same as the position today. The Olympics, Crossrail and HS2 in the South, sod all in the North.

  3. Well, there’s always the Baltic Centre…

    There’s always going to be winners and losers where infrastructure investment is concerned and I do take the point that there are many parallels between the 1930s and today. Your mention of the railways is a case in point. Record breaking speeds and a huge network pre-war that received almost no investment until fairly recently. By then, post-Beeching, the lack of vision that resulted in whole communites being starved of adequate transport links has meant that today’s railways are forever trying to catch up. Costs are truly staggering to create – or recreate – new routes but it is encouraging that it’s happening at all. The soon to be rebuilt “Waverley” route in the Scottish borders is just one example. I was brought up in South West Scotland so I am fully aware of the “North-South” divide but, don’t forget, that there are many places in Soutern England that have, and continue to sufer, deprivation. The 1930s can often be viewed through rose-tinted glasses but, for all that, the achievements of Britain’s sporting and engineering heroes should always be celebrated. Campbell, Cobb, Segrave, and Birkin had as great an effect on giving the nationa boost in difficult times as last year’s Olympics and they continue to inspire today.

  4. It makes me chuckle this infrastructure investment,the tens of Billions mooted for HS2, jesus someone is getting a good rake off from this,more than likely our bent bastard politicians.

    Its all our fault, we vote them in time after time.

  5. The 1930’s in the USA was dominated by our Great Depression. Government paid for infrastructure improvements to pull us out of the Depression, that were massive, creating many of the roads, streets, electrical services to rural areas, dams, bridges, low income housing still in use today.
    It was an era of extremes, with some of the most magnificent looking, expensive and bespoke or new bespoke cars by Auburn, Cord, even mainline cars by mid to later 1930’s becoming far more sophisticated, equipped with heaters, defrosters, all-steel bodies, 6 and 8 cylinder engines.

  6. One very minor correction, the ‘spirit of ecstacy’ was commisioned by Claude Johnson from Charles Sykes for Rolls Royce in 1911 due to Owners fitting ‘inaproprate’ mascots. It has always been oficially an optional extra

    But cars of this period are interetsing and rather charming to drive, although with the larger ones one can feel the force may work better that any of the controls!

  7. Having owned a 1947 Austin 16 [which was a thirties design] and driven a few thirties and forties cars, it’s the brakes which are the biggest difference, especially on British stuff. American thirties stuff was far superior in just about every department. A nice Model B is still a pretty usable car today.

  8. The best brakes of the thirties were to be found on british cars, but not the mass market ones! Once Henry Royce was persueded to fit them to all 4 wheels that is.. interetsingly the front brakes on RR cars of this period only work when the car is moving but then why do they need to when stationary?

  9. Wonderful piece & very enlightening. Would love to read more real insights into this era, rather than the misty eyed nostalgia one so often comes across.

  10. The roads were awash with 1930s cars such as the Morris 8, Austin Ruby and Ford Y type until about 1961, the MOT inspection killed them almost overnight.

    My father had a 1934 Ruby and later a Ford Y type, four doors, the famous £100 Ford. Spares were not a problem too, it was possible to have a new engine fitted by the local Ford main dealer Charlesworths in Doncaster, even for a 27 year old car.

    The seperate chassis and body with wooden floors were virtually rust immune.

    I still have one of the chrome plated sidelights from his 1934 Ford, it had been stored in a damp cellar for more than 50 years, at 70 years of age , no rusting whatsoever! the plating still smooth and shines like silver.

  11. Ford kept the essentially 1930s Popular in production until 1939, a good decade after the other major companies had dropped similar models.

  12. Richard #13 – I take it you meant 1959 ? I well remember the staggering results in saloon car racing of the “Ballamy Pop” which had divided axle i.f.s. and a very much hotted up 1172 engine, with IIRC an overhead inlet valve conversion .

  13. Wonderful read Martyn my old friend, really enjoyed the article….the sad fact being that the generation of guys that remember these times is growing smaller by the year. Apart from the hardcore of young enthusiasts that are generally born into motoring families, next generations will have little understanding of this type of motoring and its associated history, which is a great shame.
    Wouldn’t it be refreshing to see articles of this type published more regularly in classic car mags or presented at clubs, events and museums or wherever younger enthusiasts or potential enthusiasts gather.
    Such an interesting topic and so important to pass on this vast motoring knowledge of the older generation. Once its gone it’s gone forever!

  14. A good % of the cars on sale in the 50s belonged in the 1930s, the Ford “Perpendicals” such as Anglia Popular Prefect etc. when Ford moved from separate chassis to monocoque, the mechanical parts were incorporated, the Escort /Esquire with the 1172 sidevalve engine and three speed box, possibly the newest technology being hydraulics instead of rods and cables for brakes and pressed steel wheels for spoked hubs and rims.

    Looking at the Ford offerings makes you realise how radical the engineering of the Issigonis Morris Minor of 1948 actually was, only held back by the prewar Morris 8 engine

  15. Ford seemed to put most of their efforts at the turn of the 1950s into the Consul / Zephyr / Zodiac.

  16. Perhaps two of the biggest achievements of the thirties occired in the Merseyside area, with the opening of the East Lancashire Road, which provided a mostly dual carriageway link between Manchester and Liverpool, and the electrified suburban rail system on Merseyside, which provided clean, fast public transport for 2 million people.

  17. It’s intesting that the Liverpool Overhead Railway was never mearged into the Merseyrail system, & remained privately owned until it closed in the 1950s.

  18. For all this is a car website, don’t forget the thirties were an exciting decade for the railways in the last decade of private ownership. You had the Mallard breaking the speed record for steam, the Flying Scotsman doing the London to Edinburgh run in just over five hours, streamlined expresses on the West Coast Main Line, and at a more practical level, a massive expansion of electrification on the Southern commuter routes and completion of electrification on suburban services on Tyneside and Merseyside.

  19. Ian@2 – Quite right – slipped through spell-check I’m afraid.
    Stewart@7 – Acknowledged – Apologies.
    Colin@8 – Fond memories of the 16 – father had one after his SS 1.5 Ltr and before I could drive on the road. I was fortunate in that although we weren’t farmers we lived on a farm and Dad bought me a 39 Vauxhall 10 to belt round the fields and cut my teeth on. I was about eleven.
    Glenn@21 – your absolutely right – the 30’s was really the railway years!
    They say that looking back in time is the biggest wast of time. Of course it is – but that doesn’t stop old boys thinking back to the days of scrap yarding on a Sunday afternoon with Dad. And every car had separate headlamps and wings – many still had running boards and wire wheels. How I remember clambering up to the car on top and shouting down to Dad – this ones got one – throw me the half-inch!

  20. At the other end of the scale, there were the monster black open topped Mercedes favoured by a certain German dictator. I did read somewhere Hitler had his Mercedes supercharged to be the most powerful car in Europe. This would be one car you would move out of the way of.

  21. Did a bit more resource on Hitler’s biggest limo and it had a supercharged 7.7 litre V8 engine, I don’t think this was surpassed until the late sixties, when Cadillac brought out a 7.8. Also I doubt Adolf had to worry about the fuel consumption as he probably got the petrol for free.

  22. Great to see other 9’s still exist. My grand father and then father owned the (now Maroon) 9 displayed at Gaydon. Before they owned it, it was official transport for the Lord Mayor on Nottingham.

  23. Michael@25
    By a strange co-incidence we have been up to Gaydon specifically to look at that car to get the detail of the windscreen rubber – which we were having trouble finding.
    I have been to Gaydon umpteen times but during one of my early visits several years ago – with my very good mate Rob (who has added his comments to this blog) saw your father’s Nine. As guys often do, we played the game of ‘what would we drive home in’. We both chose the Nine over and above all the other lovely cars at Gaydon!
    In essence then, we have your grandfather and father to thank for Mrs Wolseley and I being ‘Woolley’ devotees.
    Good to hear the connection – thanks for the comment!

  24. Hi, If you would like I could get some pictures of the 9 known as ‘Kitty’ in Dakin family pre Heritage ownership which was from 1977.
    My father is 85 now but we have pictures of her from my parents wedding day in the early 1950’s upto the car being sold to the Heritage collection when it was at Donnington Park in 1977 when she under went a full renovation and was repainted from black to her factory colour.
    If the moderator will kindly release my email to you then I’ll talk to dad.
    PS Mr Moderator – You don’t need to publish this note just forward it the gentleman that owns the 9.

  25. Oh did the 9 have the OHC engine and vertical dynamo as found in the MGs and Morris cars, I belive the MG Magna and Magnette engines were based on the bigger Wolseleys

  26. Oh while not a 30’s car Dad had a 1921 40/50hp Rolls Royce which was interetsting, it was a Springfeild car and had a carpeted compartment under the drivers seat whihc was a mystery, untill it was found to be the correct size to carry 2 cases of whiskey, the car was built during prohibition in the USA!

  27. @Stewart

    I wish more cars had this feature, instead of focusing on holders for fast food cups.
    The Celica has a bit of a ridge in the boot that is wide enough for a bottle of whiskey, but unfortunately it is very long (width of car) so the bottle ends up all over the shop during cornering.

    As an aside, during prohibition, racing amongst the tuned cars to outrun the cops when smuggling moonshine was how NASCAR got started.

    • Renault 4 door pockets are the exact width of a standard wine bottle, and the length fits an exact number of them. I can’t remember the number now, but the curves at the ends fitted the end bottles comfortably.

  28. Stewart@29
    Yes, the Wolseley Nine does have a 1018cc overhead cam in line 4 but with a standard dynamo set up. There are some similarities with the MG engines of the same period and the gearbox’s also use some of the same castings – though the Nine is not remoted back like an MG.
    Wolseley at this time (1934) we’re pretty independent and individual although were owned by William Morris of course. The later car – the Wasp – was the last incarnation of this model before they all became Morris’s with Wolseley grills, dashes, and bits’ n bobs.

  29. We did a camping trip to France in 1967. talk about culture shock Seeing those DS taking off vertically from almost on the grass and finding out they were contemporaneous with the 100e.

  30. #32. Not quite the last. The Wolseley 8 which was continued post WWII had a unique engine being essentially an OHV version of the Morris 8 Series E engine, and was William Morris’s personal car and a favourite of his

  31. IIRC there were plans to use the 908cc OHV engine in the Minor.

    One Wolseley also used an OHC version of the 1467cc Oxford engine.

  32. 36.Richard : I don’t think so. Issigonis’s original idea in the Minor was for a rather curious flat four side valve , and when there were problems with that, they used a slightly developed Series E 918cc side valve until 1952. It’s an interesting point as to why they didn’t use the ohv version. The ohc Wolseley you were thinking of was the 4/50 which used a four cylinder version of the 6/80 and Morris Six . I did not know there was any connection between that engine and the Oxford side valve – it used a rather curious drive to the camshaft from the rear of the engine, akin to that used in the AC 2 litre engine which ran from 1919 to about 1962 !

  33. I got most of the information from the A-Z of Cars 1945-70, not sure if it’s 100% correct

    The capacity of the 1476cc (not 1467cc as I mentioned before) in the 4/50 is the same as Oxford’s engine, suggesting an OHC conversion. It might be co-incidence the capacity is the same.

  34. @ G. Aylett: The East Lancs. Road (officially the Liverpool-East Lancashire Road) wasn’t dual carriageway when built, it was all three lane with a ‘suicide’ shared overtaking lane.
    It was Britain’s first purpose-built motor road though.
    PS. Ir wasn’t in Merseyside then.. From the Mersey up to Westmorland was all Lancashire until 1974.

  35. For all there was hardship in many parts of the country, the thirties saw some massive technological advances. Silent films were all but gone by the early thirties and by the end of the decade blockbusters like Gone With the Wind were made in colour. By the end of the thirties radios had fallen in price and become more reliable and were found in most homes, and in 1936 the BBC introduced television, a form of technology that probably would have become widespread by the mid forties if the war had not intervened. Also products like washing machines, vacuum cleaners and cookers were appearing, although these were mostly found in wealthier homes.

  36. I live in Whitehaven, Cumbria( then Cumberland), and the Great Depression hit the town very hard, with nearly half the workforce unempployed in 1933, and cars being a luxury for a handful of well off people. However, even with a dearth of cars on the road, a job creation scheme saw the town centre and the neighbouring village of Distington by passed, no doubt a huge bonus for the handful of local car owners, but with a view to encouraging more firms to set up in the area and reduce unemployment.

    • Glenn: Just ran across your comment and it struck a personal, non-car, note. My father graduated in Aberdeen as a doctor in the mid-1920’s and the first job he got was as a junior in a practice at Ennerdale Bridge, near Whitehaven. Much later he would occasionally talk to me about the unemployment and devastating poverty there — patients had no money yet my father certainly couldn’t turn them away when they were ill, so for a doctor he was pretty impoverished too. No NHS then!.

  37. It’s posts like these last two that make this website so real – so good. It’s always real memories – even if vicariously through older relatives – that add the magic. Mixing a lot with 80 – 90 plus years – car enthusiasts every Tuesday night – I’m just so conscious of our rich motoring history disappearing before our eyes. I’m so fortunate to associate with a BMC/BL tool maker, pattern maker, stylist and others – most of whom, have been retired 20-30 years. Another chum is a retired doctor who raced and rallied Rileys in the day and still did his rounds in a 20/25 Rolls Royce well into the 60’s! Like the latest posts on here, they all have stories to tell. We have to capture what we can. As the adverts say – when it’s gone, it’s gone. Special thanks to Glenn and Peter.

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