Penarth back in time 432

Penarth Town Centre as it looked in the summer of 1939 in a photo which was reproduced on a postcard. 

If it looks as though Windsor Road was wider than today, the pavement “build-outs” had yet to be added and also it’s partly an illusion caused by the fact that –  in those days –  cars were a lot narrower than they are now.

Why there's no room on the roads. Modern cars are a third wider than  pre-war models.

Why there’s no room on the roads. A 1939 Morris Cowley (left) was 5 feet wide . A 2016 Vauxhall Astra is 6.7 feet wide.

A 1939 medium-size saloon like a Morris Cowley was just 5 feet wide. A comparable 2016 Vauxhall Astra is 6.7  feet wide  – a third wider than most pre WW2 cars.

It was the practice  for the comparative few who owned cars  to drive them into their domestic garages . In 1939 the permanent parking of cars outdoors and overnight – in residential streets – was almost unheard of . Penarth was then a much less cluttered place.

In 1939 petrol rationing began. Private motoring was banned altogether in 1942

In 1939 petrol rationing began. Private motoring was banned altogether in 1942

In 1939 though, the smart move for those who owned cars was to sell them – as petrol was already rationed and in 1942 private motoring was almost totally prohibited – except for those in reserved occupations where car transport was deemed essential . The other option was to store the cars under cover and wait for the war to end. Working second-hand pre-war cars would achieve high prices after WW2 was over.

On February 18th 1941 newly called-up serviceman, Bill Blatchford, wrote on the back of this postcard to his mother at 42 Rosehill, St Blazey, Par, Cornwall;-

“This morning (Tuesday) about 100 chaps, myself included, were marched up this street to be sworn in the RAF. We looked a queer crowd too. At 12:30 am I was made an RAF man . I report for training in two or three weeks time . Love from Bills XXX”

As Mr Blatchford isn’t named on the St Blazey war memorial it may well be that he survived the war .The postcard is up for sale on an auction site at £17.50

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5 Responses to PENARTH BACK IN TIME 10: A 1939 POSTCARD – A 1941 RAF RECRUIT

  1. I’m loving all these pictures of old Penarth. Where did the pictures come from?

  2. Janet says:

    Love it!

  3. CelticMan says:

    Keep them coming!

  4. MGG says:

    PDN will keep us guessing forever where these came from!!

  5. I have come across this particular picture before – I cannot remember where though. I had it as my “wallpaper” on my PC for a while. Image Searches on the internet can uncover some marvellous vintage pictures of Penarth.

    I would be interested in seeing some pictures of the old shop that was pulled down in about 1972 and replaced by the new brick built Boot’s. I have vague memories of going in there once, when there seemed to be a sale of all sorts of things, and as I remember, there was no electricity in the shop – whether it was a closing down sale or what, I cannot remember, it was a scene reminiscent of a jumble sale.

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