'Travel' Introduction

Here you will find accounts of travel and modes of transport in past times. Access the relevant section through the menu or by clicking on the heading below.

Accounts of Travel

To India and Back in 1914

This is a diary containing an account of a return voyage from Britain to India that started just before the outbreak of WW1. It provides a fascinating picture of the world at that time and in particular shows the attitude of the British towards India and its population in the Edwardian era.

There is also an account of the lives of two men - the author of the diaries and the Master of the vessel on which he travelled. In some ways the life of the ship's Master is more interesting as I have traced his family and the consequences of the deaths of both of his parents in 1885.

 A Cruise on Moldavia in 1936

 In January 2007 I purchased an album about a 1936 Mediterranean cruise on the P&O ship Moldavia from an eBay seller in Connecticut, USA . It is 11" by 8" with a colourful cover and contains photos, leaflets, postcards, a passenger list etc. but, as the few written notes give only first names, I do not know who created the album.

I have attempted to recreate the cruise from this little archive and have added background information and some modern images to show what has changed since 1936.

I invite you to imagine you are following a small party on the cruise which left Southampton Docks on 1st August 1936 and visiting various sites of major historical importance in the Mediterranean. The world had just struggled through WW1 - The War to End All Wars - followed by a severe economic recession. Shadows were hanging over Europe as Fascist regimes tightened their grip, and just a few weeks before the date of departure the Spanish Civil War had started.

Transport in Past Times

The Milligen Collection

Norfolk farmer George Edward Milligen (1910-2004) assembled a remarkable collection of automobiles, engines, large scale model railway locomotives, steam cars, fire engines and miscellaneous other mechanical items during his lifetime. After George died in 2004, his relatives sent most of it to be auctioned which has resulted in our awareness of this extensive and unique collection. Some of the car manufacturers are very obscure and I have added background information about them where possible.

My initial interest in George started from his ownership of an Edwardian steam yacht Wendorian - originally named Stephanotis and documented on the Stephanotis section of the website accessible under Ships .

Blackpool Trams in 1985

Trams completely disappeared from London by 1952 but I can remember one journey from Victoria Station to Catford to visit my great-grandmother. The London trams were replaced by a mixture of trolleybuses and diesel vehicles as a typical example of short-termism by politicians. They have been making a comeback of recent years but Blackpool is the one place in the UK that stuck with them.

Some years ago I was given an album of colour photos of Blackpool trams that were taken around 1985 at around the time I had just moved with my wife and children from Lichfield to Lytham St Annnes.

Maggie Thatcher was in her second term as PM; unemployment was running at over 3 Million; the miner's strike had just ended; there had been riots in Handsworth in Birmingham and PC Keith Blakelock had been killed during riots at Tottenham. HIV/AIDS was beginning to spread in the UK and the government AIDS: Don't Die of Ignorance campaign was not far ahead.

On a brighter note, the Live Aid concert took place at Wembley; Dire Straits released their Brothers in Arms album; the charity Comic Relief was founded and Nissan opened their car factory in Sunderland. Mobile phone services had just started and I got my first brick-sized mobile; the short-lived Sinclair C5 electric tricycle appeared; Eastenders had just started on TV; the first UK heart-lung transplant was carried out and Robert Ballard had discovered and photographed the wreck of Titanic - an old friend from Harland & Wolff acted as an adviser to James Cameron when he made his famous film 12 years later. Personal Computers (PCs) were available but connections were unimaginably slow by modern standards and there was no internet.

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