A poor way to impress the girls!

WHEN I started to drive as a 17-year old in 1963, many of the cars on the road were decades old. There was no power steering, heaters, radios, CD players, air conditioning, satellite navigation or other such 'luxuries' have all been added to our cars in that time.

WHEN I started to drive as a 17-year old in 1963, many of the cars on the road were decades old.

There was no power steering, heaters, radios, CD players, air conditioning, satellite navigation or other such 'luxuries' have all been added to our cars in that time.

Instead, cars had running boards, passenger doors, which opened the opposite way, to present standards and bonnets that opened like a pair of wings, were all common. Few would have passed an MOT test and often changed hands for about five pounds.

My first car was a 1955 Morris Minor with a leaking 'split' windscreen. On a rainy day any passenger had to have a container at their feet to catch the drips. It was not the smoothest feature to impress the girls!

Many of these cars their last outing at Foxhall Stadium, having been converted for stock car or banger racing.

While looking through the picture files at the Evening Star I found photos of an event at Foxhall Stadium organised in association with the offshore radio station, Radio London, where some of the disc-jockeys took part in a race. Apparently Tony Blackburn was the race winner while Ed Stewart managed to wreck his car early in the event. Keith Skues drove round at a top speed of around ten miles per hour!

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Jack Jay of Arundel Way, Ipswich, contacted me with his early motoring memories. Jack said: “I spent the last 40-odd years of my working life carrying out body repairs to cars and vans. The large photo of the Electric House car park at Tower Ramparts was very interesting, as it showed quite clearly that then you could recognise the makes and models of cars well before they reached you. In these times of aerodynamic efficiency cars all tend to look alike until you can see the badge on the boot!

“In that photo the two cars driving toward the exit are a Ford 100E Anglia and a Vauxhall Wyvern, while in the foreground (with a door open) is a Hillman Minx, with an Austin A30 in front of it. To the side of the Minx is a Triumph Mayflower, another Vauxhall, a Morris Minor, an Austin A30 and yet another Vauxhall.

“I agree with Tony Adams about the lack of comfort when motoring in those days and when I had a 1937 Morris 8 Tourer with a side opening bonnet. In frosty weather I often released the rear bonnet catches and wedged match boxes under the edges so that warm air from the engine could blow into the windscreen!

“I remember my grandfather owned a 'bull nose' Morris van for delivering milk from Mill Farm, Foxhall Road, Ipswich. Dr Kirby, my old French Master at the Northgate School, was delivered to and collected from school each day by his wife in a bull nosed Morris Car.

“As for the car park featured, I wonder how many of today's readers remember dancing there on a very wet evening when celebrating the Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II in June 1953?

“What a horrible day that was, the weather man on the radio reported that “the temperature on the Air Ministry roof in London on Coronation Day was exactly the same as it had been on the previous Christmas Day!”

Do you have a motoring story from the past to share? Write to Kindred Spirits, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN.

I recently featured a set of photographs of the Foxhall Hospital, which was built around a century ago and closed in 1975.

It was for many years an 'open air' hospital for patients with tuberculosis and lung disorders, after opening as the King Edward Memorial Sanatorium. The site was cleared and the Nuffield Hospital opened there ten years ago.

Marjorie Chilvers of Bell Lane, Kesgrave said: “I worked there in the early 1950s as a medical secretary for Dr George McNab, also Drs Grove, Brewer and Embleton. Matron Morris was there at the time together with Capt Doug Godfrey. The hospital was a happy place to work and had a family atmosphere especially for the Ukrainian refugees. Dr McNab always made sure they were employed around the hospital in many useful capacities. I remember them working as cooks, nurses, porters as well as in the X-ray department and pharmacy. There was also a doctor who had to re-sit his examination for this country. The glazing of the draughty wards brought much excitement and was due to the work and persistence of Dr McNab.

“I would be called into the operating theatre office to take dictation from the visiting surgeons after each surgical procedure; the names of these surgeons were Drs Parish and Cummins from Cambridge and Mr Wynne-Edwards from Mundesley.

“I shared an office with Mary Putland and enjoyed the camaraderie of those days.”

Mr R Shemmings of Portman Road, Ipswich, added: “As a schoolboy in the 1930s, I remember the hospital was referred to as 'the San', which sadly housed terminally ill patients, many of whom were former World War One veterans with the advanced stages of tuberculosis the incurable lung disease.

However, I believe advanced medical science developed a cure for the illness in the 1950s, that revolutionised the health of many thousands of sufferers, although it has not been eradicated.

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