Look forward to a huge variety articles relating to our wonderful country – from our natural, industrial and social heritage to the things that have shaped our lives over the decades – historic events, our childhoods, transport, entertainment, fashions, houses, jobs, shops, food, books, country pastimes and traditions… the list is endless.
The complete British actress
One of the brightest faces – and most distinctive voices ‒ of 1940s-50s British cinema, Glynis Johns enchanted British audiences with her flirtatious, wide-eyed charm and uniquely melodic, purring tones.
An accomplished dancer, pianist and singer as well as actress, she was the daughter of the popular Welsh actor, Mervyn Johns, and her voice instantly signposts its Welsh origins. However, Glynis was actually born in Pretoria, South Africa, in 1923, where her father and mother, pianist Alys Maude Steele-Payne, were touring. Displaying a natural, not to say precocious early talent, she was appearing on the London stage by the mid-Thirties, was a leading ballerina at 12, and a hit as Peter Pan at 19. She burst into films with a scene-stealing supporting role in South Riding (1938). Read more...
An emotional journey as British main line steam travel gasped its final breath.
The only smoke to be seen in Liverpool Lime Street came from the vertical exhaust of a multiple unit. At platform five stood seven coaches without motive power and a crowd of enthusiasts waited at the head of the coaches, peering expectantly into the tunnel. They stirred as a train came slowly into view, but relaxed again when it proved to be yet another diesel multiple unit.
The departure of the Locomotive Club of Great Britain special was scheduled for 11.45am on Saturday, April 4th, 1968, but the station clocks already showed this hour when once again, there was movement far up the tunnel. This time, wisps of steam could be seen and the Stanier Black Five idled its way down the bank towards the waiting coaches. Read more...
The diminutive Army lad who became a giant of British comedy
Arthur Askey was only five feet two in his stocking feet, but his enormous talent for entertaining people was evident from when he was a boy.
He hailed from the famous Liverpool humour stable that produced such legendary performers as Ken Dodd, Rob Wilton, Ted Ray, and Tommy Handley. Born in 1900 in Moses Street (not the bulrushes, as he would point out), he soon became the street comedian, singing funny songs at kids’ Sunday school parties and juvenile amateur shows. He also had a serious side to him and sang in the cathedral choir, prompting him to consider a concert career as a tenor.
Always a great master of the ad-lib and bubbling over with confidence in his ability to make people laugh, he joined the Army at 18 as WWI was reaching its conclusion. It soon became obvious that he was best employed keeping up morale at troop concert parties. Read more...