Tuesday, 23 March 2010

ABC Wednesday - Just In Time

Joyce of Whitchurch, clock-makers since 1690 and still going strong all over the world. Supposed to be the oldest tower clock makers in the world. This is probably an equivalent of a wrist watch to them, but it is one of their most famous.  Have we time, are we just in time


to jump on board the train....the doors are open.  Or should we go underground to the other platform

out into the light. What is this,  is it the cavelry

no, just in time to see the Oliver Cromwell steaming as the Cumbrian Mountain Express as it takes on water and then crosses the tracks to join the main line for the run up to Shap Summit en route to Carlisle.  A train built in 1951, the Britannia class was part of the  railway post war revival.  It was also chosen in 1968 to be the last passenger steam train to run between Liverpool Lime Street and Carlisle as 'The Fifteen Guinea Special'.  Just take a minute to watch a minute of that last trip, the commentary is just of its time, with its  juicy vowels.




Are you thinking what about the Joyce clock.  Built in the 1890s it has had a tough times in those past years (there is a rather wonderful poem by Lynne Alexander on its five ages just by the clock on the wall) but it was made famous by David Lean



in Brief Encounters, filmed in February 1945 on Carnforth station.  Here is Celia Johnson getting a speck of dust in her eye, ready for Trevor Howard to come to the rescue with a handkerchief.  The station and the clock is a major part of the film, although the clock was actually given a false face to prevent continuity errors, so the clock  showed the right time for the plot.

It you ever visit Carnforth station you can go into the cafe this 'still' shows, it is identical to the film, not only that there is not a tea bag in sight, proper pots of tea.  That this exists is testament to the Carnforth Station and Railway Trust formed 1996 in attempt to rejuvenate the station after years of decline, which started in the 1970s with the electrification of the west coast main line (those pesky wires on my train photos). Carnforth was no longer part of the main line, one of its platforms was demolished, and it became just a branch line.  It was a sad sight as paint flaked, the station became grubby and the cafe was boarded up, it only needed tumble-weed rolling across it to complete the picture.

After fund-raising, including a donation from the David Lean Foundation, and with Railtrack's assistance work started in 2000, and was completed in 2003.  The cafe and visitor heritage centre was opened.  So not only can you see lots of railway memorabilia, Brief Encounters playing on a loop, old photographs and browse round the shop, but there may be some live music in the cafe.  The owner is ex RAF and as he says never thought he would end up on a railway station, but he always wanted to run a tea shop and wishes everything to be made fresh as it would have been in the 1940s.   He has recently installed equipment, purchased from a bakery that was closing down, so they can make their own bread. While we were there one of the volunteers from the Trust was playing the piano, the atmosphere was relaxed and cheerful, so unlike the time of quiet desperation that Lean filmed so long ago. 
Celia Johnston and Trevor Howard would re-unite in 1980 in Staying On as an elderly couple in India but they will always be remembered for the wonderful intense Brief Encounters.  Lean was a film-maker who could portray the intimate and the immense with equal skill.

Jump over to the ABC Wednesday meme for more words beginning with the letter J

11 comments:

Mara said...

I've never seen that film, but I do love the clock.

Sylvia K said...

What an interesting and informative J post! I love trains, I remember the old movies, but I didn't know about the history and that was fun reading! Thanks! Hope your week is going well! Enjoy!

Sylvia

jabblog said...

Fabulous post and so informative. I love the video clip. Can you imagine being allowed to stand on the track side these days? Wonderful stuff (though I always hated the sulphurous smell and the smuts that found their way onto everything,)

photowannabe said...

What a fun interesting read. I love the old clock and the fabulous stream strain.

Tumblewords: said...

So interesting! A terrific read and the clip is great!

Nydia said...

Loved this post, and now I want to watch this movie! Thanks for sharing!

Kisses from Nydia.

Greyscale Territory said...

Love these railway stories! Intriguing! And love that huge clock! A real survivor over time!

好瘋狂 said...

好文不寂寞~支持!!!!@@a 搞錯了,這不是論壇推文 XDDD.........................

Jay said...

I love those old station clocks! Some stations don't even have one these days, or if they do, it doesn't work. Such a shame!

Roger Owen Green said...

love clocks, love trains, and love B&W pics!

Grand Central Station (NYC) trains all leave 1 minute late, so the latecomers can cut it even closer, now that the secret is out.

Sheila said...

I had no idea that Brief Encounters was set in a real station. That must have caused some commotion and excitement locally!