Hayling Island in old picture postcards volume 2

Hayling Island in old picture postcards volume 2

:   Pat Holt
:   Hampshire
:   United Kingdom
:   978-90-288-6657-7
:   80
:   EUR 16.95 Incl BTW *

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Fragmenten uit het boek 'Hayling Island in old picture postcards volume 2'

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Nostalgia unlimited

Looking at old picture postcards of Hayling Island is rather like seeing the world through rose-coloured spectades. The sun always seems ra be shining, the sands are always golden, the roads are free of traffîc and the holidaymakers are always enjoying themselves!

Indeed this collection of old postcards will bring back many fond memories, both for residents and for the countless families who had happy holidays on the island or day trips to Hayling's beaches.

Some of those vi si tors liked Hayling so much that they later chose to move to the island. They bought family houses, holiday cottages and retirement bungalows, helping to swell the population from about 2,000 in 1 900 ra an estimated 17,400 or so in the early years of the 21 st century.

Large parts of the island remain rural to this day, with open fields, woodland and quite a few beautiful, leafy lanes.

Yet many residents now commute ra schools and workplaces at Portsmouth, Havant, Chichester and beyond, bringing the daily nightmare oftraffic jams and stress to this out-of-the way corner of Hampshire.

It is hard to believe that until the Hayling road bridge

was opened in 1824, the island could be reached only by boat - or by walking cautiously across the Langstone wadeway at low tide.

Ir must have seemed a very quiet and remote place in those days. Apart from agriculture, the main occupations on the island were brickmaking, saltmaking and fishing, induding the cultivation of oysters.

In 1867, another new bridge opened, carrying a railway branch line from Havant to south Hayling.

This was the journey favoured by generations of day trippers, who dattered along in carriages pulled by veteran 'puffing billy' steam engines. They fondly nick-named this route 'the Hayling Billy line'.

Others came on charabanc excursions to the seaside and later by motor-ears and coaches, providing a thriving tourist industry on Hayling throughout the 20th century. The postcards record the old bath house and bathing machines, which served as mobile changing rooms for modestly dad swimmers. By the 1930s, day trippers were photographed sunbathing in deckchairs, although they were often still fully dressed in hats and tweed suits. There are also some wonderful old postcards showing Hayling's holiday camps.

Sadly the railway branch line was 'axed' in 1963 as part

ofBeeching's economy drive - but all was not lost. Visitors continued to arrive by road and, nowadays, they still come from far and wide, same to enjoy the funfair and amusement arcades, and others to visit the unusual wildlife habitats on the island, with their wonderful birds, plants and coastal scenery.

The old oyster beds at north Hayling have been transformed into a nature reserve and the mud-flats, salt marshes and sheltered waters around the island are now beginning to be protected and appreciated in their own right.

The route of the old waterside railway has now been turned into a traffic-free leisure route (the Hayling Billy Trail) and the last of the station buildings at south Hayling, an old railway goods shed, has been converted into the modern Station Theatre.

Hayling could on ce baast its own cinemas. These toa have long since disappeared but, happily, residents and visitors can go to see same of the latest films at the Station Theatre, plus amateur drama and various other entertainments.

Wh at the old picture postcards do not record are the hardships of the old days, for money was short and life was aften extremely tough by today's standards. Winter weather could be bleak and stormy and there were plenty of shipwrecks on the shoals and sandbanks. The exploits ofHayling's courageous lifeboatmen are worthy of a baak in their own right.

Photography was discouraged during the war years, wh en German bombs were falling on the island and many ofthe menfolk of Hayling were fighting overseas, so there are few holiday postcards from that peri ad.

By the 1950s and 1960s, postcard production was in full swing once again and these old pictures allow us to enjoy the fashions, the cars and the buildings of those times, which now seem remarkably distant.

This baak is intended to complement the first volume of 'Hayling Island in old picture postcards', which was sa expertly written by the late Robert Godfrey. Although the two volumes bath span most ofthe 20th century, they contain two completely different sets ofpictures - nostalgia unlimited, you might say!

I would very much like ra thank the kind friends who have helped me to collect the pictures and information for this new volume. Notably, Yvonne Cowell and Glyndwyr Jones offered me their large collections of picture postcards. Alan Bell allowed me to use a picture from his baak' A Branch Line to Hayling' and Trevor Glanville contributed another wonderful railway picture. I also had invaluable help from Sandra Brooks - and others toa numerous to mention.

1 Many aspects of Hayling life have changed dramatically over the years and none more so than transport. Steam trains, hors es and carts, grand old automobiles, charabancs and bi-planes all appeared at various times in Hayling's history. The south Hayling railway station and platform have now disappeared, but the buildings in the background of this picture can still be seen on the corner of Station Raad and Staunton Avenue.

2 Another view of the former south Hayling railway station atWestTown, with one of the characteristic small steam engines.

For generations of day trippers, this station was the gateway to the seaside. After leaving the train, they would walk along

Staunton Avenue, carrying picnics, buckets and spades and everything needed for a day on the beach. The Hayling branch

line was closed in 1963, a victim of the Beeching's economy drive.

3 A long-vanished Hayling scene is captured in this picture, with a steam train chugging across the

railway bridge on a winter's day in 1963. Ir is rare for the seawater around Hayling Island to freeze

but in this photograph, taken from the road bridge, an uneven layer of ice extends as far as the eye

can see. The railway bridge has been demolished but the concrete supports still remain.

4 This postcard of the south Hayling station gives a broader view of the old railway buildings, which

rapidly fell into disrepair after the closure of the railway line in 1 963. They were eventually dernol-

ished. All that now remains of the old station is a farmer goods shed, which has been imaginativeiy

transfarmed into a modern new theatre, aptly called the Station Iheatre.

5 Ta this day, a small ferry baat provides a regular service between Hayling Island and Eastney, carry-

ing foot passengers, bicycles and mopeds. The baatmen baast that the ferry runs 'like clockwork',

whatever the weather. This old, undated postcard gives us a glimpse of the past, with a much smaller

vessel plying the same route across the mouth of Langstone Harbour.

6 Lots of impressive old motor vehicles can be identified in this picture postcard of the car park at

Southwood Raad, Hayling, including one of the old, single-decker Southdown buses, which used to serve

the island. Passengers can be seen waiting in the bus shelter, overlooking old buildings and open spa ces

that have long since disappeared.

? 571 ?


7 Open top buses were ance a familiar part of the Hayling summer scene. Visitars enjayed the views from the wind-swept

upper deck, which was aften packed with passengers, as in this picture. In the background are same of the old haliday chalets

and hausebaats, which used to line the shares of the Kench, a picturesque inlet in the sauth-west of the island.

8 A bi-plane was photographed at Beachlands for this old picture postcard, dating from 1 9 11 . History records that pilot Howard Pixton flew this plane, a Bristol Box Kite, from Amesbury, and landed on the shore of south Hayling, wh ere the flimsy aircraft had to be tied down among the bathing machines, to prevent it being blown over by the gusty sea winds!

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