NOSTALGIA: '˜I bought heap of scrapÂ '“Â a car '“ from Portsmouth bombsite'
Today, artists exhibit their talentsÂ in the now-enclosed arches along Broad Street, Old Portsmouth, butÂ in days gone byÂ they could show their work in the open air on the walkway above.Â
Passers-by could not fail to see the work on show, whereas todayÂ people have to make an effort to view paintings and other art worksÂ by going inside their workshops down below.
This is a scene from 1955 when, inÂ fine weather, many artists put their works out hoping to sell a picture to finance their next piece.Â Perhaps the open air gallery idea could be reintroduced?
'¢Â My article on old cars sent Edwin Amey back to the early fifties when he learntÂ to drive in an Austin 12/4 Ascot,Â number plate COT 4. It belonged to aÂ Southdown bus driver who let him borrow it for 10Â shillings an hour so his father could teach him. He says he can still recall the smell of leather and oil.
Edwin bought a 1937 Standard Flying 9 in 1956. Being ignorant of cars he took a mechanic with him for technical advice.Â Believe it or not Edwin purchased the car from a bomb site dealer in St Paul's Road, Southsea, for Â£115.Â
Edwin says: '˜I then had many misadventures with this heap of scrap during my term of ownership. On one occasion I was driving along Copnor Road in the rain when the wiper stopped working.Â I could operate it by hand because the motor was on the inside of the windscreen.
'˜WhileÂ leaning forward to do this, the driving seat broke loose and fell backwards leaving me hanging on and trying to stop the car from a squat position.
'˜On inspection I found the floor was wood on a metal chassis and completely rotten. The seat had been attached with wood screws which had pulled out. When I pulled the back seat squab forward to access the internal luggage space I found myself looking at the road and back axle, the floor was gone.
'˜Dual filament bulbs hadn't been invented so dipped beam lights were achieved by a solenoid tilting the whole lamp. Again, this usually stopped working as soon as it got wet.'
A classic case of '˜would you buy a second hand car from this man?' I think Edwin, especially on a bomb site!
'¢Â Thanks to Dave TomlinÂ of Havant for sending me theÂ scene in Drayton looking east towards Farlington, perhaps in the 1940s. The New Inn, on the left in the distance, did a good trade until about 10Â years ago when it closed and is now aÂ restaurant.
The car in the foreground,Â turning left out of Lower Drayton Lane, looks like it will hitÂ the van about to turn right down the lane. The buses heading west are much narrower than today's vehicles.Â