Our Under Ground Theatre puts on a season of 4 films with railway connections presented by a railway enthusiast … we are lucky in Eastbourne …
... the town is relatively small yet large enough to accommodate people with lots of interesting ideas. We have other theatres, cinemas and event arenas … The Under Ground puts on a variety of smaller and select events …
We were also probably the first ‘seaside town’ … in June 1780, the children of George III (1738 – 1820) spent their summer holiday at the Round House, near where the pier is today … the sea encroached and ‘pinched it back’! One of those children would become father to Queen Victoria. I’ll publish a post fairly soon on Eastbourne’s beginnings …
Brief Encounter (1946) B/W 86 minutes:
David Lean’s magnificent film version of a short story by Noel Coward, starring Celia Johnson and Trevor Howard … being filmed just north of Lancaster in north-west England.
Mike at a Bit About Britain – wrote a post on Carnforth Station – the locals and public insisted the iconic stop be refurbished: now a wonderful Heritage Centre for the film. See links to his ‘Brief Encounter’ post, and to the main Heritage Centre’s site …
I had never seen the whole film … but was delighted to enjoy a 30 minute portion of the film - the romantic weepie bit made in 1945 … when necessity was the mother of invention … and when filming no-one yet had invented the term ‘health and safety’ … somewhat superfluous just after the War.
Why didn’t or haven’t they changed the name of this film … like Titty in Swallows and Amazons?!
|London and Manchester Railway 57|
Lion (LMR 57 Lion) in 1980
Filmed near Bath, but was inspired after the restoration of the narrow gauge Talylyn Railway in Wales – the world’s first heritage railway run by volunteers.
The train featured in the film is ‘LMR 57 Lion’, an engine built in 1838 – the year of Queen Victoria’s Coronation.
Oh Mr Porter! (1937) 85 minutes B/W:
This pre-War film stars Will Hay and is regarded as one of his best and funniest films. It was mainly set in Ireland (but filmed here in Hampshire).
William Porter, an inept railway worker, who due to family connections – is given the job of stationmaster at a remote and ramshackle rural Northern Irish railway station in the (fictitious) town of Buggleskelly, situated on the border with the then Irish Free State.
He is inept … yet manages to discover all sorts of strange railway practices and a gang of gun-runners – beats them all … much to the staggered amazement of the powers that be and his family.
The Great St Trinian’s Train Robbery (1966) Colour 93 minutes.
Ronald Searle drew the first St Trinian cartoons … but in 1941 had to fulfil his military career. I hadn’t realised Searle started off his satirical school drawings to ‘amuse’ two daughters of some friends he visited … he also couldn’t understand their desire to return to a boarding school!
The film was made after the actual Great Train Robbery of 1963 and parodied the technocratic ideas of the Harold Wilson government and its support of the comprehensive school system. This is the fourth film in a series of five St Trinian’s films.
It is a hair-raising fast-moving series of events … totally off- the planet in comedic terms … just so much hilarity – one is ‘bursting one’s seams’ with joy …
|The book issued with some|
of Searle's St Trinian's illustrations
When they were filming these farcical scenes – there were the odd ‘disasters’ … including one when an engine derailed – the actors, film crew etc had ‘heart attacks’ – the Army, who had been fully co-operating, said ‘no worries’ … just lifted the engine back into place – common practise in the theatre of war.
Change of size now … to Little Railways … Sherry Ellis from GoneGarden.blogspot … writes about gardens and up pops Exbury Gardens with its miniature railway … with connections to the Rothschilds who have and had much influence on British culture … their bequests to the British Museum, the Natural History Museum at Tring, now part of the main London NHM, other estates and gardens …
|"Naomi" with three carriages|
at Exbury Gardens central
TheExbury Steam Railway (at the gardens) that goes on a journey across the pond in Summer Lane Garden, along the top of the rock gardens and into the American Garden. It was built in 2000 – 2001 as an additional attraction to the gardens.
The narrow gauge tender tank locos were built specially by the Exmoor Steam Railway in Somerset. Both are members of Britain’s Great Little Railways organisation.
|It does look as though it has been|
set up beautifully ... I really wouldn't mind
being the train driver here!
Four films … links to railways, renovated stations, interesting challenging links – the Great Train Robbery in 1963, when over pounds 2.6 million (equivalent to about pounds 49 million today) was stolen from the train.
Britain's Great Little Railways … sound fun to know about and at some stage travel on … while Exbury Gardens looks to be beautiful with a fascinating history …
Perhaps you’ll be inspired to check out one or two or more of the films, visit Exbury or one of Britain's Great Little Railways … miniature versions ... and I hope have time to visit Sherryover at her blog ...
Positive Letters Inspirational Stories