Winding the clock back.
A visit to the Goodwood Revival Meeting.
Without the aid of a time machine I was transported directly back to 1948 recently! I had lashed out on a pair of tickets for the Goodwood Revival meeting down in East Sussex and booked a nearby campsite based on some good feedback on a camping web site - New House Farm in East Dean should you ever need a minimalist camp site close to Goodwood. For those unaware of the Revival, it celebrates the glorious years of the Goodwood motor racing circuit from the 1940’s through to the 60’s. There is classic car racing, fly pasts by historic aircraft, static displays and the great attraction of joining the biggest fancy dress party on the planet! Of the 130,000 plus crowd, roughly 75% were dressed in period costume, from the glamour of the Forties and Military uniforms right through to Mods, Rockers and Hippies.
We took the Carawagon to act as our base and my1948 Land Rover on a trailer to fulfil the role of daily driver to enter the event. Pre1973 cars are allowed to park in the car park closest to the entrance and, as one would expect, the car park itself probably has the World’s biggest collection of classic cars to drool over, including several other Series 1 Land Rovers all in far smarter condition than mine which still looks as though it has just driven out of a Peak District farmyard! Our five mile drive from campsite to venue was through delightful Sussex lanes and naturally most of the other traffic was classic as well. As the queue built up I was painfully aware that we were right behind a Series 1 of another variety - a 1961 3.8 E Type Jag and early Land Rover brakes being what they are I decided to keep a respectful distance behind!
Once inside Goodwood, the attention to detail is such that you truly believe you are in a different era. We were approached by a ‘Spiv’ selling nylons and ‘Artists’ photographs. He was soon chased off by a ‘Bobby’! Workmen had dug up a bit of road and were sitting around drinking tea and reading the paper with no hint of high viz or hard hat and a group of evacuee children walked past clutching their gas masks. A Spitfire and Hurricane flew over at an alarming height as we admired a group of ‘60’s Scooters parked outside an authentic recreation of the first ever Tesco.
Land Rover interest was large with a few on static display, but more put to work hauling trailers around the site to empty the waste bins. Two of these were remarkably original unrestored 107 inch pickups. Another was an 86 inch Series 1. All were driven by men in suitable costume to represent 1950’s workmen - heavy corduroy trousers, braces, a checked shirt, shabby old hat and often smoking a pipe. They had to have their wits about them to dodge the ‘Rockers’ - both male and female, cruising around on fifties and sixties motor bikes.
Best Landy job surely went to Richard Beddall driving his early 1948 Land Rover ‘KBP 747’ who was standing guard in the pits to tow stricken race cars back to the paddock. It clearly took patience and skill to negotiate a large crowd with a million quids worth of broken vintage race car on the end of his tow rope!
So authentic was the experience that I felt compelled to find out more about rural life in those immediate post war days. I emailed my Uncle John, now happily retired in Canada. John Burrows was manager of Clyde Higgs Dairy Farm near Stratford in 1948 and I remember him telling me they bought one of the first Land Rovers from the local dealer and having seen just how useful the Land Rover must have been I wondered what they did before its existence.
John explained all;
“Before the arrival of our Land Rover in 1948 supplies for the outdoor milking bails, fuel for the tractors and all the other things needed for running the 9 farms was delivered in my Austin 7 van itself a retired milk delivery van. It only had one seat which left quite a lot of space for goods. Quite often it needed to be started with the starting handle - especially on cold mornings! If the terrain was impassable due to snow or mud then I relied on the services of one of the (also new in 1948) Ferguson T20 tractors to take me and the supplies up on a trailer. The Land Rover became a service vehicle for all of the farm machinery and I'm sure was grossly overloaded with tools of every description as well as petrol, paraffin, diesel and oil for field maintenance on the 2000 acre farm.”
I’ve checked - It’s long gone!
White is a very dangerous colour to wear in an old Land Rover, but a good clean out the week before ensured no blemishes!
Richard Beddall prepares to tow in a stricken E.R.A. behind his early 80 inch.