This is a picture of my dad and two of his pals and I guess was taken in the summer of 1946 when he was fourteen year old.
I like the picture, it has a swagger and a jauntiness about it, it looks like three boys on holiday and off to the beach. My dad, in the middle, has spade and his friend on the right has a metal bucket, the tall boy on the left has a cricket bat which suggests beach cricket to me. I always wonder who took the picture, it isn’t posed but is a walking action picture.
These were surely days of optimism with a country led by a Labour Government that had been elected in the summer of 1945 with a landslide majority and a promise to make everything better and which had embarked on a radical programme of nationalisation including coal mining, electricity supply and railways.
These were the days of the new National Health Service and the Welfare State all based on the optimistic principles of socialism. And to add to all this good news the United States announced the Marshall Plan to pay for the reconstruction of Europe and that meant over three billion dollars was on the way to the United Kingdom to rebuild its bombed-out cities and its shattered economy.
So where were they? The picture isn’t dated accurately or gives any specific location, but it does give a couple of clues.
In 1945 my dad lived with his family in the town of Rushden in Northamptonshire where his parents ran a corner shop. The nearest seaside to Rushden was North Norfolk and I think that this picture was taken somewhere near the seaside resort of Hunstanon, about eighty miles away and easily reached by a Midlands Railway train to King’s Lynn and then a change to Hunstanton on the Great Eastern network.
The properties on the left of the picture certainly have a north Norfolk look about them. But then again they could be South Lincolnshire, I am open to being corrected.
Dad is wearing a sleeveless cricket sweater, his shirt sleeves are rolled up above his elbows as they always were and he is wearing socks with his plimsolls. Dad always wore socks with his plimsolls. This is him on holiday in Sorrento in Italy in 1976.