On this day in history….30th March 1964

On this day in history : 30th March 1964 – Pitched battles are fought in the seaside resort of Clacton-on-Sea, Essex – between gangs of rival ‘Mods’ and ‘Rockers’….

‘Clacton Disturbances’. A photograph of a group of Mods near the seafront at Clacton-on-Sea, Essex on 30 March 1964 – Image Credit: National Science and Media Museum – Photographer: C. Smith – Mirrorpix

At least that is how the Press conveyed it at the time…. All out rioting and warfare between two groups hell-bent on killing each other…. The Mods, in their sharp suits and parkas, riding on their scooters against the leather-clad Rockers, roaring around on their motorbikes…. But just how bad was it really…?

It was the Easter weekend – Clacton Council had gone to great lengths to attract the youngsters – who had money in their pockets to burn…. They laid on attractions – Freddy and the Dreamers were playing the Blue Lagoon on the Pier, Shane Fenton and the Fentones were booked for the Princess Theatre and the Westcliff Hotel was the venue for Johnny Pilgrim and the Classics….

Freddie and the Dreamers performing in the film ‘Seaside Swingers’ – Public domain

Large campsites had been organised in anticipation of the vast crowds expected to descend on the town for the weekend….

Good Friday….and a trickle of young people began to arrive…. It wasn’t long before word got out that Clacton was the place to be…. By Saturday afternoon a steady stream was arriving from all around, including London…. On Saturday evening around 1,200 watched Freddie and the Dreamers – it was then that the first ‘aggro’ kicked off…. Fists flew, bottles were thrown, batons swung and the boot put in…. But the police were on hand and soon stepped in to separate the two groups….only for themselves to become the target…. No matter how much the two warring tribes detested each other – they were both united in that they hated the police more….

1960s Scooter Mania! – Image credit: Paul Townsend via Flickr

The fighting continued into the night but stopped around dawn…. However, just after breakfast-time things erupted again when someone decided to smash the windows of the Pavilion…. Extra police had to be drafted in….

During Sunday afternoon a crowd of around 1,000 gathered in the Pier area….dozens of arrests were made but the police maintained control and the crowd began to disperse…. By Monday there was still the odd skirmish but on the whole things had calmed down….

This was not quite how the National Press portrayed it…. Some reports suggested the town had been practically obliterated…. An enquiry was held by the Council; out of the thousands of youths who had descended on Clacton for the weekend there were just 60 arrests….only 12 of these ended in prosecution – with fines amounting to a combined £243…. The damage inflicted on the town by the rampaging ‘yobs’ totalled up to £213….and the police emphasised that they were never out of control of the situation….

(Hastings) – Image credit: Phil Sellens via Flickr

On this day in history….27th March 1963

On this day in history : 27th March 1963 – The Beeching Report is published….signalling the end for approximately one-third of Britain’s rail network and the loss of thousands of jobs….

Dr. Richard Beeching, physician and engineer, was recruited by the government to make Britain’s railways profitable again…. He left his very successful career at ICI to do so….

Dr. Richard Beeching – Image credit: James via Flickr

Beeching’s report, entitled ‘The Reshaping of British Railways’ declared large parts of the network were uneconomic and underused…. Only half of the railway system carried enough traffic to cover the cost of operating it…. Beeching recommended axing 6,000 miles of track – including hundreds of branch lines – and the closure of 2,363 stations, with the loss of tens of thousands of jobs…. He argued improved bus services would replace trains and placed an emphasis on faster rail links between cities…. At the time the railway network was running at a loss of £140m per year; Beeching claimed his axing of services would make a net saving of £18m per year…. He stated the first closures would likely be made in the coming autumn, he predicted the loss of 70,000 jobs and fare increases of at least 10% in London….

Closure of railway between Aviemore & Forres (via Dava) and Aviemore & Craigellachie on 18 October 1965, issued by British Rail
Image credit: mikeyashworth via Flickr

This did not make Dr. Beeching a popular man…. Pressure groups throughout the Country formed, launching campaigns to try and save their railway lines…. Although he had said cuts were to be made as soon as possible it was actually a very slow process…. In 1965 Beeching published a second report – reiterating the conclusions from the first report….

The closures began to pick up at a much faster pace during the mid 1960s…. By the time the reshape had finally finished Beeching’s axe had chopped 2,128 stations and 67,700 jobs….

The images below show a train in the station at Cranleigh, which would have been the nearest station to us here in Dunsfold – and some scenes from the now defunct Guildford to Horsham line…. As you can see, in some places such as Bramley, original features of some of the stations can still be seen….. It is in fact now a very a pleasant trail used by walkers and cyclists….

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On this day in history….25th March 1969

On this day in history : 25th March 1969 – Newly married John Lennon and Yoko Ono begin their ‘bed-in’ at the Hilton in Amsterdam – to convey a message of Peace to the World….

Dutch National Archives – Public domain

John and Yoko had married five days before; they knew only too well that their ‘tying the knot’ would cause much interest amongst the media and public – and so decided to use this publicity to promote world peace…. War was raging in Vietnam at the time and the Cold War was ongoing….

Their idea for a ‘bed-in’ was inspired by the ‘sit-ins’ often used by protesters….literally sitting in an establishment or outside it to cause obstruction – until their demands are met or they are forcibly removed….

The couple booked into the Honeymoon Presidential Suite (Room 702) of the Hilton and invited the world’s Press to join them everyday, for a week, between 9am and 9pm….

At first the Press had probably been expecting to find John and Yoko making love…. Controversy had surrounded the release of their album ‘Two Virgins’ in November 1968…. Both had posed naked on the cover and had caused outrage…. So much so, that EMI refused to distribute it….other distributors were found for both the UK and US but the album had to be sold in a plain brown wrapping…. As for the title, that came about as the couple felt they were ‘two innocents in a world gone mad’….

Image credit : Vinylmeister via Flickr

So the Press may have been a little disappointed to find John and Yoko sitting up in bed wearing pyjamas….in John’s words ‘like angels’…. Above their heads were signs reading ‘Hair Peace’ and ‘Bed Peace’ – when asked about the ‘hair’ John replied that they both intended to grow their hair even longer for the Peace Cause….and that everybody should do the same…. He also added that the world needed to laugh more…. When questioned as to why Amsterdam his answer was simple “it could have been anywhere really”….

Dutch National Archives – Public domain

John and Yoko flew to Vienna to give a press conference on the 31st of March….a further bed-in was arranged. The original intention was to hold it in New York – but because John had a cannabis conviction from the previous year he was denied access to the US…. So instead it was decided to hold it at the Sheridan Oceanus Hotel in the Bahamas…. John and Yoko arrived on the 24th of May 1969 – but because of the intense heat after just one night the couple left for Montreal. Here they set themselves up at the Queen Elizabeth Hotel and invited the Canadian Broadcasting Company to conduct interviews from their room….. They received a very mixed reaction from the American Press….

Dutch National Archives – Public domain

On this day in history….19th March 1965

On this day in history : 19th March 1965 – An article is published in the Tailor and Cutter magazine asking the Rolling Stones to start wearing ties – to save the tie makers from financial ruin….

The Rolling Stones at Amsterdam Airport Schiphol – 1964

“With position comes responsibility. It is a thought we recommend to the Rolling Stones…. We would urge pop stars everywhere to give at least passing consideration to the financial straits in which the manufacturers are likely to find themselves if the next generation goes eternally open-necked”…. ~ Tailor and Cutter magazine….

Mick Jagger responded with the quip ~ “The trouble with the tie is that it could dangle in the soup”….

Taylor and Cutter was a dedicated magazine for the tailoring world and had been started by a passionate, wild haired and bearded Scotsman named John Williamson in 1866…. The first edition of the publication demanded better working conditions for the craftsman of the industry….

Williamson moved to London later that same year and saw there was an opportunity for a regular publication….communicating current trends and technical information to the tailoring community and its associated trades…. Two publications were launched ~ ‘The Tailor’ and ‘The Cutter’ ~ covering news from the world of tailoring, pictures of the latest fashions and creations, articles and advertisements – from tailor’s chalk to cloth merchants…. Williamson launched his magazines in September 1866 with the financial backing of wealthy benefactor Angelica Patience Fraser…. Soon the two publications merged into one….

Via Wikimedia – A file donated by Nordiska Museet as part of the Europeana Fashion Collaboration – Public domain

With the belief that tailors should strive to better themselves Williamson wrote in 1869…. “Our mission is to put a superior class of literature dealing with the science and art of the trade into the hands of every tailor”…. From 1884 a separate journal for women’s tailoring was published….

By the 1960s men’s attire had become far more casual….suits, collars and ties tending to be kept for the office and formal occasions…. An even bigger threat to the tie being the popularity of the polo neck and the leisure shirt…. Ready to wear, off the peg tailoring meant there became a large drop in readership of Tailor and Cutter…. So it was in 1972 that the final edition was printed…. Meanwhile the tie still has its place in nearly every man’s wardrobe….

1960s Neckties – Made of silk or Dacron polyester…. Image credit: CG Hughes via Flickr

On this day in history….12th March 1969

On this day in history : 12th March 1969 – Paul McCartney marries US photographer Linda Eastman at Marylebone Registry Office….

Linda McCartney – Image courtesy: Kristine via Flickr

Paul and Linda had first met on the 15th of May 1967, in Soho nightclub ‘Bag O’ Nails’…. Linda was in the UK to take photographs for a book called ‘Rock and Other Four-Letter Words’…. A few days later she met him again at a photo shoot of the Beatles….but was soon afterwards to return home to the States and her own life with young daughter, Heather – from a previous marriage…. Paul, meanwhile, was to become engaged to long-term girlfriend, Jane Asher…. However, a year later, in May 1968 the pair met up again in New York – and Paul invited Linda and her daughter to London…. A romance was to blossom….

Photo credit: Spudgun67 CC BY-SA 4.0

The wedding was supposed to be a secret – but these things have a habit of leaking out…. Even though the registry office had only been booked the day before reporters and photographers were waiting outside it, in the rain, from 7am…. So were the fans….hundreds of them, many visibly distraught…. Paul was the last bachelor Beatle….their teenage dreams of becoming Mrs Paul McCartney shattered forever….img_2552

The couple arrived at 10am, entering the building via a side door to avoid the crowds; the other members of the Beatles did not attend…. Paul wore a dark suit, with a floral shirt and yellow kipper tie….whilst Linda wore a fawn coloured dress with a yellow coat…. Heather carried a posy of freesias….

The ceremony was delayed for an hour…. Paul’s brother, Michael, who was best man and acting as a witness, was travelling down from Birmingham – but his train had broken down…. On arriving in London he headed to the registry office assuming he was too late – but the wedding party had waited for him…. The other witness was the Beatles’ assistant, Mal Evans….

After the ceremony the newly wed Mr and Mrs McCartney made their way down the steps to their waiting car….throwing freesias to the crowd as they went….