Anniversaries all round, a diamond look back to 1963

This is not only incredibly my 750th post on this here little part of the interweb Southern Railway related blogosphere, but more importantly today marks the 60th and Diamond Wedding anniversary of my dear Mum and Dad.

One of my favourite pictures of my Mum, in happier health times, and my Dad, celebrating his 80th Birthday on the Bluebell Railway in dining style, five years ago.

The last 18 months has been a huge challenge for all the family due to my Mum’s health, thankfully she fought off a frightening and emotional life threatening low point in time, and she is now being wonderfully looked after by the excellent and dedicated staff at the Hulcott Nursing Home,  although her ongoing condition is still an emotional challenge to us.  Dad has coped admirably with great compassion, strength and dignity to the change of life routines that has inevitably evolved.

I offer them both my most hearty congratulations, love and also thanks for sticking with it and coping with bringing up myself and my older Brother. Also of course it was Dad and his upbringing in Salisbury, where my Granddad worked on the railway, that gave me the interest in all things Southern Railway.

So in addition to the joining in matrimony of my parents Ken and Wendy, 1963 was a notable year for a number of other things, I won’t go into the politics of the time, dreams, or assassinations (as I definitely can’t remember where I was at the time as I didn’t exist!) however the following are railway related:

  • The year started on Monday 1st January when the British Railways Board took over responsibility for the running of the railways from the British Transport Commission’s Railway Executive.
  • On the same day all the Southern Region west of Salisbury, was transferred to the British Railways Western Region for the final time. This was really the first nail in the coffin of the old Southern Railway route to Exeter, North Devon and Cornwall.
  • 1963 also started with the worst winter conditions since 1946/7 and I am sure many of you will have the footage of railway locomotives stuck in the snow across the network. For example on the 8th February snow totally blocked the old Southern main line route at Meldon and no doubt many other place over that period too.
  • The 27th March saw the publication of the infamous Dr Beeching “Reshaping British Railways” Report as I discussed in my post earlier this year here.
  • On Saturday 31st March the Railway Clearing House (RCH) was disbanded after 120 years and its functions and staff transferred to the Chief Accountant’s Department of the British Railways Board. The RCH had been apportioning railway receipts between the British railway companies since 1842.
  • A more sinister event took place on 8th August with what has become known as the “Great Train Robbery” (although not so great for Jack Mills the driver), I used to  drive past the farm they used as their initial hide out every day to and from my then place of work.
  • Metropolitan Railway Loco No.1, that so successfully returned steam to the UndergrounD ten years ago  to celebrate the the Underground’s 150th Anniversary, was originally withdrawn from service in 1963 having taken part in the centenary celebrations earlier in that year.
  • In November the Bluebell Railway was just 4 years old when the line from Haywards Heath to Horsted Keynes was closed leaving them without a connection to the British Rail Network right up until ten years ago when the northern extension to East Grinstead was triumphantly reopened.

Finally: The Beatles released their first album “Please please me” and gained their first Number One with “From me to you” and later that year had Number One singles with “She Loves you” and “I want to hold your hand” all perhaps very apt for my parents starting their new stage of life together!

So to Mum (although she will not be able to read this) and Dad, I say with love, congratulations and many heartfelt thanks!

To regular readers of this blog, I thank you for your time taken to read my ramblings over the last 750 posts, I hope you found them to be informative and sometimes entertaining regarding all things Southern Railway.
I also thank you for the comments and messages received, I always try to respond to as many of them as I can.

With the quantity of posts continuing to increase, the menu / category structure has continued to evolve to make finding relevant, all things Southern Railway, content easier to find, as well the original menu items such as Workbench Witterings and Talking Stock and newer menus including  model news, model reviews, history and book reviews I have also now indexed them further to help you find Modelling Tips and Techniques topics that might be of interest to you. If in doubt you can also use the search facility, or click here for any random post, you never know what you might find.

9 thoughts on “Anniversaries all round, a diamond look back to 1963”

  1. Lovely idea Graham. All the best to your Dad.

    I would add, if I may, I started my 5 year Fitting Apprenticeship at Eastleigh Locomotive Works on Monday 2nd September 1963. The weather this week reminded me of my first week on the railway since it was warm and sunny athen too. I particularly remember mainland O1 30199 gently moulding away in the scrap line…


  2. Congratulations to your Mum and Dad and best wishes to you and to them on this special day. Congratulations and thanks to you on reaching your 750th post. I, like many others, value this website highly.

  3. grahammuz – A railway modeller with a keen insterest in all things Southern Railway especially the 1946 to 1949 period. I can often be seen on the exhibition circuit with my Layout Fisherton Sarum or assiting MIke Wild the Editor of Hornby Magazine with his layouts at shows. I am also long time member of the High Wycombe and District Model Railway Society
    grahammuz says:

    Thank you to all whom left best wishes to my parents, they have had a wonderful day.

  4. Moving words about your parents, best wishes to them. Thank you for your inspiring, informative posts and also keeping in touch with all things Southern. Regards Ian

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