Tuesday, 7 July 2009

Step Back in Time

Last week saw a lot of activity here in the HenHouse with a decidedly retro theme as we attempted to get things together to attend the Severn Valley Railway's 1940's weekend. Although we have visited many railways and have a love of all things retro and vintage, we had never put the two together so it was about time!

The Severn Valley Railway runs for approximately 12 miles through the stunning green valley of the Midlands.  We set off on Friday, staying in a fab B&B in Bewdley.  Highly recommended. Saturday morning couldn't dawn quickly enough and off we set.

Before getting any further, a shopping opportunity presented itself on the station forecourt!

I decided to arrive in style (I wish!)

The boys were ready for their journey, too.

Mr HenHouse purchased the tickets.

The Munchkin wondered where we might be going?  I don't think it'll be St. Ives this time!

More likely to be Bridgnorth at the northern end of the line?

Bewdley is the most lovely little country station.

Looks like some spivs are ready to board the train!

Oh why don't we have everyday rail stations like this anymore?

Mr HH waits for the train to arrive...

Perhaps we'll try one of these destinations another time?

I could go back here to see my parents!

Ah, here comes the train.  Behold the marvellously restored coaches.  Don't the passengers look smart?

For the well heeled, travelling in a compartment is of course, de rigeur.

Off we go!  Miles of stunning scenery fly past.  Ahhh, smell that coal fuelled smoke!

We arrive at Kidderminster station at the Southern end of the line and Mr HH visits the WH Smith's kiosk to purchase his daily read.

I am more interested in the shopping opportunities, of course, so I visit the Black Market Shop! Some of those much coveted seamed nylons perhaps?

The Home Guard are here and are keenly checking everyone's Identity Cards which along with one's gas mask, must of course, be carried at all times. 

We are minded of the need to donate any spare metal towards the war effort.

Here, we can see the air raid warden's station.  The Munchkin enjoys having a go at raising the air raid siren.

Quick, into the Anderson shelter!  Bagsy the top bunk!

For those not lucky enough to have an Anderson shelter, they might have to make do with a Morrison shelter, made under the dining room table.

If you're caught short, you'll need to visit the privy, at the end of the "dig for victory" kitchen garden.  With all the rationing, it's so important to grow whatever you can at home.

With the air raid over, it's time to relax in the sitting room.  Perhaps listen to the wireless, play the piano or have tea?  I'd rather "make do and mend" on the sewing machine, of course.

A woman's work is never done, though.

Time to travel down the line to the beautiful little station of Arley.  The war effort is in full swing but spirits are certainly not dampened.

Some people can still manage to get away in the countryside.  Perhaps in a beautiful little vintage caravan?


Well, we had such a fabulous time at the weekend.  We did our best with the outfits, mainly cobbled together from new but vintage inspired items, homemade dress and gas mask boxes.  However, there were some great stalls there selling period items and so we bought a few bits (I also bought the basket in the top photograph) and next time, we'll be even better decked out because oh yes, we certainly have the '40's bug!


  1. What a truly amazing day. You all made such an effort with your outfits and really looked the part... fantastic.
    Thanks so much for sharing your travels... I know what you mean about the 40's bug, it's catching!!! xxx

  2. Thanks for sharing such a wonderful outing. Everyone appears to have really got into the spirit of things.

  3. Wow! There's no time to get bored in your fab weekends!
    The HH family is so glamour and stylish!

  4. What a fantastic day. You all really look the part too! x

  5. how fabulous!
    thank you for sharing - I enjoyed our trip!!!
    Thank you too for the oilcloth hints...I don't think attaching it to such thin cotton tape helped much, but I will not be beaten lol, and will try again!!

  6. What a wonderful weekend. And you all looked so smart. It's lovely that so many people took part in all their finery too.
    Lots of fab photos too, they really give us a flavour of all that was on view.
    Lisa x

  7. What an absolutely fantastic day out!!
    You all looked terrific, thank you for sharing. xx

  8. Don't you all look fantastic!

    What a great trip you had.

    Victoria xx

  9. What an amazing opportunity. I bet those in the forties never imagined the enjoyment people would receive reliving what they must have seen as a difficult time - maybe it would remind me of the joy even in the difficulty. ~Kelly

    unDeniably Domestic

  10. Don't you all look marvellous?

  11. It's fabulous!!
    I am desperate to get my hands on some of that tin for planters etc!
    You all look wonderful!

  12. What a wonderful way to spend a weekend I am entirely green with envy! It looks amazing.

  13. Reading this post, with all its marvelous photographs, really shows both the pleasure of the journey and the immense care and energy that went into preparing for that train outing.

    Just amazing! Your family and many others have got such enthusiasm and the the will to make things happen.

    Bravo! xo

  14. Don't you all look the part! It looks like a fantastic day out.

    I think that it is important to never forget what our grandparents went through for the future generations and days like this are a nice way to celebrate that.

    On a slightly different note but along the same lines, my OH went to Prague on a stag weekend last week and whilst they were there, they went to a firing range. They got to fire a dozen or so real guns with real ammunition and one of the guns was a WW2 sniper rifle. They then got to fire a modern sniper to compare. My OH now has the utmost respect for the guys that fired the WW2 rifles and appreciates how much skill they must have had to do what they did. Of course, in this country you wouldn't be allowed to do something like this due to H&S! x

  15. oh my goodness - how fabulous!!

  16. is that the 1940's jitter... bug?
    you look fabulous and what an amazing event.. you certainly go to some lovely places... great post!
    warm wishes
    ginny x

  17. The joy of this post! I've enjoyed every moment, just superb! All the Henhouse family look so smart, and so 1940's, your dress is lovely Hen, you look gorgeous. I can't get over the effort that the scene setters went to, it really must have been like stepping back in time! I love the style of the 1940's, but in many ways, I'm glad I live in these times, with all the mod-cons. Though the more innocent times of the 40's seem appealing to me. And I love the way everyone wore hats! Splendid, just a truly splendid day!
    Love vanessa xxx (do you mind if i knit)

  18. Wow, what a smart looking family. Truly a great post.

  19. Amazing post Hen and you all looked AMAZING. Munchkin is probably at that age now where he'd cringe if he was told he was looked 'cute' but he did, so I'll say it anyway.
    Your week-ends always look such fun, you're such a lovely family and it's great that you share it all with us.
    Jane. x

  20. What a wonderful,fun,day! I have never been envious of a bloggers day before but, I really wish I could have been there.(the cream coat would definately have come home with me!)

  21. That looked like a fun weekend. I went on that railway many years ago when the end on the line was brand new. Then it was just a train ride!

  22. What marvellous fun that all looks! Thank you for sharing. I love your outfits....

  23. You're so entertaining!I live in Birmingham and didn't know that was on locally - I definantly would have gone but wouldn't have looked the part like you did.

  24. Wow that looks like a great weekend. (we did the Howorth 1940's weekend in May which I posted about) I loved it, We didn't dress up but I definitely will be next time, you all looked fab!

  25. How wonderful! The train trip is fun, even passing the safari park. A grand day out indeed!

  26. what a wonderful day out you all had.. love the fact that everyone made an effort to..thanks for sharing!!..xx

  27. You all looked as if you enjoyed your 1940's day out. I loved your outfits. Next time you go to the Severn Valley you'll have to pop in for a cup of tea.

  28. Oh Wow, what a great day! Thank you so much for sharing it with us, it seemed like so much fun, no wonder you have the 40's bug! Along with some really great pictures that would look amazing turned to sepia and framed, people would think you just stepped out of a time machine!
    Moe x

  29. Fantastic Hen!! Does this happen every year? I've been looking into 1940's weekends on the internet for a while now but can't find very much. I know they used to do them at Butlins but maybe it's stopped. I'm so jealous it looks like a fab day out.... so much to take in I may have to re read! :)

  30. How fab! I adore all 40's stuff so very jealous!

  31. I lived your blog today! I just LOVE the 1940's. Your weekend sure looks fun and sounds like you had a godd time. I wish they had things like that where I live. Thanks for sharing!

  32. What brilliant fun! I will certainly look out for this event if it is on again next year as I live not too far away myself. The tea set in one of the photos is the same as one I inherited from my grandma and lots of the photos remind me of her house. Thanks for five minutes escapism whilst I read your posting over a cup of tea.

  33. Ohhhh what fun. I loved looking at these photos Hen, thanks for sharing them. I particularly loved the caravan, what a beauty!

  34. Wow what a lovely posting, you had a fandabidozy time! I loved every picture, I wish they had done something like this when we lived near Bridgenorth. I would LOVE to have that little caravan in my garden! Thank you so much for letting us share your trip. Jane xxx

  35. I so enjoyed your wonderful tour!

  36. We all seem to romanticise the
    1940's don't we, and no wonder. Not sure about life with a copper and a mangle though. Me I'd prefer dinner at The Savoy and have the maid do all the hard work. Looked a fabulous weekend.

  37. Wow, what a brilliant post and I bet a lovely weekend. The photos are gorgeous and I love that old caravan (my first ever boyfriend, when I was 5 stayed in one just like it with his Grandma every weekend, I was across the way at the caravan park in a slightly more modern one with my Aunty and Uncle).

    You all looked amzing in your outfits, especially the Munchkin!!

    Sue xx

  38. Thanks for sharing an incredibly wonderful day. My, how I would have loved to have dresed up for a special event like the one you went to, looked brilliant fun :)

    Thanks for the candle cup tips, Chemistry was never my strong point lol but I shall definately give them a go, now I have to think what to sent them with, I was thinking rose, lavender. I have a thing for candles and every room, bar the children's rooms, have a vast array of candles in them ;~)


  39. Wow! You guys look amazing - right out of war time England - and I never knew such an experience/place existed! This is so cool! I'd love to do this! Can you go any time of the year? xxx

  40. love your photos!

    looks like a fun day out :-)

    Rose XXX

  41. Wow Hen don't you all look fantastic (love your hat!) The 40s weekend at the line which runs through our village is great, but the Severn Valley one looks bigger and better. Our station is a smallish one but at the end of the line (Froghall) is identical to your picture of Bewdely. One day I will treat myself to a journey all by myself down our beautiful line in peace and quiet to drink it all in!

    I'm completely hooked on the 40s thing thesedays, we were at another dance last weekend and will be off to one on my birthday in November with a big band and everything. If you and Mr Hen House fancy a great night out I can highly recommend them if there are any in your neck of the woods. We don't even dance but they're wonderful fun (usuallly some shopping opportunities too!)

    Looks like you had a great weekend, and with some gorgeous weather aswell. Thanks for sharing your lovely pictures.

  42. What an amazing day out! You all look terribly dashing in your 40's gear!

    Thanks for sharing it with us.


  43. Oh, I know that stretch of railway very well. We've never done the 1940's weekend but at one time their Thomas the Tank Engine weekends were a must when Josh was tiny. You all really looked the part - you must have had a fabulous day.


  44. Hi Hen,

    WOW!!! I just love the 40's vibe. The attention to detail is absolutely amazing. Its so nice to see the effort put in by those attending the event - must really add to the atmosphere.

    I was very excited to see you finished dress, I'd been looking forward to seeing it finished since you showed us the mid-way pics, and was hoping it would be 40's. Can I be really cheeky and ask where the pattern came from?? Really beautiful, you all looked great! (I don't have a blog yet - two very energetic little pre-schoolers and part time job don't leave much time! lsilk@btopenworld.com)


  45. Google Reader suggested I visit your blog and I'm so glad I did. I love, love, love all your colorful home decor, but I was pleasantly surprised to find this living history story. What a wonderful experience for both you and your son.

  46. Oooh, just read all about your time at this event and it sounded great! Are you going this weekend? Me and the family are, can't wait to get all dressed up!
    Laura x


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