Friday, 7 June 2013

Very Vintage Times

Goodness, there's so much to catch up on reporting here on this old blog.  It seems the re-enactment season has started proper and we've been to a handful of events already.  I'm grouping together in this post some great vintage themed events we've enjoyed in recent weeks.

Getting things started, we headed through the beautiful countryside to the Kent And East Sussex Railway which is a preserved steam railway and somewhere we've been many times, but never to the 1940's event.  It's fairly low key when compared with the huge events at places like Pickering and Haworth but very quaint, nonetheless.

We decided to ride on the train.  I've actually never ridden on this line before and it does go through some pretty countryside. Mr HenHouse went for his rather dashing flight sergeant's RAF uniform.

I was posing with my eyes shut for some unknown reason!  It was still a little chilly so out came Ferdinand Fox and this dress which is a lovely late 1930's velvet number with a silk lining so is quite warm.

The Munchkin was seized upon in order that he could be evacuated, and given a name label and gas mask.

At the other end of the line, there were some really good and interesting Home Front displays.  I enjoyed chatting to this lady about her vintage knitting.  I admired her vintage embroidered apron which had been made from old flour sacks (the writing was still on the reverse).

When we go to these re-enactment events, there is nearly always a display of dancing: jive, jitterbug, lindy hop, call it what you will (all different styles of dancing but broadly similar from the 1940's era and thereabouts).  Mr HenHouse and I always watch with interest and have wanted to join in.  Well, finally, a few weeks ago, this all changed.  We went to our first jive dancing lesson.  It's an exercise in concentration to learn the steps and good exercise.  The music is great, the folks fun and friendly and we're making steady progress, I think.

Our group held a tea dance on Sunday and we went along.  I was brave enough to get up and join in the beginner's session they ran and afterwards, a foolish kindly gentleman took pity on me and asked me to dance several times.  I loved it and now have the bug.  I think his toes are still intact!

Spin those records, DJ!  Remember these?

Rewinding to the day before, we took part in a vintage event of a different kind.  My grandfather's family firm was in the tv and wireless business and indeed, my Dad started work in this area when he left school back in the '50s.  As such, and as my parents were staying with us last weekend, I thought my Dad would enjoy to a trip to the British Vintage Television and Wireless Museum and we were invited to join in their annual garden party.

The Victorian house is packed to the rafters with tvs and wirelesses.  The Munchkin was intrigued.

My Dad enjoyed chatting with other people there, all dotty about anything tv and radio, and talked about his experiences back in the '50s and '60s.

Even the garden has many sheds which are also home to many more tv and radio sets.

The Mr, Munchkin and I went along in our 1940's finest, which seemed to please a lot of the other guests there.  The founder of the museum, Gerry Wells, who is now in his 80s, was kind enough to come and introduce himself to us, say how thrilled he was that we had attended in our vintage garb, and gave me a copy of his book to read.  What a true gentleman.  If you are interested in this sort of thing, I highly recommend a visit.

WEll, I must love you and leave you, readers, as I pack for this weekend's vintage event.  It's all go!  I hope you have a good one, whatever you happen to get up to...



  1. Yes Gerry certainly is a gentleman! Do you know the story of how he started - I expect you do now you have his book.......
    One vintage thing I can actually do, and have been doing well before the word 'vintage' came into being, since I was about nine in fact. I can Jive and I can Tango and have the medals to prove it, passing with Honours!
    Julie xxxxxxxxxxx

    1. I remember you doing this post - sad to say Gerry Wells 1929 to 22nd December 2014

  2. Beautiful! I'm SO pleased that the 1940's events season has begun. We are away to GCR this weekend, I can't wait. I love your dress, and the shoes; gorgeous. Hope you have a fabulous, vintage filled, weekend xx

  3. I love when you post about these events, Hen. I think it looks like a LOT of fun and I wish they did this in the US. Well, someone must be doing it, but I haven't ever seen one. I hope you have a nice weekend. :)

  4. Thank you Hen I love when you show us these events. It is so interesting and all the vintage items are wonderful. Love.......

  5. The sun is out, ALWAYS a great start to the weekend! I think it's great you're learning to jive, my uncle taught me on a trip to Butlins! There's a great article in this months Coast, the Hemingways are helping to develop the first ever heritage theme park, I kept thinking of you as I was reading it! :) x

  6. You've been busy Hen! Looks like great fun :) x

  7. Love reading about all these events. You look very elegant in your lovely dress.
    Liz @ Shortbread & Ginger

  8. That looks like so much fun and is a living history lesson for the younger generations. I'm not a dancer at all, two left feet as they say, so I admire your willingness to learn a new skill!

  9. A fab post as always Hen,love your hat and the wonderful lady knitting. We have been to a few of these weekends in Yorkshire and loved them, so much fun!
    Lots of love

  10. Lovely pics !!!! If only I could get my husband to go on dancing lessons with me !!!

    Have a nice weekend!! :o)!!!

  11. I really enjoy reading your blog. This post was really interesting, and the pictures are beautiful.

  12. great post! The museum looks doubt you have been to the Bakelite Museum? (have we had this conversation!) Two long days in Newark at the Antiques fair & I am done for!! Have a great weekend. x

  13. Hi, like you, I am interested in the home front (and have been for many years) and really enjoy seeing your adventures back to the '40s! Have you read Nella Last's diaries? There are three books and I have just finished the second (I've read them all before and just had to again), they give a great insight into the life of a 1940s housewife. I also have the dvd 'Housewife, 49' which is brilliant too.
    Mandy x

  14. Surely that's not a real/deceased fox! Makes me shiver to think of it.....
    My late father taught me to jive, love it, but don't do it any more for various reasons. Mainly because my other half, who used to wear that uniform for real, 'for Queen and Country' as they say, isn't into dancing.

  15. Thank you for posting about these wonderful re-enactment events. I live in the US and find it so charming that these take place abroad! I would love to attend one day!

  16. Your stories are so inspiring, and it must be quite exhausting travelling to all these shows. It is wonderful seeing the pictures of all the wonderful things you see and do. The Mr does look very dashing in his RAF uniform. I always feel slightly sorry for the poor Tommy whose uniform, although extremely practical, isn't quite so handsome. How long do you think you can keep the Munchkin interested in dressing up? He does look very smart in his 40s clothes.

  17. What a fun family you all are! And gorgeous. I must say "Your shoes are wonderful" -- I hope they are comfortable.
    I think you can skip going to the gym for a while.

  18. Goodness you pack such a lot into your time Hen - all sounds great fun and well done for giving the dancing a go. Have you have ever come across that vintage shoes site in America? I found it the other day and could not believe the range of shoes - all in mint condition and still in their boxes!
    Best wishes

  19. I adore your blog. it makes me so happy! Wish I could pop around for a cup of tea but I'll have to be content with looking from afar. XXXX

  20. Great pictures and my Dad would love that museum too! Friends were asking a few days ago if we would like to go to swing dance lessons with them. We are 53 to 70 so maybe these oldies can learn a new trick. THE dance here in South Carolina USA is called the shag which I know you all over there find quite hilarious----or shocking?

  21. Gerry Wells is a hero of mine! He has had such a fascinating life and I'd love to visit his museum. We're all big vintage radio fans and use them regularly. I even brought Husband a comms radio from a WWII Spitfire last year as a surprise treat! That is treated with great reverence in our house!

  22. Sounds a really fun weekend, people put so much effort in and its so nice to see.

  23. I think I've started to forget that there's a modern London out there after reading your blog Hen! :D lol Just think how much your Munchkin has learned from your adventures. :)


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