Bad Traffic Lights

It’s strange to imagine a world without traffic lights, as they have now become a necessity in keeping our busy roads safe and less chaotic.  Before traffic lights, police controlled the flow of traffic using hand signals.  The world’s first traffic light was installed in London in December 1868.  It as a gas-lit signal operated manually by a policeman.  Unfortunately this model had limited success, as less than a month later it exploded after it was implemented, injuring its operator. The more modern electric traffic light was developed in 1912…

Gunner Sydney Bax: Wedding

A member of an old Bromley family was married at St John’s, Eden Park, on Saturday, when the bridegroom was Mr Sidney Bax (now Gunner, R.A.), eldest son of Mr and Mrs S. Bax, of The Cottage, 11 Upper Park Road, Bromley, and the bride , Miss Gwendoline Prior, second eldest daughter of Mr and Mrs W. Prior, of 338 Upper Elmers End Road, Beckenham.  The Rev. W. J. Berry, M.A., officiated, and appropriate music was played before and after the ceremony, the hymn, “O Perfect Love,” being sung during…

Complaints about Food Waste, 1941

Looks like complaints about food waste is not a new phenomenon.  Although it seems comical now, this complaint printed in the Bromley & District newspaper in February 1941 shows a real disgust at the thought of people wasting their unwanted sandwiches! Coats Off I dunno. Some people don’t realise there is a war on. Three times a week somebody leaves a packet of fresh sandwiches in a public convenience in Sidcup.  On the floor, too – so they are to all intents spoiled. We journalists (hum!) like to weave stories…

Squadron-Leader Barrie Heath

Born in Warwickshire in 1916, Squadron Leader Barrie Heath was a son of Mr G.R. Heath.  He saw active service in 1940 with No. 611 Squadron RA, flying in the Spitfire IIa P7883 “Grahame Heath”, which had been donated by his father in memory of his  brother Grahame, who had died in service in the first world war. It was in this Spitfire that Heath fought in the Battle of Britain, for which he received his medal. A memory of him, written on the 611 Squadron website, noted that he…

Who was Lord Woolton?

Frederick James Marquis, was an English Businessman and politician, born and raised in Lancashire. During World War two Woolton was one of a number of businessmen (including Sir Andrew Duncan, Lord Leathers, Oliver Lyttelton, and P. J. Grigg) who became became non-party ministers, brought into government to help with the war effort. In April 1940, Woolton was appointed Minister of Food, and established the rationing system, generally regarded as a success. He maintained food imports from America, kept prices down and organised a programme of free school meals. At the beginning of the…

Dr Kenneth Edwin Tapper

Awarded the George Medal Dr. Kenneth E. Tapper, O.B.E, Medical Officer of Health for Bromley, and head of the A.P.R. Casualty Services, has been awarded the George Medal for bravery during air raids. On many occasions he has crawled under wreckage to search for and give treatment to injured casualties pinned down by debris. When people were buried beneath the wreckage of a German aeroplane and two houses, Dr. Tapper gave medical aid to the victims while large unexploded bombs were removed.  He has shown great gallantry in his efforts…

Don’t Delay – install an Incendiary Bomb Detector today, 1941

London had suffered 57 days of non-stop bombing from the Luftwaffe in 1940 – it was relentless. There must have been many bombs that failed to explode, so there must have been a ready made market for such a device. This advert for an Incendiary Bomb Detector appeared in the local Bromley Times newspaper in July 1941. Incendiary Bomb Detector Incendiary Bombs can be rendered non-effective If they are Dealt with Promptly This can be done if you install a detector. Many Installations completed – automatic – inexpensive DON’T DELAY…

Mooney & Cooney

The Canadian soldiers and airmen were very popular with the girls of the area . I don’t know whether the girls are ‘snapping up’ the boys or the boys are ‘snapping up ‘ the girls. There were a lot of such marriages during the war years. Captain John Hodgson Mooney was born in 1914.  He was later Lieutenant-Colonel, E.D.,C.D. of Royal Regiment of Canadian Artillery & Canadian Army Intelligence Corps.  He died in 2000. Mollie (sometimes spelt Molly) Eileen Cooney was born on the 4th December 1920.  After their marriage…

Housekeeping in War-time Britain

Queen Elizabeth, consort of George VI the King of the United Kingdom (and mother of Queen Elizabeth II), visited the Ministry of Food on the 30th May 1941, where she was met by Lord Woolton who showed her a demonstration of food cooking, food for use in English homes under rationing and the “Planning of Meat Rationing.” During the visit, Her Majesty was given a demonstration of how potato pastry was made, and explained that no fat was used in the recipe. The Hairy Bikers have a recipe for this…