Manor in star role as KESR remembers the fab forties


By Geoff Courtney

The fashions of the 1940s will link up with rail travel and music from the era – plus a very special guest – as the Kent & East Sussex Railway goes back in time on May 20-21.

Works visit: No. 7822 Foxcote Manor will bring main line glamour to the Kent & East Sussex Railway on May 20-21, but this photograph of the GWR-designed, BR-built 4-6-0 at Wolverhampton Stafford Road works on July 11, 1958, shows the more mundane side of the steam locomotive era. J DAVENPORT – NORMAN PREEDY ARCHIVE

The occasion is the railway’s annual Fabulous 40s’ gala, an event where nostalgia will rule, memories will flood back for visitors of a certain age, and children will experience what may be their first ever image of life in Britain during a decade that started in despair and ended in hope.

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Weather permitting, there will be a Spitfire display, bringing to the skies of Kent that familiar sound of a Rolls-Royce Merlin V12 engine, while on terra firma the railway’s Tenterden station will feature stalls selling authentic 1940s’ clothes, the group My Favourite Things singing popular songs from the era, and dancing by the Cinque Ports Lindy Hoppers.

At the station there will also be a mock-up of an RAF operations room with a Battle of Britain plotting table, Air Raid Precautions teams providing an insight into life on the home front, and an Air Sea Rescue display showing how air crews forced to ditch in the English Channel were saved.

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