February 2016

Club News

Gerry Thompson chaired the January meeting as Andrew was on holiday up the Amazon. Gerry welcomed our 35 members who were present plus our guest Norman Williams and our speaker. [Norman was introduced by Vincent Fosdike and has become a new member.] The Chairman’s Charity collection raised £38.66 and the raffle £32.
Gerry wished us all a Happy and Healthy New Year.  Questionnaire – moving our club forward. 27 out of 44 forms have been returned with some good ideas to consider. Secretary Dennis Evans is to analyse these for the 4th February committee and they will then be brought to the business meeting for discussion.

Treasurer Roger Davis explained that the General Fund was just below £500 hence the rise in meal cost to £18 which just pays the running costs of meal, room hire and speaker. Roger is stepping down as treasurer for health reasons and we are therefore looking for a volunteer to take over.

Jim Mulvey told us that he is re-building our website with the help of his sons. The website had more than 30,000 visits last year which comprised about half and half of individuals and the like of Google and sales groups.

Please advise news of members to almoner, hughroberts67@aol.com, tel:

01737 202243. Attendance: please notify Andrew Kellard, tel: 01737 554055.


Outings and Events – see page 3



Today:            Gerrard Thompson (our very own): Pewter

March 3rd:    

April 7th:      

May 5th:          Christine Jarvis: London Shopping

Outings and Events


Spring 2016: Jim Mulvey is offering us three outings.
Contact Jim on 01737 555974 or email jim@mulvey.uk.net

Mrs Henderson Presents matinée at the Noel Coward Theatre with optional lunch: Wednesday 16th March 2016. The coach has been cancelled due to small numbers so travel is under your own steam.

Sussex Coastal Trip with refreshments and lunch: Tuesday 19th April.

Downton Abbey Country Tour including River Cruise – no food is provided but there are lots of pubs: Tuesday 17th May.


Editorial – Ian Payne

We are all getting older and frailer. We’re still, at 44 members, a viable Probus Club but we can’t rest on our laurels. So in the absence of new younger members, it’s right that we look at a range of options for the future.

Getting older is inevitable but it’s nice sometimes to take a lighthearted look at the consequences of gradually losing one’s senses. I’ve always been shortsighted (myopia – not able to focus on distant objects) and had to permanently wear glasses. As one gets older, presbyopia sets in and the eye lens stiffens and seeing close objects becomes difficult. So I take my glasses off to read whereas Pauline who’s had perfect vision now needs to put glasses on to read and, of course, they’re always getting lost.

We both accuse each other of losing our hearing, but both convinced that our own hearing is perfect. I was driving a friend home recently when he said he was going for a hearing test the next day. I said, Pauline wants me to go for one – but I’m not going deaf, it’s just that I sometimes turn off and am not aware that I’m being spoken to. He said it’s the same with me – I’m just going for a test to satisfy the wife.

I’ve never liked the water in Coulsdon since we moved here 42 years ago – it has always tasted of chemicals. Then suddenly in November it became sweet and pleasant and has remained so. I wrote to the water company but they assured me there had been no change in the water supply. Am I losing my sense of taste or have you noticed a change in the water?

Obviously it’s all going to catch up with us eventually and we will be sans teeth, sans eyes, sans taste, sans everything.

Memories of commuting between Croydon and Coulsdon by train by Doug Elliott

In the 1960s there were a lot of electric trains still running that were built in the 1930s when the Southern were obsessed with lavatories.On the Brighton line were the following classes of sets:

“4LAV” (4 coaches, one of which had a first class and a third class lavatory)

“2BIL” (Bi-lavatory. 2 coaches, each of which had a corridor and a lavatory)

“2HAL” (Half with lavatory. 2 coaches, one of which had a corridor and a

“2NOL” (No lavatory. 2 coaches with no lavatory)                           lavatory)

The 4LAV sets included a “ladies only” compartment which I once blundered into when I boarded the train as it was moving out of East Croydon. Fortunately there was a work colleague in the compartment and she stopped the other 8 women from attacking me. This was in 1967.

There were several signalmen’s errors over the years.

We went rattling up the East Grinstead line at South Croydon before it was electrified and our train stopped with just one pair of collector shoes still on the Brighton line. The driver sheepishly immediately reversed back into South Croydon station and waited for the signalman to sort himself out.

On another occasion we ran into platform six at Purley which has no connection to the Brighton line. This time we had to wait quite a while before we could back out from the station and re-enter the correct platform.

A few times we ran on to the Quarry line which bypasses Coulsdon and meant we had to get off at Earlswood or Horley and wait for a train back. Sometimes this was intentional because of problems between Coulsdon and Redhill but once we quietly backed over the points so that the correct route into Coulsdon South could be signalled.

For decades I watched the signal go up at the end of the platform at Coulsdon South every morning until one day colour light signals appeared and the arm was left thrown on to the platform. The station staff said that it was going for scrap so I brought the battered signal arm home and put it in my shed at the bottom of the garden as a memento of the old days.Last year I donated it to the Bluebell Railway and an enthusiast bought it for seventy quid.

One day I was standing on East Croydon platform five staring at the track running rail. In a drunken stupor and being anxious to get away I waited until I got home before phoning up the station to report this serious fault. The next morning trains were being delayed whilst they re-laid the track by platform five. Later I thought thank god nothing happened before I reported the cracked rail. There were often strikes and “work to rules” in the 1970s.

One morning the platform at Coulsdon South was packed after waiting about an hour for a train when a two coach train stopped. There was much sarcastic cheering when it came in. Somebody opened a door and several people fell out and could not get back on. At East Croydon a fed-up announcer said “attention platforms one to six, a London Bridge train will leave from one of these platforms shortly”.

John Chisholm – Inn Signs

This was John’s third or fourth visit to us. How nice to have so many hobbies that you can share. Where do you start with Inn Signs or Pub Signs? John decided to concentrate on the top twenty or so and started by letting us guess – we got quite a few of them.

Red Lion Was this the sign of the kingdom that John I decreed should be displayed on all public buildings? It was also the personal badge of John of Gaunt but there are lots of other possible origins.

  1. Crown Inn – symbol of allegiance to the monarch.
  2. Royal Oak – the oak that the future Charles II hid in.
  3. Rose & Crown – red and white badge of the Tudors with crown.
  4. The King’s Head – or the Pope’s Head prior to Henry III. Many different kings are depicted under this heading.
  5. White Hart – often with gold collar and chain – heraldic symbol from the time of Richard II.
  6. The Queen’s Head – Elizabeth II or Victoria and sometimes others.
  7. Bessemer Alms, Railway Alms, The Railway – all railways or engines.
  8. Five Bells 10. The Swan 11. The Angel    12. Bulls Head, The Bull
  9. Coach & Horses 14. George Inn 15. George & Dragon   16. Lord Nelson
  10. The New Inn 18. The Plough (& Furrow) – implement or constellation
  11. The Star Inn – the star of Bethlehem 20. The White Horse

John showed us examples of all the names from his own photos, many of them from local pubs. The variety was amazing. For example there were many different Red Lions including a full-on encounter. Another 18 names followed that hadn’t made the top twenty. John Recommended the Inn Sign Society/Pub Names web page for further examples.


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