Thursday, 21 April 2016

Buying a holiday and shopping at Liptons in 1981

It is one of those pictures which you recognise instantly and then reflect on just how different it is today.

It is sometime in the early 1980s and I have to say I remember going to most of the shops in the parade.

My favourite was the Travel Agents, two doors down from Liptons.  This was the age before internet booking, and the cutting edge of arranging a holiday was the telephone.

So my trip to Paris was arranged over the phone, first the chap behind the counter phoned the hotel, checking availability, and then I bought the railway tickets from Manchester to London, London to Dover and lastly from the French coast to Paris, booked the ferry crossing and lastly confirmed the hotel.

And while I waited, I stared at posters advertising train excursions to Scarborough, a mystery coach trip to somewhere in the Midlands and two nights in Blackpool, "bed and breakfast for the weekend and the wonderfully romantic Illuminations".

I suppose I could have flown but it never even crossed my mind.  I do know that with the money I thought I had saved by not flying I ate in the restaurant next door.

A decade earlier as a student it would have been the three course business meal offered for the staggering price of six shillings. It was a good deal and an instant introduction to the variety of Chinese and Asian food.

So leaving aside my cheap student meals, I think I will close by reflecting on holidays.  For many they were still a thing you did in Britain and if like me you didn’t have a car then it was the train. Just a few decades earlier it would have been how most of us went off to the seaside.

The bus ride from home to the station, the wait on the platform and if you were posh or just sensible flopping down in reserved seats and watching as people walked up and down looking for somewhere to sit.

Usually we were part of that scramble.  The kids sent on a head to grab enough places, and once we were all settled and the row about who had the window seat were sorted, it was time to open the sandwiches and begin the campaign to persuade the grownups that a jam filled choc roll bought from the local supermarket was no substitute for the delights that were offered in the buffet car.  All of which was made easier on those trains where the trolley of food and drinks was brought down the corridor.

Still all of that is a long way from Liptons, and the old fashioned travel agents.

Location; Chorlton-cum-Hardy

Pictures; from the Lloyd collection, Wilbraham Road and Chorlton station

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