header image
Parts
Homepage. This page: Views of British streets from the 1920s, 1930s, 1940s and into the 1960s.

More British street scenes.

Views of British streets may be found in many places across Old Classic Car (the site search will help track them down), this page features a further selection of snapshots going back to the 1920s, all of which feature one or more vehicles in them. In many instances the locations aren't known. Sometimes there are enough clues visible to identify the places shown, but unless there are notes accompanying the photos, many are tricky to pin down to a specific village, town or city.

1. Cars queue up outside St. Mary's Church, Sedgemoor.

Handily, whoever took this photo managed to include the sign on the righthand side, within their viewfinder. It reads: "The Museum. St Mary's Church, Sedgemoor", this at least confirms that the photo was taken within this area of Somerset. There are though plenty of St. Mary's Churches within this neck of the woods, so which this is I've yet to establish - I checked streets that pass six or seven possible locations, but as yet no match for the new-build 1930s houses on the left. Presumably there was a pub nearby also, judging by the roadside sign advertising Graham's Lager.
A cheery selection of early-mid 1930s cars are in evidence, queueing into the distance. Perhaps it was the summer getaway, with holidaymakers clogging up the roads to the south west? Several of the cars have cases strapped to their luggage racks.
(Please click the thumbnail to view the full-size image.)
Cars pass by St Marys Church in Sedgemoor

2. A 1920s scene.

No notes accompany this photo either. Whoever took this snapshot, decided to park themselves in the middle of the road, risking life and limb to get this view of a town's quiet thoroughfare. A two-seat tourer (registration CM 6840) is parked on the lefthand side of the road. CM is a Birkenhead series. Are we looking at a scene in the north west of England, or perhaps nearby North Wales? The larger car further up the road appears to have a registration beginning with CA, which is a Denbighshire number. Perhaps the towering chimney visible in the distance, quite possibly attached to a factory, along with the hill/mountain in the background will help identify this location?
Shops and business on the right include a bookshop, which shares a pavement with the local Lloyds Bank. A small sign further up the street advertises Bassett & Sons, Electrical and Radio Engineers.
A 1920s street scene

3. To the 1940s/1950s.

Two or three decades after the above snapshot, the following photo is taken from a lofty vantage point. To the left is an Austin A40 Devon, parked a short distance from a pre-war Austin, and a Commer lorry. Quite where this is I don't know, some of the buildings are quite distinctive though so may ring a bell with someone.
Two Austins and a Commer in this scene

4. Driving through the Ford in Kenilworth.

Someone thoughtfully reached for their ink pen, and wrote "Ford Kenilworth" on the front of this 1930s photo. A flat-rad Morris Cowley is captured on film, ploughing through the ford, its driver showing more bravery than the assorted cyclists in the background, who look on with interest - as do several people clustered around the fence separating them from the water below.
The ford on Castle Road, Kenilworth, continues to test motorists to this day, as this article on the ITV website demonstrates: link. The castle is over to the left, albeit not visible in this particular photo. I wonder if the Morris - and the driver's shoes in particular - survived this watery encounter?
A Morris drives through Kenilworth's Ford on Castle Road

5. A mystery car.

This is a "Walking Pictures" snapshot, taken by a roving photographer - most likely in an area popular with tourists - in the hope that the lady, who after being passed details of the photographer's studio, will call by and pay for a copy of the photograph as a memento of her day. The fact that this photo was printed, suggests that she did indeed take up the offer. Of interest is the car in the background, a slightly oddly-proportioned machine, set high on its chassis, with shallow side windows. Does anyone recognise this oddball car - a Railton perhaps?
A mystery car drives by

6. Coronation week in a quiet terraced street, 1937.

Phew, at last, an old photo with a few notes on its reverse. They advise that the photo was taken in May 1937, during Coronation week. Saying that, the Union Jack flags dangling from a number of windows in this terraced street do point to a significant event taking place. The other snippet afforded by the photograph's original owner is "Ashton R?". So could this be Ashton Road, Glasgow? A search shows buildings and railings that are very similar, although the roofline doesn't quite match. A pair of Austins are in view, as are a few pedestrians.
Coronation week in 1937

7. A parade takes place in Sheffield, Yorkshire.

I've had this photo on file for a few years. A visible street sign in the background, for Hounsfield Lane, suggested that the location for this photo is Sheffield. The CWJ registration (from 1936/1937) on the lead lorry in this parade, plus the fact that it belongs to Sheffield-based brewer Tennants, confirm this. Quite what the banner that reads "WEAR AN IMMUNITY BADGE - THEY'RE SAFE & RELIABLE" refers to I'm not sure. Is it a reference to the coal industry? Unfortunately the slogans draped on the side of the brewer's dray aren't clear (I've also included a closer scan of them in case anyone can make out the text). Does the bottom line refer to "THOSE 2 MINERS"?
The second lorry sports the legend "The Hallamshire Coal Suppliers" to the headboard on its cab. A group of people are stood within its load area, while someone with "HOPE" on their outfit, stands over them. Of interest is that the front wing on this lorry - and that on the Austin following along behind - has white "black-out" paint applied to its edges. This could indicate a wartime image, or at least one from the immediate post-war years.
Parade in Sheffield
Parade in Sheffield - closer look

8. A road survey.

The next four photos date to around 1970/71 or thereabouts, the presence of the Triumph Toledo on the left (introduced August 1970) indicates a seventies' scene. The lady and children walking along the pavement to the left, clarify the order of the photographs, which were all taken by someone stood in the middle of the road. Alas, there are no clues as to the location shown. Other automotive gems visible in photo no.1 include a Ford Anglia and a Reliant Regal, with a Morris Minor Traveller and a Morris LD van visible further up the road. A small dog weighs up a convenient lamp post.
Triumph Toledo
The remaining three photos I've cropped down, to better show the details. In the second shot, we can better see a gent attending to something on his LD van.
General traffic scene in 1970/1971
The photographer moved up the road slightly for photograph number three, the small dog is now taking a breather, lying on the pavement close to the fence. A Mk1 Escort van heads away into the distance, while a dashing individual in an MGB Roadster contemplates how to avoid hitting a parked Toyota, and the photographer stood in the road ahead of him/her. The boxy Morris LD is also more visible here, did it start out life as an ambulance - or possibly a military crew carrier - I wonder? The registration, while dark, appears to read 3377 HK - an Essex series.
Morris LD van
Finally, a Hillman Minx or Hunter follows in the wheeltracks of the Escort van, while the chap on the right continues to tinker with his venerable LD.
Morris LD van
Return to Page 20 in the motoring photographs archive, or visit the main index here.

Custom Search
www.oldclassiccar.co.uk (C) R. Jones. Content not to be reproduced elsewhere.
Website by ableweb.
Privacy Policy, Cookies & Disclaimers