Monthly Archives: November 2018

Mum and Dad – Part 2 – Mum

This the second of two posts about my parents. The first tells Dad’s story:

This post tells Mum’s story, predominently in her own words ….

Mum was born in Tonbridge, Kent [1] in the home of friends of her parents on 14th December 1929. She had an older brother, Bernard, born on 2nd January 1924 in a hospital in London. Her maiden name was Phyllis Rosanna Ellen Norton (Rosanna was her Mother’s Mother’s name and Ellen was her Father’s Mother’s name).

Mum was actually Christened ‘Hosanna’ as the clergyman didn’t hear properly!

Early in her life, Mum lived in Tonbridge – she says that she did not play out as a child, nor go to school until she was 6 years old; her mother didn’t want to part with her. The ‘school-board’ man came to visit to see why she was not there!

Mum’s dad (we called him Garpe) had his own business and was doing reasonably well, but his brother joined him and became a sleeping partner, needing a share in the profits but doing very little. To ease the situation, Garpe returned to being a shipwright in Chatham dockyard and moved his family to Gillingham. The house in Tonbridge was let out and they rented one in Gillingham. Mum thinks that this happened early 1938.

Later in 1938, with the scare of war, she was sent back from Gillingham to Tonbridge to live with her Uncle Syd and family. Mum did not think thatbshe was too unhappy, but her mother (our Nana) was and as a reult Mum went back to Gillingham in 1939. School was an unhappy time for Mum in Gillingham. She says: “I was picked on by head and staff and children.”

In 1939, Mum sat the scholarship and passed. She and her family moved to Plymouth in 1940 as Garpe (misguidedly, as it turned out) thought it would be safer – he transferred to Plymouth dockyard. Mum went to a local primary school, but was transferred to Devonport High School – in a blue summer dress, while everyone else was in a brown uniform!

Devonport High School for Girls (1940). [2]

Early that first term,  as far as Mum can remember, Devonport High School was evacuated to Tiverton, but she stayed in Plymouth and went to Plymouth Emergency High School. Before the evacuation, Mum remembered crossing one of the quadrangles and being fired on from an aeroplane. She also remembered a land-mine landing just in front of the school one night.

For a while, mum and her mother slept out of town at Bere Ferrers to avoid the worst bombing, although that didn’t last long. She remembered watching incendiaries being dropped in fields opposite the family home, also hearing explosions when a fort nearby was hit, and, going up a road close by to witness Plymouth on fire from end to end!

In Spring 1945, Mum had some 6 weeks off school with scarlet fever – during that time,she says: “I read a book called ‘Stepping Heavenwards’ and it helped me, as I’d been lacking assurance (I was never sure that I was truly converted).” After that time Mum returned to school in time for School Certificate at Plymouth Emergency High School.

St. Budeaux Parish Church.[5]

Mum and her family continued living in Higher St. Budeaux during the war and going to St. Budeaux Parish Church and she went to Sunday School there too. Come Summer 1945, the war ended and life returned somewhat to as it had been. Mum returned to Devonport High School;  In her own words: “I think mornings only to start with, I went into the 6th Form and was over zealous for the Lord – nevertheless a number of girls came to know Him, both at school and other friends too. Miss Moore, the head at that time, asked me what I wanted to do and I said I didn’t mind as long as it was what God wanted! She called another teacher and I had to repeat myself. Later, I presumed they were both Christians.”

Just a bit later, with a new head, Miss Vale, interviewing Nana, she said, ‘I’d be alright when I got rid of the Youth for Christ’ nonsense. Mum says, “I was so thankful it was my mother, who was a Christian and not one of the other girls’ parents, who weren’t Christians.”

Mum organised a group of students who used to meet, before school, in the Physics lab dark room to pray once a week. She had three years in the 6th Form and then went to Stockwell Teacher Training College in Bromley, Kent to train for teaching. At that time is was a 2 year course.

While at college, she was involved with the Christian Union and held responsible positions both in the hostel (1st year) and then in college. During this time, the Christian Union booked General Dobbie to speak, but as he was such an important person, the Principal made it a compulsory lecture for the whole college, so everyone heard his testimony.

In the Summer holiday before the second year’s training it was expected that you’d do some teaching practice. However, if you were to help lead a holiday camp, that would count, so Mum opted to help at a Church Pastoral Aid camp in the South of England.

Following college, Mum started teaching Reception Class in West Park Primary, Plymouth and also took on responsibility for Plymouth National Young Life Campaign and she was baptised (by full immersion) and went to St. Budeaux Baptist to worship. As Garpe was not happy to use public transport on Sundays – the family used to walk to and fro to church. At this time, she was very involved with Open-air work and preaching on the Baptist Lay Preachers plan. Open-air work was Saturday night in the red-light district in Plymouth, while Sunday afternoons they hired p.a. equipment and went to beaches – Kings and Cawsand, etc.

After 18 months teaching, which Mum says she thoroughly enjoyed – sometimes 50+ in class. Mum applied to go nursing 18 months ahead, but live at home (her parents had never wanted Mum to nurse! She applied early so that they would get used to the idea). However, Mum failed the medical!! Although she was later accepted.

Proof that Mum worked as a nurse can be found in the Ladybird Book of Nursing! In this picture, Mum is on the left holding the lantern over the piano. [4]

Mum says: “All except one person thought I was stepping out of God’s will in going nursing! It was not easy to start with, but again despite a lot of ups and downs, overall I enjoyed it. While nursing, often when I had an evening off, I would phone a friend of ours at the Royal Engineering College near home, and invite any Christians to come round for a time of fellowship (prayer, bible study and refreshments). I’d collect any nurses interested as well. It was at this time that Fred first appeared.”

Mum moved round from different hospitals and wards, for experience, including the Fever hospital, sometimes having to walk several miles to start work at 7.30am! She completed her studies with the Gold Medal and a Nursing Prize. Later, she got the midwifery prize too. In those days for midwifery you did 6 months in different departments in the hospital and then 6 months on the district, working with a midwife and always on call.

Having done S.R.N. and S.C.M. Mum wondered what God would have her do. Church reckoned I was going to the mission field! I applied to go back teaching, but was turned down!! A job opened up to teach at a school for cerebral palsy children and they were thrilled to have me.

Fred appeared back on the scene (some years later now) and during late 58 and early 59, Mum says: “We felt we should marry – hence on 1st August 1959, we married and had Psalm 34:3 ‘Let us exalt his name together’ engraved in our rings as that was what we hoped our marriage would do.

Mum and Dad set up home in a flat near Altrincham, buying a house in mid-December in Altrincham as well. They had folks staying for Christmas too!! Dad was working for Shell and Mum taught in a primary school at that time. Roger arrived in May 1960. He was born in the local hospital on Sinderland Road, just round the corner; as was Gill some 19 months later, on 27th December 1961.

At this time they worshipped at Devonshire Road Evangelical Church (which was Brethren based).Devonshire Road Evangelical Church in the early 21st Century. The old building which we attended and which abutted the old Ice Rink in Altircham has long gone.

Each Christmas from 1960 on, for 11 years, they had both sets of parents and Fred’s younger sister, Christine, to stay. Mum and Dad thought that they might change the pattern, but then one of them was not well, so the pattern changed anyway.

In January 1965, until the end of that year, Dad went to Bolton each day to study for a teaching certificate. It was 2nd May that year that David was born by Caesarian Section at Wythenshawe Hospital. Mum says: “He didn’t make his own way into the world as he had a broader head than Roger and Gill. Roger and Gill stayed with Fred’s Mum and Dad for the spring of that year.”

Amazingly, having had no income for the year, after Dad had finished at Bolton, Mum and Dad bought their first car – a Reliant 3-wheeler van, which Dad drove on a motor-cycle licence. There was no reverse gear in these Reliant’s and there were a few occasions on holiday in rural areas when some awkward moments occurred when on narrow lanes other drivers expected Dad to reverse out of their way.

Kingston-upon-Hull was Dad’s first teaching post, starting at the beginning of January 1966. We all moved house after Christmas, from Altrincham to Willerby, on the outskirts of Hull, just in time for Dad to start at the college at the beginning of term. This happene,” says Mum, “thanks to me ringing our buyer’s solicitor just before Christmas, as the solicitors were sitting on the papers and we could not move – the Solicitor’s comment to our buyers was ‘That woman rang me up!’ Our buyer was grateful anyway.”

Roger and Gill went to school further down Carr Lane, where we were living. It was in October 1966 that Ian was born at Beverley. He had been elbow and cord presenting, but was delivered breach under anaesthetic. The Doctors reckoned that Mum should not have any more children as she had been through most of the midwife’s textbook! (What would it have been like to have younger siblings after Ian?

While we lived in Hull we worshipped at Walton Street Gospel Hall. Mum was involved with an evangelistic team that visited Hull prison and the mental hospital in Willerby. The picture above shows Walton Street at the approximate location of the Gospel Hall which now seems to have been removed. It stood opposite the fairground where the Nottingham Goose Fair came each year.

It was in 1970 that we moved to Braintree, Essex. Dad had accepted a position as a Senior lecturer at the technical College in Chelmsford. We sold our home in Willerby and the furniture went into store. Dad started his job and looked for a property for us. Meanwhile, with the children, Mum moved in with Nana, in Tonbridge. We found a 5-bedroomed house and eventually moved in, in Braintree.

We applied to the primary school in Braintree, hoping that Roger, Gill and David would be admitted there. Ian was still too young for school. A letter arrived from the school and Mum feared they weren’t able to accept the children, but it was to ask her to teach a class of Junior age children. She didn’t really want to refuse in case it was what God had planned, but she did rather hope that the Education Authority would not accept her!!!

Manor Road Primary School, Braintree Essex. Roger can remember: playing in the playground; teachers names such as Mr West and Mr Broad; being forced by the school bully to suport Arsenal and then discovering that they had won the double.

In September of that year, Roger, Gill, David and Ian all started with Mum at the school. Ian in Reception class! Mum says: “Over all I think we coped until Fred accepted a post in Kings Lynn. That was after a couple of years. His post was for Head of Department – we weren’t sure what we should do as a family. However, we thought if I applied for a job in Kings Lynn and got it then we’d take it that we should all move.”

Sprite Major Caravan from the early 1970s.

Mum continues: “Then started a bit of a picnic!?! We couldn’t sell our house (that’s a story in itself). So we bought a towing caravan that would cater for 6 of us and moved to Kings Lynn on a caravan site in Pentney, outside Kings Lynn.”

From Monday to Friday we all lived in the caravan, going back to Braintree for weekends to get the washing done. After a few weeks, a memo came round the schools about a school house, available to rent at Terrington St. Clements. We rented it, taking our caravan with us and moving some furniture up from Braintree – eventually our Braintree house sold and we bought a new four-bedroom house on the outskirts of Kings Lynn, near the new hospital.During this time we worshipped at Seabank Chapel. Dad led the Covenantors and Mum was in the Sunday School. She was Area Secretary for Scripture Union and helped with Crusaders on Fairstead Estate and at Sandringham.Life continued quite busily. Mum and Dad offered for my mother (Nana) to come and live with us after my father died in 1968, but it wasn’t until 1980 that she felt she’d had enough in Tonbridge. We had a Granny flat built and two extra bedrooms over the top – so that all the children had their own bedroom. Mum became a part-time teacher at Pott Row (before that she’d taught at Rosebery Avenue).Rosebery Avenue Primary School. [6]

After Pott Row, she taught for a while at a private school (where Princess Diana had been a pupil), and at the same time at a special school for ESN children, as the school hours were different.

Mum says: “Fred retired at the end of 1985, I think. I had already retired by then. We wondered what the Lord would have us do. After various opportunities, we left Kings Lynn and moved to rural Oxfordshire to look after 14 bungalows for Datchet Evangelical Fellowship. We had No. 12 and Nana, No. 11. They had been built for retired missionaries and full-time Christian workers.” The family had more-or-less all left home by then.The Red Lion in Brightwell-cum-Sotwell, the village was dominated by thatched properties.

After about 6 months to a year after arriving in Brightwell-cum-Sotwell, the pastor at the little chapel resigned as he had a nervous breakdown. Mum says: “We then led the little church for about 7 years until they appointed a full-time worker. About the same time, Datchet Evangelical Fellowship decided to sell the bungalows and Nana died at the age of 99.”

Mum continues: “What next Lord? … We moved to our little place in Didcot and worshipped at East Hanney Mission. In the meanwhile we were sorting out ready to go to Lusaka, Zambia with Africa Evangelical Fellowship, officially for Fred to be a Town and Travel Manager. I usually helped, but also, we provided meals for missionaries passing through Lusaka and did clinics and radio work when missionaries had gone home for furlough. We thoroughly enjoyed our time in Africa.”

Part way through the time, Mum came back through the U.K. to Pakistan, as Gill was expecting their third child and giving birth in the Aga Khan Hospital in Karachi. They had a 2-bed room and Mum was able to sleep in the bed next to Gill. The surgery was good, but the nursing left a lot to be desired!

After Mum returned to Zambia, she was not well. In looking back, it was due to endeavouring to remove burglar wires and decorate our bungalow. Mum says: “At the time the missionary doctor thought I had a brain tumour. I came to the U.K. for tests, etc. and Fred delights to tell people that the Neurological Hospital in London could find nothing … no brain!! I did join Fred again in Lusaka and we completed our 2 year stint.”

Returning to the UK, Mum and Dad felt that they should look for a town, not to large, where there was a hospital and shopping centre and where they could do something useful. Retford seemed to fit the bill and they were able to help at Book Aid, part-time. They lived in Mattersey Thorpe and worshipped in Bawtry at the Evangelical Church.At this stage Mum and Dad were fairly active, but thought it was time to consider their Home-call (Mum’s words) and after much prayer and thought moved to a bungalow in Auchlochan – a Christian retirement complex, having several buildings catering for different stages of old age, including full care, if necessary. Mum and Dad had one of the bungalows at the right-hand side of the above plan.

Mum says: “We did enjoy it, but one problem was accessibility to hospitals in Glasgow or Edinburgh. So, when I was not well, we felt we should come back to England. From first thinking this to moving in at Royd Court in Mirfield (a Pilgrim Home) it was about 3 months. We sold the bungalow, got rid of loads of books, furniture, etc., bought a two-bedroom flat in a Pilgrim Homes Independent Living Complex! What a blessing – had an excellent doctor across the road who set the ball rolling for me to go to St. James’ Hospital in Leeds for major surgery for removal of a cancerous growth – a Whipples operation. This operation was really successful.”

Mum concludes her own notes by saying that they worshipped at Batley Evangelical Church and have been very blessed and encouraged there. Since Mum wrote those notes a few years ago, she has suffered from womb cancer and most recently from the effects of secondaries from the womb cancer on her lungs.

Once Mum had her diagnosis and had been told that there was little that could be done for her, she began to put her affairs in order and until very recently used the time God left her in ministry within the confines of Royd Court. Mum was greatly looking forward to what she called her ‘home-call’.

As a family, we have seen the love and care that Mum and Dad have experienced in the immediate communities to which they have belonged in the Mirfield area, at Royd Court and at Batley Evangelical Church. And we are grateful to all who have provided care for Mum in these last few months.


  1., accessed first on 1st August 2016.
  2. accessed on 13th November 2018.
  3., accessed on 13th November 2018.
  4., accessed on 13th November 2018.
  5., accessed on 13th November 2018.
  6., accessed first on 1st August 2016.



Mum and Dad – Part 1 – Dad

We lost my father in the Summer last year (2017) and as I write (11th November 2018), Mum is on her way to glory. Both of them had a strong Christian faith and were sure of their place with the Lord in heaven. Some of Dad’s last words to Mum were … ‘I go to a better, better place.’

I want to write a little about both Mum and Dad. I hope that you will indulge me in a couple of posts! The second of these posts tells Mum’s story and can be found at:

I have just said in sermons on Remembrance Sunday (2018) that we are rooted in who we are most effectively when we tell our own stories and as we hear the stories of our communities. …… So perhaps it is appropriate that I tell the story of two saints that I remember with affection.

The words below are predominantly those that Dad wanted to say about himself.

In the second post I’ll share Mum’s story too.  …

Dad was born on 29th September 1931 at Nelson Street, Horwich, to Wilfred and Hilda Mary (nee Carr) Farnworth. His Dad (Grandad) was a blacksmith at Horwich Loco Works and his Mum was a Cotton Mill worker prior to getting married. Dad’s first visit to church was when he was 2 weeks old. His family went to Horwich Gospel Hall. Apparently he was not interested in the message but was reported to be sucking noisily and had a good meal!

Dad was not sure of the date, but his family moved to 29 (I think), Crown Lane  when Grandad became unemployed. For a time Grandad worked for engine builders in the Salford area (possibly Beyer Garrett) before finding work at Derby L.M.S.  Loco Works.

Before moving to the Midlands they were living next door to Grandma’s parents and Dad had his first experience of death when his Grandma died. Dad was about 3 years old and was found sitting on the bed talking to the corpse. They also lived within 300 yards of Grandad’s parents who had a chicken farm. Dad said: “I was a regular visitor, primarily to get in on Gran’s cooking!”

Dad shares two things that he was reputed to have done. He said …. “I eloped to school when about 3 years old. All the kids down the row were going, so I just joined them!” and, “During a particularly dry summer, the women were asked not to empty their wash tubs so that local gardeners could use the water. I ended up in our’s and was fished out by my Grandad – very wet!”

Around 1935, Dad and his family moved to Derby for Grandad’s work. They lived at 768 Osmaston Road and went to church at Curzon Street Gospel Hall in the City centre. Dad says it was a “solemn assembly!”

He started school at Nightingale Road School which was next door to the Rolls Royce factory. “The nearest,” says Dad, “that I ever got to a ‘Roller’. He made a second attempt at drowning himself by falling through the ice on the frozen canal and being fished out by a passing stranger who took him home – again dripping wet! 

Around 1938 Grandad was, again, out of work until he found a job as a blacksmith working for Stanton (later Stanton and Staveley) Iron Works. They moved to 28, Shanklin Drive, Stapleford and went to church at Eatons Road Gospel Hall (another solemn assembly!). Church was made more solemn by all the younger men going off to war.

Dad attended Albany Primary School and Grandma worked at the local ‘National Feeding Centre’. Eventually, Grandad went back to Derby L.M.S. Works, mainly working nights, but we continued to live in Stapleford.

In September 1942, Dad went to Henry Mellish Grammar School, Bulwell and remained there until 1949,  for School Certificate and Higher School Certificate. He couldn’t remember the results. He was far more interested in rugby, swimming, cricket and athletics at school, and soccer (Stapleford Rovers and others) out of school. The round ball was banned at the grammar school! There were no more drowning incidents, but he did learn to swim in the local canal – warm, smelly and dirty!

In September 1949, Dad went to Loughborough College (as it was then, now Loughborough University),  staying there for 3 years. He studied Mechanical Engineering. It was an unusual arrangement – one week in lectures and then the next week in the extensive college workshops. He gained a 1st Class honours Mechanical Engineering Diploma. His priorities were quite clear. He says: “I went home most weekends to play football.”

While at College Dad had contact with a strong Christian Union, a number of members later became Christian Leaders and Missionaries.

After College, in 1952, Dad started working in Birmingham  for the General  Electric Company (GEC) as a graduate apprentice at their Witton Works. He was mainly working on heavy electrical machinery for the first year.

Dad was in digs with the Fletcher family at 47, Wheelwright Road, Erdington. Mrs Fletcher was the widow of the man who’d headed up the GEC Accounts Department. She was a rather presidential Victorian old lady who was rather domineering. Dad says: “Just imagine my reaction.”

Two of their 4 children had married and incurred disapproval, and so were never mentioned! The two remaining children were Kitty, who was a rather sour middle-aged spinster who taught at a Girl’s Grammar School; and  Theo who brought some reality into the setup! He worked at GEC in Research and was one of the leaders of the Erdington Boy Crusader Class. Interestingly, Theo married immediately after his mother died!i

The Fletchers had a live-in maid, an old spinster who was a very good cook. Dad says: “That enabled me to bear with the rest of it!”

Dad comments: “After an introduction to church at two weeks of age, and with biblical things running like blood through my veins it was not, however, until the time spent in Birmingham that Jesus became real to me and I was baptised at Charlton Road Gospel Hall.

In about August 1953, Dad was transferred to London (Erith) by GEC to Fraser and Chalmers – manufacturers of heavy  mining  machinery for a period of just over 12 months. He lived in Rostrevor Guest House, Belvedere and worshipped at Belvedere Gospel Hall – a happy family – a time of spiritual growth. He was involved as a Counsellor at the 1954 Harringay Billy Graham Crusade.

From November 1954 until November 1956, Dad did his 2 years National Service in the Royal Navy (RNVR). He says: “Initially, for basic courses, I was a Stoker at HMS Raleigh in Plymouth. Then as a Sub.Lt(E) for 3 months at R.N. Engineering College Manadon, Plymouth. It was during this time that I first met Phyl (and her very welcome cheese pies) at times of fellowship at her home with other naval folk and some nurses. I was then posted abroad.”

(You may have picked up a common theme in Dad’s autobiography …. food!)

Dad served in Malta on HMS Striker (a tank landing craft) and HMS Whirlwind (a frigate) around the Mediterranean, Northern Ireland, Spain, France and Bermuda – all for short stays Finally, he served on HMS Savage for trials of low noise propellers to avoid submarine detection.

Dad says: “These were times of spiritual growth and great fellowship, both with naval personnel an in the churches that I visited, particularly in Malta. I found my theological views being broadened!”

In November 1956, Dad found himself working with ‘Shell’ at Stanlow Refinery as plant maintenance engineer for major petrochemical plants. He lived in Chester and worshipped at Chester Gospel Hall.

In February 1958, Dad was transferred to ‘Shell Chemicals’ at Carrington as Project Engineer for the production of petrochemicals (polyethylene and polystyrene). It was at this time that he became a member of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers. Dad was living initially in Sale, and then later (1960) in Broadheath at 112, Lindsell Road. he says: “I married Phyl in August 1959 and we were worshipping at Hebron Hall, close to the ice-rink in Altrincham. For some of the time I served as an Elder. Over the next few years, Roger, Gill and Dave joined the family.”

In 1965, Dad gave up working for Shell Chemicals and studied at Bolton Teacher Training College.The family continued living in Broadheath. 

We moved, right at the end of 1965, to Hull. From January 1966 to 1970 we lived at 103, Carr Lane, Willerby and Dad was lecturing at Hull Technical College. We were worshipping at Walton Street Gospel Hall and Dad was an Elder for part of the time that we were there.  Ian, my youngest brother joined us in 1966 and  Dad says, “We became ‘F, P & Co. Ltd’!”

From 1970 to 1972 we lived in Braintree in Essex and Dad taught at Chelmsford Tech. (Dovedale) as a Senior Lecturer. We lived on Sycamore Grove in Braintree and worshipped at Coggeshall Road Gospel Hall in Braintree.

We lived in Kings Lynn, Norfolk from 1972. Mum and Dad stayed there until 1986. Dad was based Norfolk College in Kings Lynn as Head of the Engineering Department and later as Head of the Faculty of Technology until early retirement in December 1985.

We lived, first, for about 12 months in Terrington St. Clement and then at 5, Elvington in Gaywood in King’s Lynn We worshipped at Seabank Chapel and I led the Covenantor Group for several years. During this time, Nana, Phyl’s mum came to live with us in a Granny Flat extension to the house.

There is, perhaps, a lot more to tell about Mum and Dad’s last few years in King’s Lynn as they found themselves in the midst of difficult times at Seabank Chapel. Dad chose not to focus on this in his notes, but they really were difficult times for both Mum and Dad. By this time, I was living in Manchester and watching from afar. Dad and Mum showed great integrity and leadership during this time and suffered some significant levels of stress.

Dad and I had/have differing views about our shared faith and he struggled with my decision to become an Anglican priest, feeling unable to take Communion from me. However, he always acted with integrity and at times found remaining true to his convictions difficult, physically, spiritually and emotionally.

Mum and Dad moved to Brightwell-cum-Sotwell, in South Oxfordshire in August 1986 to manage a small estate  of 15 bungalows mainly provided for retired missionaries and Christian workers. There were some very interesting folk. Nana had her own bungalow. The estate belonged to the Datchet Evangelical Fellowship (later to be known as ‘Rural Ministries’).

Dad and Mum also had a small house in Didcot because their bungalow on site in Brightwell-cum-Sotwell was very small. They worshipped in the little free church (FIEC) in the village. After about 6 months of being there, the young pastor of the church had a breakdown and eventually resigned and moved away. Dad led the church for about 7 years until a new pastor was appointed. At almost the same tim as the new pastor was appointed, Nana died at the age of 99 years and the Datchet Evangelical Fellowship decided to sell the  complex of bungalows. Mum and Dad moved into their house in Didcot.

While Dad and Mum were in Brightwell they were involved not only in looking after the bungalows and leading the FIEC church, but also took part in various village-wide things like Lent Courses and a Men’s Prayer Breakfast.

Mum and Dad lived in Didcot for a further 12 months, worshipping and helping out in a small Mission Church in Hanney, Oxfordshire. At the end of that 12 months they rented out the Didcot house and set off for Zambia!

From 1994 to 1996, Mum and Dad worked for ‘Africa Evangelical Fellowship’ seconded to the ‘Evangelical Church in Zambia’. The brief said: ‘To work as Town & Travel Manager’. The job spec. included the phrase: ‘must be able to cope with a high degree of ambiguity’ – Spot on! The job involved virtually all of the mission business in Lusaka – immigration, customs, banking, post office, travel agents, technical shopping for folks up country, and airport duties (meeting people coming into the country and helping others leave.

Dad says: “I succeeded in losing the Australian Office Manager. Having delivered him to the airport at 5am om a Sunday morning for a flight to Namibia (2 hours), we received a call at 2pm: ‘Where is he?’ I guess that he got there eventually but I have never heard of him since.  Was this a case of lions at the airport?”

Meanwhile, Dad says, “Phyl did all kinds of things – helping him in Lusaka, standing in for folks who should have spoken on the radio, various clinics, etc.”

They lived at Chamba valley, 10 kilometres outside Lusaka and worshipped at the mission church on site. Occasionally they travelled in, on a Sunday evening, to worship at Lusaka Baptist Church. Their little car, a Subaru Justy, enabled them to travel out quite a bit on business and for holidays to:

  • North West and South West Zambia
  • Zimbabwe (several times) – to Kariba, Harare, Victoria Falls and the eastern highlands
  • Botswana
  • South Africa – to Johannesburg, Durban and the Kruger Game Park
  • Malawi – including a 4 day sail down the lake on a ferry as it carried local passengers and goods from port to port. 

From 1996 to 1997, after getting back from Zambia, Dad and Mum spent about 12 months living in Didcot before selling up and moving to Mattersey Thorpe, North Nottinghamshire.

From 1997-2005, Mum and Dad worked part-time with Book Aid, in their Ranskill Store, and  worshipped at Bawtry Evangelical Church.

In 2005, Mum and Dad moved North to Scotland. They lived in Auchlochan, a privately run retirement village built around 4 small lochs. It was a complex of Bungalows, flats, apartments and units for residential care. Mum and Dad bought a bungalow and worshipped at the fellowship on site. The complex is now operated by Methodist Homes.

In 2010, Dad and Mum moved South again to a flat at Royd Court, Mirfield, West Yorkshire, in a group of 56 flats run by Pilgrim Homes. They worshipped on site and attended Batley Evangelical Church as well.

We lost Dad in August 2017. Mum continued to live in their flat in Royd Court and often spoke longingly of going home …. She too is now at rest, at home with her Lord.


The Joys of Sunday 4th November 2018

What a wonderful day!!!!😇😇

Sunday 4th November has been a wonderful “full-on” day for this clergyperson!😇😇

Work started soon after 8am with time spent on final preparations for the day. Three sermons, written late in the week, needed reading through. I suppose you could call it a working breakfast!

The first two services of the day were in two of the five churches that I have responsibility for. ……… St. James Church was full for Lilly Isabelle Anne Smith’s baptism at 9.30am, (early doors!)Because our clergy have a good number of things to do on Sunday and, perhaps more importantly, because Baptism is about becoming a member of Jesus’ family the church, we have our baptisms as part of our usual church services.

At St. James the baptism took place in a service of Holy Communion. The reading from Isaiah (25: 6-9) led me to think and talk about how the sharing together of food is one of the most important ways in which we acknowledge the importance of our relationships.

At St. Peter’s Church at 11.00am we baptised Elizabeth Leavy. I baptised her older brother a few years back. We welcome all the newly baptised into our church families.St. Peter’s is increasingly seeing visitors from other countries many of whom are seeking asylum in the UK. Some stay with us over many months either until they are moved elsewhere by our government, or their cases are decided. We seek where we can to support people through the asylum process and we are about to set up a drop-in centre in partnership with the Red Cross.

By 12.15pm it was time to dash to St. Michael’s Church, the civic church in Ashton. A number of community organisations and schools have worked with the Ashton Branch of the British Legion to create a poppy wall in church for the period from 3rd November to 12th November. Standards were processed, the poppy wall was dedicated and we had time to remember and give thanks, as part of the Legion’s ‘Thank You’ Campaign, for all who have worked for the betterment of society during and after the first world war. I have the privilege of being Padre for the local branch of the Royal British legion and so am honoured to take services such as these. By now, the day was just getting going! ….

A close colleague has just moved on from our Parish – the Parish of the Good Shepherd, Ashton-under-Lyne. … Jules Mambu has served as a curate in the parish since he chose to move from the Roman Catholic Church to the Anglican Church. I have know Jules for 15 years. He was a refugee from the Democratic Republic of Congo, having served there as a Catholic priest and having discovered that being a faithful priest put him at odds with the government of the day.

Jules left the Congo after serving time in prison after challenging the policies of the government of the country.

Part of Jules’ ministry, over the past 15 years or so, has been to lead Tameside African Refugee Association (TARA) based in Ashton-under-Lyne. Discernment of God’s plan for his life has led him into the Anglican church and to move on from TARA.

Jules now is licensed as Priest-in-Charge of St. Lawrence, Denton and will soon take on responsibility for St. Ann, Haughton as well. Both in Denton, both in Ashton Deanery, and both in Manchester Diocese. The licensing service at St. Lawrence’s was led by Bishop Mark Davies and Archdeacon Cherry Vann.Jules’ move to Denton leaves us (The Parish of the Good Shepherd) one member of clergy down. We wish Jules every blessing in his ongoing ministry in this new place and we pray for ourselves that we will revive additional resources for ministry in the centreof Ashton-under- Lyne. The church buildings which will fall within Jules’miniustry role ar e both really interesting structures!

Jules’ installation and licensing were followed by a Confirmation Service at which the Parish of the Good Shepherd presented two candidates for Confirmation. It was a real joy over the past few weeks to be able to do Confirmation preparation with Emma and Evie.

Check out @BishMiddleton’s Tweet:

A day in the llfe of a Manchester Diocese Clergy person!

King’s Lynn Docks Branch – Part 4 (Miscellaneous)

Having completed a series of posts about the Dock Railways of King’s Lynn. I sat down this morning to a realtively relaxed breakfast with a copy of Back Track Magazine from March 2011 to find an article by Mike G. Fell OBE. [1]

The featured image at the top of this post shows the image at the head of the article in Back Track magazine. The resolution is much better in the magazine article. The caption for the main image reads as follows: ‘Alexandra Dock c 1877 after completion of the coal hoist and jetty which can be seen at the top left of the photograph but before construction of the Bentinck Dock. J. T. Cook’s coal depot is in the foreground. Note the dumb-buffered private owner wagons including those owned by Babbington Colliery, Nottingham, E. C. Bridges, the Darlington Coal &Coke Co., John G. Mitchell, Nunnery Colliery, Shweffield, and Colin McOlvin of King’s Lynn. Edward Curzon Bridges (1832-1900) was a King’s Lynn coal merchant.

The article in the Back Track magazine gives an excellent introduction to the Dock Railways of King’s Lynn. The same image from the article header is highlighted in a short discussion on the King’s Lynn Forums about the Fisher Fleet in King’s Lynn. [2]

That image also set me a challenge … to see what else I could find out about private owner wagons which were based in King’s Lynn and may have frequented the Docks.This wagon is featured in a thread on RMWeb and is an O Gauge model. [3]Massingham is close to King’s Lynn [4] The easiest images to find on line are ones of models of local wagons! There are a variety of scales above. The last two come from transfers made by Robbie’s Rolling Stock. [5]I discovered this image while browsing the net. It shows a wagon label for a load being moved from Thorne Colliery to King’s Lynn docks. This is a sample of whatbcan be found online and it links directlybto a site on smugmugnwhich has a lot of copyright images of bills of lading including a number associated with King’s Lynn. [6] [8]

While searching for information about P. O. Wagons I came across a thread on RMWeb started by ‘Mark P’ which prompts me to consider a detailed post about King’s Lynn Railway Station. Definitely something for the future. Just a couple of images from that thread follow. [7]47003 crosses the Tennyson Avenue level crossing bringing a British Industrial Sand train in from Middleton Towers. [7]This shows the view of the diesel refuelling depot as seen from the pedestrian footbridge on Tennyson Avenue. [7]

And finally, for this miscellany, is there any possibility of part of the Docks branch being reopened? This is an interesting question and seems to be tied in with the question of the viability not the reopening of the King’s Lynn to Hunstantion branch. The original route of the nline to Hunstanton followed the boundary of the playing fields of what were King Edward VII Grammar School and then Secondary Modern in Gaywood Park.

The Lynn News posed two possible alternatives in an article in 2018. [9] Their article refers to another article in Rail Magazine by Howard Johnston. Lynn News said: “It is far too early to suggest what route the ‘new’ railway would take. If it left the centre of King’s Lynn on the tracks of the old docks line (which is still technically open), it would run closer to the coast than before, with a joint station possibly serving Snettisham and Dersingham, then Heacham, and a new parkway-style station on the eastern side of Hunstanton. An alternative route is to leave the Middleton Towers freight line at a new junction a little way north of Hardwick estate, with an additional halt at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital.” [9][10]

The newspaper aslo makes it clear that the line could always have been viable. Breeching did not suggest its closure. In fact he saw a future for the line, British Railways deliberately drove away business by cutting out through services, stopping day excursions, sacking staff, and turning stations into unwelcoming unstaffed halts that were prone to decay and vandalism. BR also massaged the figures bybrefusing to include within passenger numbers anyone whose journey originated from south of King’s Lynn. This cut the annual total passenger numbers from over 200,000 to just 40,000 – an 80 per cent fall – it beacme very easy to justify the closure of the line. [9][10]


  1.  Mike G. Fell; ‘The King’s Lynn Docks & Railway Company’; in Michael Blakemore (ed.) Back Track Volume 25 No. 3, March 2011; p144-149.
  2., accessed on 5th November 2018.
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  10., accessed on 6th November 2018. This blog quotes the article in Issue No. 849 of Rail Magazine.

Tramways de l’Aude – Tramways in Narbonne

The city of Narbonne was served by three tramway routes. The first  travelled West to Thezan and the remainder of the network of the Tramways de l’Aude. That tram route is covered in the post which can be found on the link below:

Trams left the station building which was opposite the Gare du Midi and headed South and West through the city before leaving in the direction of Thezan. This was Line No. 1 on the sketch plan below. [16]The tramway station building was small. It can be seen above, just in front of the water tanks outside the Gare du Midi. The tramway itself is also visible above, running from the tramway  station building off to the left of the picture. [1]

The tramway ran on the right-hand side of the Gare du Midi boundary wall and can just be picked out on the adjacent aerial image from 1930s. [17]The tramway building can be seen on the right of this image. [2]The Gare du Midi [3][10]The Gare du Midi with the tramway in front. The water tanks and the tramway station are visible once again. [3]A similar view taken in the early 21st century.A great shot (above) of the tramway station with the Gare du Midi behind and the tramway track just in front – in the bottom left of the picture. [18]

The Gare du Midi building dominates the adjacent picture. The relative size of the tramway building can easily be seen. The building sits to the right of the two watertanks. The tramway can also be seen on the right-hand side of the image. [17]The station shown from the opposite direction. The photographer is standing close to the tramway building. [4]One final postcard view of the station forecourt in the early 1900s. [9]The tram (above) leaves the station and heads Southwest. There are two routes travelling in this direction. The one pictured to the East of the Statue des Combatants and one (not visible) to the West of the statue. The route to the West of the statue is the one which heads for Thezan. The tram in this picture is on the first part of the tramway to Ouveillan. [8]Approximately the same view in the early 21st century.This 1930 aerial image shows the tramway junction to the North of the Statue des Combatants. [17]Taken from the Northeast, this view shows the Statue des Combatants and the approximate alignment of the two tramway routes heading Southwest from the Gare du Midi. Line No. 1 heads for Thezan de Corbieres. Line No. 3 heads Southwest before turning through 180 degrees, passing under the railway line and heading for Ouveillan.A little further Southwest the Boulevard du Gare (now Boulevard Frederic Mistral) met the Boulevard du College (now Boulevard Marcel Sembat). The tramway track was on the left-hand side of the Boulevard du Gare which is on the left of the picture. [10]The same location in the early 21st century.Heading South towards the Canal du Midi. [10]This image shows a tram further along the route to Ouveillan (Line No. 3 on the sketch plan above). It has reached the point on its route which is furthest to the Southwest and is now passing under the standard gauge line before turning Northeast. [13]This image shows the three bridges over the Canal du Midi and I have added the two tramway routes for clarity. Both can be picked out on the image.[5]The same location and again it is just possible to pick out the tramway tracks. [6]The under-bridge in the 21st century.The Standard Gauge Line can be glimpsed in the upper right quadrant of this picture. The bridge carrying what we have called Line No. 1 in just in front of the railway bridge. Line No. 3 does not quite make it onto the right-hand side of the image. [7]A tram returning from Ouveillan. The railway bridge can just be glimpsed in the left background. This location is marked on the sketch plan of the tramways above as a single dot which is elsewhere given the name, ‘Arret Narbonne Ville.’ [15][16]A 21st Century picture of the same location but with the camera much closer to road level. The building on the right is that on he right of the monochrome image and the building on the left clearly match those in the monochrome image above.This picture shows the location of the Arret Narbonne Ville with a tram leaving to the right to head for the Gare du Midi. The same direction as the tram in the monochrome image above. [16]The two tramways are easily seen on this 1930s aerial photograph. Line No. 1 runs from top to bottom of the image, Line No. 3 runs left to right. The Canal du Midi in just off the bottom of the photo. [17]The tramway route to Ouveillan ran along what is now the Quai d’Alsace and then turned Northeast as shown below. The tramway passed under the Standard Gauge line as shown in the 1930 aerial image above and then turned North around the boundary wall of the station goods yard. [17]

It then followed that boundary wall in a northeasterly direction. Its own marshalling yard is shown on the adjacent image. [17]

This location was not the only possible point of exchange between the metre-gauge line and the standard gauge line. The relative size of the facilities is striking. The tramway’s compact facilities kept the tramway overheads low.This image is taken from a point on the bottom edge of the aerial image immediately above looking North into the area of the tramway sidings which has now been completely redeveloped.

The monochrome images above have been aligned to show the tramway running up and down the photograph. It actually ran in a more northeasterly direction. The tramway followed what is now the D913 Rue de Cuxac along the western side of the  large standard gauge facilities until it reached a further series of sidings and a transshipment wharf/shed. [17]This image from the 1930s shows the main tramway route following the banks of the Canal while a branch runs into the Gare du Midi facilities to the East of the D913, where a transshipment wharf and shed are provided. [17]This Google Streetview image shows the line of the tramway to Ouveillan in black and the approximate line of the route into the transshipment yard and wharf in red.The location of the sidings and transshipment shed/wharf in the early 21st Century.

North of the Tramway Station at the Gare du Midi the tramway had further sidings alongside the standard gauge facilities. The third line in Narbonne (Line No. 2, on our sketch plan above) set off North from the Station as well.

On the adjacent aerial image, again from 1930, the transshipment facilities near the line to Ouveillan can be seen in the top left. The tramway station building, bottom centre. The tramway sidings to the East of the Standard Gauge line can just be picked out at the top right of the picture. Careful inspection of the image will show the tramway departing to the East from a point where the sidings begin. This is shown more clearly below.[17]

The modern Avenue de Carnot follows the line of the old road and tramway. The tramway then turns East as on the aerial images from 1930. The road is now known as Rue Beaumarchais. As can be seen on the image immediately above it led to open fields.In the early 21st century the are is now part of the suburbs of Narbonne.

This completes the survey of the tramways in Narbonne. The two routes to Ouveillan and Fleury remain to be covered  as they travel North and East out of the city. Once those posts are completed our survey of the Tramways de l’Aude will also be complete.


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Tramways de l’Aude – Thezan to Narbonne

To begin this next post we return to the junction station of Thezan. The station sits to the Northwest of the village and is covered in the post which can be found on the link below:

For the sake of completeness some of that post is repeated at the start of this blog. …The station location is clearly marked by the red circle on the map above. Some of the infrastructure remains, do the location can be accurately fixed. [2]The four pictures above all show the main station building at Thezan. [3][4] Thezan was a junction station receiving trains from a number of different routes and was one of the busier stations on the network. The two images immediately above show that the main station buildings are still in evidence in the early 21st century, in use as a road maintenance depot. [2]

The junction was to the South east of the town. Trains to Narbonne would bear off to the left.Here a train approaches from Narbonne. The picture shows the telephone booth for the pointman. Given the heavy traffic of passengers and goods, the role of the pointman in Thézan was a position of high responsibility. With the arrival of a train from Narbonne, he had to make sure that no train was due on the common stretch Durban – Port La Nouvelle, then telephone to the train station of Thézan to obtain the authorization to switch the points. [4] There is an excellent page written in French on the site which tells the story of the station. Auto translate in Chrome is a real boon! [4]

There was a small halt in the centre of Thezan at the beginning of Avenue de la Mer. The pictures below show the location early in the 20th and 21st centuries. [3] The tramway junction was to the Southeast of the town. This is the location in 2017. The large buildings on the right of the picture are the Wine Co-operative buildings. When the tramway was in use the D423 did not exist. The 1930s Michelin map show the tramway heading off across the fields towards Montseret and Saint-Andre as below. On arriving at Montseret, the tramway approached the village on Rue de l’Aussou. Its route across the open fields to Montseret is now the D423. It crossed the Ruisseau de Saint-Felix and then dropped away south of the Rue de l’Aussou taking its own route into the village. That route is now the minor road Rue du Tramway and can just be picked out on the South side of Rue de l’Aussou on the OpenStreetMap above.The old tramway bridge on what is now the D423 approaching Montseret. The bridge crosses the Ruisseau de Saint-Felix.The village sign on the Rue de l’Aussou. The ridge, on which Montseret Chateau, sits is just visible beyond the trees above the D423 sign. [5]Montseret Chateau from a distance. [5]The tramway route is the tarmacked narrow road on the right of this image. The Rue de l’Aussou continues in the centre of the picture.The tramway entered the village and then took a route to the north of the D423 through the village. That route is now the Rue de l’Eglise. The three images immediately above show its route. The Chateau can now clearly be seen above the village. The two images above show the approach to the old station site which was close to the Cooperative buildings.Montseret Tramway Station with the church behind. The view is taken looking West-southwest. [6]This view is taken in the same direction at the same location in 2016. The treeline obscures the view. The two images below are taken in opposite directions at this site. The second includes sight of the chateau. [12]The tramway found its own route out of Montseret to the East. The track bed has been tarmacked and is now the Rue des Bergeries. The chateau and its ridge can easily be seen to the North of the old tramway route. Two images taken from close to the Chateau on the ridge above Montseret. [5]The Chateau from the village of Montseret. [7]Should we be focussing on a chateau from the Cathar period in a blog about a tramway from the early 20th century? You might not think so. But this chateau played a significant but small part in the history of the tramway.

The chateau was built in the 10th century. It was an imposing castle, with keep and double ramparts. The name of Moun Séré resulted in its village becoming known as Montséret,. The name comes from ‘sereno’, a small migratory African bird (Bee-eater) which still today comes to nest on top of this rock. [8]In the foreground are the remains of the castle on the rocky outcrop of Roca Longua, and the new village in the plain. In the far left of the picture, the castle of St Martin de Toques, behind in the extension is the massif of the Fontfroide Abbey. [8]

What is surprising is that the crusade against the Albigensians (Cathars) spared the castle. It was not destroyed and indeed survived until around 1550 as a family home/redoubt. Possibly because of the plague, the chateau was abandonned at around that time.

As time passed, the stones of the chateau were used for the construction of the current village and for the low walls between the vines and in the early 20th century they were used to stabilse the embankments of the new tramway! [5]

To the East of Montseret the tramway meets the present D423 on its way towards Saint-Andre-de-Roquelongue.The tramway alignment was along the road to the right in the above image. This view looks back West towards Montseret village. The D423 is on the left.

The old Michelin map shows the tramway route following the old road between Montseret and Saint-Andre-de-Roquelongue to a point just to the West of the Ruisseau de la Caminade.It seems from the 1930s Michelon map and from evidence from aerial photography that the present D423 follows the old tramway route which ran a few metres to the South of the old road. The new alignment of the road can be seen in the 1950s aerial image below. [11]The old road and bridge were just to the North of the tramway and what became the present day D423. [11]The approach to the station site at Saint-Andre.

The tramway then headed straight for Saint-Andre along the route of the present D423. It by-passed the village to the southeast continuing along the line of what is now the D423. The line closed in the 1930s and by the mid-1940s it was a road.

The tramway route is approximately as shown by the pink line on the adjacent 1940s aerial photo. My sketching of the Iine seems to have it to the East of the present road. This is just a slip of the pen as the road follows the route of the old tramway. The station appears to have been sited close to the location of the Co-operative on the South side of the village. I believe that this view is taken looking Northwest through the station site. [13]The route from the centre of the village to the station was known as the Avenue de la Gare, it has a longer name in the early 21st century the Rue de la Cave Cooperative Saint-Andre-de-Roquelongue. The building on the right of the above image is still standing. [13]Two more views, above, of the station. [13]A derailment at Saint-Andre-de-Roquelongue, close to the station site. [13]

The tramway left Saint-Andre-de-Roquelongue along what is now the D423 en route to Bizanet. A short distance beyond Saint-Andre the road crossed the Ruisseau de l’Alvern at a ford and the tramway remained above the watercourse. The modern D423 now follows the route of the tramway.A very early 21st century image of the two routes., looking towards Bizanet. This shows the condition as much the same time as the satellite image was taken.More recently the two short routes have been brought up to the same surfaced standard. This view looks back towards Saint-Andre.The road to Bizanet crossed the GC12 at a staggered junction. The tramway is shown deviating from the road (VO1) south of the GC12 (D613) and rejoining the VO4 North of the GC12 on the 1930s Michelin map above. The staggered junction still exists in the early 21st century, as shown below on the satellite image. The old road reaches the D613 to the right-hand side of the image. The present road running through the middle of the image and reaching the D613 much closer to the road North to Bizanet is the route of the tramway.The picture above shows that the modern D423 crosses the old tramway bridge over the Ruisseau de Saint-Esteve as it approaches the D613 (GC12).

The tramway route to the north side of the main road has been obliterated by the extension of a vineyard across its route. As the adjacent satellite image shows, the route cannot be identified through the field. The red line is an approximation to the route of the tramway.This aerial image from the mid-1940s suggests that the tramway may have dog-legged along the old GC12, although there is some faded evidence in the mage of a route across the field from the portion of the road south of the GC12. Can anyone shed any light on which is the actual route?

North of the GC12 (D613) the tramway continued to follow the line of what is now the D423 across vineyards, around copses and across scrub-land. It passed isolated farms and farm buildings on a relatively straight course across level ground towards Bizanet. The small building in the first colour image below can be seen at the bottom of the adjacent aerial photograph. It is adjacent to the small bridge which appears to be the southern boundary of the grounds of the Monastere de Gaussan which can be seen in plan towards the top of the aerial image. The monastery was an interesting fortified structure as can be seen in the second colour image below.After passing the monastery the tramway continued across relatively flat ground to wards Bizanet.The modern road deviates from the line of the old road and tramway on the approach to Bizanet as the modern road has to climb over the A61 autoroute. The route of the old road and tramway are now lost under the construction of the A61.The tramway route into Bizanet.It appears that as the tramway approached Bizanet it slipped away to the west of the road.

As the aerial photograph shows the route of the tramway is a little unclear. It could have been either the red or green lines show in the photograph. In the early 21st century it is almost impossible to tel. The cemetery has been extended East to meet the road which follows the green line and also southwards over the red alignment.

It would be really helpful if someone with good local knowledge could confirm the tramway route!

The tramway flanked the old village of Bizanet on its western side, before crossing what was a minor road, now the D224 on the West side of the village and reaching the location of the tramway station. The route of the tramway can be picked out to the western edge of this aerieal image from the 1940s. At this time, two important buildings we a little outside the village limits to the West. The Co-operative building and the School(s). [16]

The school buildings are easily seen in these two old postcard pictures of the tramway station at Bizanet.Wagons wait to be loaded adjacent to the station building with the school behind. [14]The school buildings are more easily seen in this image. [15]The station buildings were off this image to the left. [17]

The station site has been lost under the building which survives on the site and which was built in 1935 – the cooperative cellar ‘La Corbière Bizanetoise’. The next three images show that building at different times over the years. [18]The tramway passed to the West of the school grounds and then curved gradually round to the East along the line of the road known in the 21st century as the Rue de la Mouline.This satellite image shows the location of the tramway station circled in green and the approximate tramway alignment in red. These have been imposed on an image from 2016 from Google Earth. Between 1944 and 2016 the village has expanded into the area encircled by the old tramway.The tramway followed the GC12 (D224) Route de Narbonne out of the village to the East.The tramway route slipped to the South of the GC12 (D224) so as to avoid a steep gradient on the road.It then followed the southern shoulder of the highway for a few hundred metres. Before diverting away onto its own route once again as the road began to climb.The line of the old tramway can just be picked out below the road in this image.The line of the old tramway through the campsite to the East of Bizanet.The thin red line shows the approximate tramway route to the East of Bizanet including the length through the campsite. The tramway stays both South of the road and at lower altitude.This 1930s map shows the line approaching the more southerly arm of the GC12 (D613) on the South side of the more northerly arm of the GC12 (D224). On reaching the southerly arm of the GC12 (D613) the tramway crossed the road and took up a position on the southern shoulder of the road. It remained there through the halt for Montredon until close to the junction with the N113 (D6113) where it cut off the corner between the two roads and then took up a place on the southern shoulder of the N113 (D6113) heading into Narbonne.The route outlined above is shown on a more up-to-date map from Google Maps.Looking back from the D613 along the SC113 which follows the line of the old tramway.A little further to the East looking across the vineyards towards Narbonne.The modern D613 curves towards the North as the route of the old tramway continues in a northeasterly direction. This is the approximate location of the halt which served Montredon-des-Corbieres.

The tramway stayed right at this location and ran on to join the N113 (D6113) to the East of Montredon and then crossed the standard gauge line which ran East into Narbonne.The original crossing of the mainline was via a level crossing which the road and tramway shared. The old alignment can just be picked out to the East of the modern D6113 bridge over the standard gauge line.Looking back along the D6113 to the railway bridge. The old route joins the newer road from the left and then follows the D6113 towards Narbonne and on onto the Avenue de Bordeaux as the city suburbs pass by.Avenue de Bordeaux on the way into Narbonne, courtesy of Google Streetview.A sketch plan of the centre of Narbonne showing the tramway network alongside the rail network. There were three tramway routes in Narbonne, our route enters from the bottom left of the sketch. The other two lines will be for a future post. [21]The centre of Narbonne, showing the route of the old tramway from Thezan, courtesy of Google Earth.The entrance of the promenade close to the Gare du Midi in Narbonne. [19]Porte Neuve. [20]The Gare du Midi, Narbonne. [22]The Gare du Midi, Narbonne. [23]A general view of Narbonne. [24]

In the next post we will look more carefully at the tramways and the railways in Narbonne. Suffice to say, today, that we have arrived in Narbonne!


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