Friday 9 June 2023

The Devon Belle

 Front & Rear End Friday, I say….

A once in a lifetime achievement photograph as celebrity snapper Ivan Locksmith manages to capture the passing of the up and down Devon Belle, or is it down and up? I’m sure you the loyal viewer/reader will be able to tell from the angle of the light and highly distinctive giveaway location. 

Travelling in the observation coach, retired bank robber and stockbroker Edwin Smythe-Groom-Pynch, his feeble son Hilary (known as Hells Bells by his public school mates) and timid semi estranged wife Fiona ‘Fifi’ are travelling in style. When booking the tickets he thought that the observation car would be facing forward in the direction of travel. He has however calmed down after having a go at the locomotive fireman who handed him a lump of burning coal from the firebox as a thank you souvenir for being so delightful and charming. 

The Devon Belle, reputedly named after pole dancer in a Soho club frequented by leading members of the Southern Railway publicity department was an express train which ran between London Waterloo, Plymouth and Ilfracombe. When ordering tickets, you couldn’t choose your final destination, whether you ended up in Plymouth or Ilfracombe being left to the whim of the ticket office. Your tickets were sold in a gilt envelope which could only be opened after purchase. For this reason, the service only ran between 1947 and 1954, the wealthy moving to air travel to continue the joy of never quite knowing where they or their luggage might end up. 


And finally, thank you to those who support the nonsense

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