Star Letter: The 1956 show

Published: 07:31AM Jul 5th, 2013
By: Web Editor
In the May issue of TCM, your correspondent Martin Taylor had a little gripe about grammar
Star Letter: The 1956 show

Trafalgar Square in 1956. Note the sparse traffic and no tourists

Please would you permit me to get one off my chest that’s niggled me for a long time. Your scribes frequently refer to gear and brake levers as ‘foot pedals’. A pedal is by definition a foot-operated lever, so to say ‘foot pedal’ is a tautology. A pedal can only be operated by a foot.

Now that’s off my chest let me say how much I enjoy the magazine. I’m a subscriber and have been an avid reader since its inception. In the same issue I particularly liked the ‘Straight from the plate’ article featuring the 1956 Show.

My pal and I travelled down to it overnight from Huddersfield on my 1937 250cc AJS arriving in London on the Saturday morning. We found digs at a B&B in Paddington and left the bike outside to await the return journey on Sunday – I doubt I would risk that nowadays!

It was then off into central London to have some breakfast before heading for Earls Court. We’d been to previous shows by train, but it was always a thrill for a teenager to walk through those doors and be faced with such a glittering array of machinery. Your photographs brought it all back. Wasn’t that the year of the strange, never to be seen again, Commanders? I still have some catalogues from the show.

On the Sunday morning we rode into central London and watched the changing of the guard before setting out for home. It was that weekend that the government appealed to all motorists to stay at home to conserve fuel. It was, of course, the time of the Suez crisis.

As a result, the roads were indeed very quiet and we almost had them to ourselves. Our return journey took us up the Great North Road which at that time had no dual carriageways and went through all the towns and villages. Lunch stop was an old coaching inn in Stilton. A very pleasant journey on a grey but dry November day. Ah – happy times!

Keep up the good work, the magazine just gets better.

Dave Whitworth, Huddersfield

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