Tuesday, August 05, 2008
At the beginning of our time in Lancashire we were driving up to Leighton Hall and as we went through Carnforth DH spotted a secondhand book shop in a side street. On Saturday we went back to Carnforth to investigate it. The car park was outside the Railway Station and as I looked at the entrance I saw a sign advertising the Brief Encounter Refreshment Room and suddenly I realised that it was at Carnforth Railway Station that the film Brief Encounter was made in 1945 just before the end of WW2.
Carnforth bacame Milford Junction and it was under this clock that Laura and Alec used to meet. This particular location was chosen because it was far to the north of London and consequently safe from air raids by this stage of the War. Filming was done between 10pm and 6am so that there would be no interference with the normal rail traffic.
You'll need to click on this photo to read the history of the clock. Carnforth Station became near derelict after being closed in the 1960s.In 1996 The Carnforth Station and Railway Trust was formed by a combination of railway enthusiasts and fans of the film Brief Encounter. They raised enough money to restore the station to the way it was when Brief Encounter was made and it was re-opened to the public in 2003.
The entrance to the Refreshment Room where Laura and Alec first met. For those who don't know the film, it is the story of a brief, ill-starred love affair between Laura(Celia Johnson) and Alec (Trevor Howard) which is based on a short play by Noel Coward called Still Life. It is a real weepy and appears on TV quite regularly still so if you haven't seen it before do watch it. It's gentle, inoffensive and sad - just right for a wet Sunday afternoon. It's one of my favourite fims.
The Refreshment Room restored to the way it was in the film though looking a touch smarter than it would have done then I suspect! It would have been hive of activity during the War as Carnforth was a busy junction with troop trains passing through constantly. Steam trains still run from here on a regular basis at weekends.
Another shot of the Refreshment Room, I'd have liked to take one of the tables but people were sitting there so I didn't feel that I should.
A real touch of nostalgia with the porter's trolley and a stack of period luggage. The station also has a Visitor Centre with a shop and various exhibitions, next time I'll make sure I arrive early enough to go in there! We went to the secondhand bookshop first and by the time we got back at 4pm the Visitor Centre was closing. We shall definitely be going back to Carnforth because the bookshop was a real find, a treasure trove of old books on several floors with all sorts of nooks and crannies and little stairs.
B Baggins Esq is with us on our excursions of course and his reward for being a good boy and staying quietly in the car was a stop in Garstang on the way home for a run in the Millenium Green which is a pleasant piece of countryside by the side of the River Wyre with a lovely wildflower area. This is B Baggins with his daddy!