Therefore all seasons shall be sweet to thee,
Whether summer clothe the general earth
With greeness, or the redbreast sit and sing
Betwixt the tufts of snow on the bare branch
Of mossy apple-tree, while the nigh thatch
Smokes in the sun-thaw; whether the eave-drops fall
Heard only in the trances of the blast,
Or if the secret ministry of frost
Shall hang them up in silent icicles,
Quietly shining to the quiet Moon.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Brief Encounter

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!


Janet said...

I've never seen that film but now I want sounds like one I'd enjoy. And I'll have some background on the scenery!

That bookstore sounds wonderful! I'm sure I could spend hours just browsing.

It's good to have you back home.

Remiman said...

Old movies,(of a certain genre), old train stations, and most importantly (from this old duffer's perspective) old book shops are the best of excursions.
The only thing better would be castles and kings and Merlin's magic. Oh, and an old church or two would ice the cake. ;-)

PAT said...

It is a sad movie, but I might just watch it again, sometime, if given the chance, just to see this station!

I love that it's been saved. So many of our old depots have been torn down. The one here in our town and the one in my old home town are gone. I think they were taken down, before the realization that these old buildings are valuable pieces of history.

Wonderful post as usual, Rowan. Beautiful photography. I love the shot of B Baggins with his Dad.

Lynda (Granny K) said...

Glad you had a good break Rowan.

I remember stations like that and steam trains from when I was little. I've passed through Carnforth station when heading north by train, but never actually got off there. Thanks for showing us inside the buffet.
Nice to see a pic of your DH and BB enjoying the walk.

Julie said...

I have never heard of that movie. I will have to check it out.

Thanks for all the lovely info. Good to see Mr. B. Baggins again.

Rosie said...

How fascinating,both the station and the bookshop sound wonderful places to visit, I love old rickety floored book shops and the station and visitor centre sounds like an excellent day out. I remember watching the film one afternoon - it may very well have been a wet Sunday - it is very sad but a wonderful film, if they sell it on DVD it should come with a complimentary packet of tissues:)

Anonymous said...

What a lovely post! Loved seeing the your puppy and his Daddy! Thanks for sharing England and your life with all of us!


Mousie/Paisible said...

Brief Encounter, what a gorgeous film ! so nice to remember it with your photos...hope you are well dear...keep you in my thoughts...

Mary said...

Gosh Rowan, we just rented Brief Encounter last month - it was lovely and sad. Thank you so much for this story of the station and the clock - how wonderful that it has all been preserved.

Your dh and doggie look content in that lovely country setting. Glad you have sunshine - my cousins and friends in Devon have grown webbed feet - rain and more rain day after day!

I will be in Devon next Spring and hope so much the weather will be good. We haven't been there in that season in a while - I long to see English primroses again!

Hope life is good - take care.
Hugs - Mary.

Bovey Belle said...

Gosh - Brief Encountger - it's years since I've seen that. I must look out for it on tv again - just fancy having a wet weepy afternoon! Carnforth sounds just my cup of tea Rowan - esp. as it has a 2nd hand bookshop!

Remiman - I live in the land of castles, kings and Merlin's Magic (Merlin's Hill is just down the road from us) and we have a few good old churches too, for good measure . . . I'm about to have a castles week on my blog too.

solsticedreamer said...

oh i shall be on the look out for this film now! and i would love to go and have a cup of tea there!

lila said...

What a wonderful visit to the agriculture show! I grew up on a farm so it was fun to see that!
Thanks for the reference to the film, Brief Encounter...I'll look for it!

willow said...

This is one of my favorite movies of all time!!! I own a beautiful lusciously clear new DVD copy and watch it more often than I care to admit. Trevor Howard makes me melt! I thoroughly enjoyed this post. :D

Willow x o