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Journey back to the days before family cars

Posted on 9 February 2017

Trikes, trams and trips on the train

How did we get anywhere before cars? It’s incredible how quickly cars have taken over and so many modes of transport have taken a back seat or disappeared all together. There was a time when your own two legs were the only way to get around!

The world may have been much smaller when we were young – a trip to the seaside felt a long way from home - but we explored every inch of it and knew every lane, tree, pond and hidey hole like the back of our hands.

So, take a seat on the top deck and travel back in time to the days when bikes, homemade carts and all manner of public transport ruled the streets and captured our hearts forever.

First trips out in a coach

A highly polished coach pram that is, chauffeured by your very proud mum.

They were the height of luxury; plenty of space for a nap and a backrest to prop you up and show you off to the neighbours. And they came in handy for carrying the shopping mum bought while you waited outside. Just had to hope she didn’t go home without you!

baby-in-knitted-bonnet-and-mittens-sitting-in-a-coach-pram

Pram wheels on bogeys, trolleys, gliders and jiggers

Whatever they were called down your way, homemade carts were the best way to travel. Hours spent searching for old pram wheels and knocking about in the shed, so you could hurtle headlong down the street with no brakes, just trees and walls to stop you. Worth every cut and bruise wasn’t it?

young-boy-sitting-on-a-bogey-being-pushed-by-another-boy

Bikes and trikes

Did your first bike have a few not-so-careful owners before you? And did anyone actually have stabilisers?

Learning to ride a bike was as a case of get the hang of it quick or fall off… a lot! And there was no helmet to protect your bonce. Of course, if you had a three-wheeler with a special little box on the back, then you were safe as houses.

boy on a trike in front of a group of children playing in the street

Road safety in the playground

There wasn’t much health and safety around in those days but we did have to do things by the book. Kids who wanted to cycle to school had to get their cycling proficiency certificate and badge first. Cycling around the playground under the watchful eye of the local PC never quite matched the reality of the open road though…

metadata-journey-back-to-the-days-before-family-cars

Trips on trams and trolleybuses

The electric trolleybuses hummed along almost silently bar the odd thrilling flash and screech of sparks overhead. Tram conductors were like wizards, expertly flicking switches to pass over intersections and negotiate tight corners. But the best bit of tram travel was probably flipping the seat over to face the direction of travel…

busy-tram-stop-in-a-city-centre

‘Hold tight, all fares please’

To ride a double decker you just hopped on the back. It didn’t even matter if the bus was moving! The ever cheerful (and ever smart) Clippy would be ready and waiting to spin you out a ticket from the chunky machine around their necks.

There was only one place to sit, and that was on the top deck right in front of the big window so you could pretend you were driving the bus.

children-playing-in-a-toy-double-decker-bus

A sidecar for a family car

If your family was lucky enough to have its own transport, it wasn’t necessarily a nice comfy car. It could well have been Dad’s motorbike and a sidecar with the whole family squeezed in. How the bike managed to move with mum on the back and grandma, two kids and the luggage all in the sidecar is a mystery!

small-boy-peeping-out-the-top-of-a-motorbike-sidecar

Watching locomotives go by

There was something enchanting about the sound, the smell and the billowing smoke of a steam train. Kids clutching platform tickets and notepads would hover around stations eagerly awaiting the next steam train with pencils poised to jot down its number. Still not sure why…

crowd-of-girls-and-boys-on-a-station-platform-watching-a-steam-train

And finally… train trips to the seaside

The magic of steam trains didn’t end there. A day out or holiday by the seaside was as much about the journey there as the destination.

Bags packed, bucket and spade in hand, waiting for the train, whistles blowing, the constant clacketty-clack and the views from the window of towns and countryside so different to home, made for an unforgettable adventure.

boy-on-train-platform-sitting-on-bags-holding-a-bucket-and-spade

What do you remember best about getting about when you were a kid? And what was your favourite way to travel? We’d love to hear your recollections of the days before cars ruled the road.

If you enjoyed being transported back to your childhood travels, you may also enjoy first cars and how much we paid, memories of a post war childhood or the 1950s home – when we never had it so good.

SunLife offers a range of straightforward and affordable products including over 50s life insurance, funeral plans, equity release, pet insurance, home insurance, car insurance, ISAs and Will writing services.

Here's the information that you need to know about who we are and the other companies that we work with in order to provide our products and services.

Who are SunLife? 

Phoenix Life Limited trades as SunLife and is the provider of the Guaranteed Over 50 Plan, SunLife Insurance and the life insurance policy payment option for Funeral Plans. Phoenix Life Limited’s registered office is at 1 Wythall Green Way, Wythall, Birmingham, B47 6WG (registered in England, no. 1016269). Phoenix Life Limited is authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority and is entered on the Financial Services Register (registration no. 110418). As part of SunLife’s commitment to quality service and security, telephone calls may be recorded.

SunLife Limited distributes financial products and services and is a company limited by shares, registered office: 1 Wythall Green Way, Wythall, Birmingham, B47 6WG (registered in England, no. 05460862). SunLife Limited is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and is entered on the Financial Services Register (registration no. 769427).

You can contact us by post at SunLife, PO Box 1395, Peterborough, PE2 2TR or by phone on 0800 008 6060.

If you choose to add Funeral Benefit Option to your Guaranteed Over 50 Plan the funeral services are arranged and provided by Dignity Funerals Limited. Dignity Funerals Limited is a company registered in England and Wales No. 00041598. VAT registered No. 486 6081 14. 4 King Edwards Court, King Edwards Square, Sutton Coldfield, West Midlands, B73 6AP. Telephone No. 0121 354 1557. Fax No. 0121 355 808. Part of Dignity plc. A British Company. Dignity is not authorised or regulated for this activity by the Financial Conduct Authority or the Prudential Regulation Authority but is a member of the National Association of Funeral Directors.

Who provides the Funeral Plans?

The funeral services are arranged and provided by Dignity Funerals Ltd which is not authorised or regulated for this activity by the Financial Conduct Authority or the Prudential Regulation Authority but is a member of the National Association of Funeral Directors.

The life insurance policy that pays for your funeral will be provided by Phoenix Life Limited, trading as SunLife.

Who provides My Smarter (ISA)?

My Smarter (ISA) is provided by Scottish Friendly Asset Managers Limited. Authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. Details can be found on the Financial Services register, registration No. 188832. Member of The Investment Association. Registered Office: Scottish Friendly House, 16 Blythswood Square, Glasgow G2 4HJ.

Who provides the Will writing services?

Hugh James is authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA Number:303202).

The information contained on this website is based on Hugh James' understanding of the law of intestacy in England and Wales only as at April 2014. The law in Scotland and Northern Ireland is significantly different. This is for information purposes and is not intended to be legal advice.

Who provides Family Life Insurance?

SunLife Family Life Insurance is provided by Scottish Friendly Assurance Society Limited which is authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority. Details can be found on the Financial Services register (registration number 110002). Registered Office: Scottish Friendly House, 16 Blythswood Square, Glasgow G2 4HJ. 

Who provides SunLife Pet Insurance

SunLife Pet Insurance is arranged and administered by BDML Connect Limited. BDML Connect Limited is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (No. 309140). Registered in England and Wales Number 02785540. Registered Office: 45 Westerham Road, Bessels Green, Sevenoaks, Kent, TN13 2QB.

Who provides SunLife Home Insurance

SunLife Home Insurance is arranged and administered by BISL Limited and underwritten by a panel of insurers. BISL Limited are an intermediary authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. Registered in England no. 03231094. Registered office Pegasus House, Bakewell Road, Orton Southgate, Peterborough PE2 6YS.

Who provides SunLife Car Insurance

SunLife Car Insurance is arranged and administered by BISL Limited and underwritten by a panel of insurers. BISL Limited are an intermediary authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. Registered in England no. 03231094. Registered office Pegasus House, Bakewell Road, Orton Southgate, Peterborough PE2 6YS.