Britain post 1945

Season 2019 / 2020 – Talk 16 – Britain post 1945

In Britain post 1945 Michael A’Bear tells us about the how Britain evolved in the period between 1945 and the late 1960s. The talk focuses on the changing political landscape and its results.

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Beveridge and the Labour Landslide

Britain post 1945 starts with the report published by William Beveridge in November 1942. The foundations of the Welfare State stem from this report. The post-war Labour government implemented many of the proposals.

Although Britain was virtually bankrupt after the war and rationing expanded, the Labour government brought in social reforms including the National Health Service. They also nationalised industries including the mines and the railways.

Attlee’s administration also started to give independence to parts of the Empire although the partition of the Indian sub-continent resulted in a great deal of violence.

Attlee returned with a reduced majority in the 1950 election.

Churchill returns

Winston Churchill led the Conservative party to victory in the 1951 General Election. Michael tells us that Anthony Eden expected to take over early in the administration but Churchill seemed reluctant to step down.

Eden became Prime Minister in April 1955 and was victorious in the May 1955 election.


The leader of Egypt, Gamal Abdel Nasser nationalised the Suez Canal in 1956. The British and French governments misread the signals from the US and invaded the area around the canal. Eden snatched defeat from the jaws of victory and this led to Harold Macmillan replacing him.

You’ve never had it so good

Harold Macmillan moved into 10 Downing Street in January 1957. Macmillan created an image of calm and style. The cartoonist Vicky, in the Evening Standard, dubbed him Supermac. Intended as mockery it backfired and Macmillan relished the image.

Macmillan was skilled in foreign relations and was a supporter of decolonisation. He spent much of his time of international issues.

Macmillan won the 1959 General Election with an increase in his majority. This was possibly the high point of his administration.

The economy declined and the balance of payments were in a dire state and Macmillan was losing popularity. Because of this Macmillan fired eight ministers, including the Chancellor of the Exchequer, in his 1962 reshuffle. It is known as the knight of the long knives; because of this the Liberal MP Jeremy Thorpe said ‘greater love hath no man than this, than to lay down his friends for his life’.

The beginning of the end for Supermac.

Out with the old, in with the new

Michael then takes us through the Conservative leadership contest in 1963. Macmillan resigned as he had been diagnosed with prostrate cancer. The grandees of the party selected Alec Douglas Home as his successor. There was a year until the next Election.

Harold Wilson and the Labour party won the election of October 1964 with a small majority.

The 1960s – if you remember them you weren’t there

The talk concludes with a discussion of the Wilson administrations. These took place in a rapidly changing environment with youth coming to the fore. We end in 1968, one of the most revolutionary years since 1848. There was even violence in Grosvenor Square!

About this podcast:

The Farnham u3a site is found here.

This podcast is also available through the Amazon Music, Apple Podcasts, Castbox, Deezer, Podchaser, Spotify and Stitcher ‘apps’.

AKM Music has licensed Media Magazine for use as the theme music.

© The MrT Podcast Studio and Farnham u3a World History Group 2021

The Pacific Surfliner (2)

The Pacific Surfliner (2) – US Rail Journeys Series 2 Episode 26

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Arriving at the Santa Fe Depot in San Diego:

The Pacific Surfliner (2) opens as the train reaches San Diego downtown. The station is called the Santa Fe Depot. It was built in the Mission Style and the main entrance at the front looks like a Cathedral! (See Photograph 009).

The station has a wonderful tiling. The domes are particularly splendid (see photograph 010) and is a good example of the importance attached to railways when the station was opened in 1915.

The station is the southern terminus for Amtrak’s Pacific Surfliner and the North County Transit District’s Coaster services. It is also on the Green Line of the San Diego Trolley light rail service. In 2019 the trolley was the 5th most used light rail system with over 38 million rides.

The amazing tile work continues inside in the main ticket hall / waiting area although some of the facilities provided at the station would benefit from modernisation.

We start the journey north:

The northbound Pacific Surfliner retraces the route I took a few hours before. We pass the Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve which, although it is within the San Diego city limits, is one of the wildest stretches of land on the southern California coast.

As we pass along the coast the weather improves, the sun appears, and we pass along the stunning coastline. Solana Beach, Oceanside and San Clemente Pier soon pass and we take a final look at the ocean before heading inland.

The stations quickly roll by:

San Juan Capistrano, Irvine, Santa Ana, Anaheim and Fullerton quickly pass. We’re soon on the final approach into Los Angeles Union Station. I reach the end of my six thousand three hundred and twenty two mile journey across the United States.

All I have left is a night at the Doubletree hotel in Downtown LA before leaving for my flight home. The hotel has served as a base on this trip. This is the third time that I’ve passed through LA in two weeks. I’ve received immaculate service from the very helpful staff.

10th April – homeward bound:

I make my way back to Union Station one last time. The Airport bus runs from the plaza. As I pass through the station I decide to have one final treat. I ask Marco to shine my shoes. The Best Shoeshine and Repair really is the best! My shoe have never shined so bright. In September 2019 they featured in an article in the Los Angeles Daily News.

With shining shoes I go along the station under track walkway one last time to the FlyAway Airport bus service to Los Angeles airport. It is a bargain at $9.75!

Soon I’m London bound on the British Airways service from Los Angeles to London. My flight was changed so I’m on a 747. BA used to have the largest 747 fleet, I think they had 55 at one time. I’ve always felt very safe and comfortable in a 747. Little did I realise that this would be the last time I’d fly in a BA 747 as Covid 19 has led to withdrawal of the Queen of the Skies fleet.

Next up:

I hope that you’ve enjoyed this podcast. If so, please join me one day in the future when I’ve been able to make Series 3.

In series 3 I plan to travel from Miami to New York taking either the Silver Service or Palmetto. Then I plan to take the Crescent from New York to New Orleans followed by the Texas Eagle from Los Angeles to Chicago. The final part of the journey looks to be the Lake Shore Limited from Chicago to Boston.


To visit the Amtrak website please follow this link.

You can also listen to this podcast on Amazon Music, iTunes/Apple Podcasts, Castbox, Deezer, Podchaser, Spotify and Stitcher.

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AKM Music has licensed the theme, Steam Railway for use in this podcast.

Joseph McDade has licensed Midnight Cruise Remaster for use in this  podcast.

© The MrT Podcast Studio 2019 – 2021

Surrey’s Wildflowering Project

Episode 10 – Surrey’s Wildflowering Project

Welcome to Surrey’s Wildflowering Project, a podcast made as part of the Surrey’s Greener Future initiative.

Surrey County Council asked people to submit ideas to help combat the climate crisis in September 2019 . They selected ten ideas from the submissions.

Surrey’s Widflowering project

I last met Nigel Collin in January 2020 before the Covid pandemic really took off. Nigel is the driving force behind the Wildflowering Project. Surrey County Council selected this as part of the Surrey’s Greener Future Programme.

Nigel tells us about the progress that the project has made during 2020. Many might think that the pandemic would stop the project. Not so!

Slowed but not stopped

Nigel tells us that progress has been made. They managed to seed some verges. A team has been set up to move the project forward. There are a wide range of skills on the team. The team includes people from the county highways department, local councillors and experts on natural environments.

Progress in spite of issues

In a Episode 5 Nigel told me that there were a number of issues with his original concept. He has worked with Surrey County Council to come up with acceptable workarounds.

He may not have achieved everything he hoped to do but there has been significant progress!

View the pictures that accompany this podcast:

The pictures are taken from two .PDF files that are available below. Please click on a thumbnail to open the gallery:

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For an introduction to the project please click here.

And for a leaflet about the project please click here..

The ‘Surrey’s Greener Future’ podcasts:

Please use any of the material in order to support your own initiatives to Combat Climate Change because each of us really can make a difference!

In addition to this web-page this podcast is available on Amazon Music, iTunes/Apple Podcasts, Castbox, Deezer, Podchaser, Spotify and Stitcher.

Like to comment on this podcast?


AKM Music has licensed Perfect Circle for use as the theme and for use as incidental music in this episode.

The pictures and .PDF files used in this podcast are used with the permission of Nigel Collin.

© The MrT Podcast Studio 2021

The Pacific Surfliner (1)

The Pacific Surfliner (1) – US Rail Journeys Series 2 Episode 25

Leaving Los Angeles Union Station:

The Pacific Surfliner (1) opens as I board the train. My morning has been bit fraught as I didn’t realise that you needed ID in order to buy a railway ticket! I had to go back to my hotel, grab my passport and get back to the station to get my ticket and board the train.

At least I make the train with 5 minutes to spare.

It appears that quite a few people board this train instead of the northbound Coast Starlight. The conductor makes an announcement to ensure that there are no stray passengers.

As we leave Los Angeles we pass through an industrial area.


The Pacific Surfliner reaches our first stop at Fullerton. I stopped here on the Southwest Chief nearly two weeks ago. Nearly 400,000 passengers used the station in 2017. We pass through the usual industrial belt as we leave town.


Anaheim is our next stop. This is a very modern looking station. Thruway buses operate from the station for those going to the Disneyland® Resort; Amtrak passengers travel for free.

Santa Ana:

The historic looking station at Santa Ana. The station opened in 1985 and cost $17 million to build. It is amazing as the station looks so traditional. We leave Santa Ana on time!


The next station is Irvine; another modern station opened in 1990.

As we travel south from Irvine we pass through some lovely countryside. The stations come pretty quickly on this line!

San Juan Capistrano:

As we progress south places seem more laid back. At San Juan Capistrano much of the station appears to be a bar-restaurant. It does benefit from some lovely palm trees. The town claims some antique shops, quaint cafes and historic (!) buildings.

San Clemente, Oceanside and Solana Beach:

We return to the coast shortly before we reach San Clemente station. The train stops next to the magnificent pier. If the sun had been shining I might have got out and paddled in the sea.

Our next stop is at the beach community of Oceanside where the weather is certainly getting better.

Our journey along the coast is magnificent.

We soon reach Solana Beach. You really can understand why the Beach Boys made such happy music!

San Diego Old Town

This episode ends as we make the very short stop at San Diego Old Town station.

View the photographs that accompany this podcast:

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Next up:

I hope that you’ve enjoyed this podcast. If so, please join me in two weeks time when I reach San Diego on the Pacific Surfliner , look around the station and then return to  Los Angeles.


To visit the Amtrak website please follow this link.

You can also listen to this podcast on Amazon Music, iTunes/Apple Podcasts, Castbox, Deezer, Podchaser, Spotify and Stitcher.


AKM Music has licensed the theme, Steam Railway, and excerpts from Corporate for use in this podcast.

© The MrT Podcast Studio 2019 – 2021

Remedies of Days Past

Season 2019 / 2020 – Talk 15 – Remedies of Days Past

In Remedies of Days Past Lorna Thomas tells us about the remedies and supplements that her mother used. This is a talk full of the traditional cures that many of us will remember! The talk starts with hand washing, something that came back into vogue in 2020.


Lorna continues by telling us of a rather delightful food supplement called Virol. According to the advertising this was a supplement that was essential for all children. Fortunately most children who were fed it were not aware of the ingredients.


The talk continues with a beverage used by many at bedtime. We hear the story of this famous beverage introduced by the Horlick brothers in 1873.

The brand was independent until 1969 when the Beecham Group acquired the company. They then became part of GSK. Today Aimia Foods owns the UK business is owned by and Unilever the Indian part.

Liquorice and Senna Pods

We learn about the importance of these two naturally occurring plants in keeping people healthy.

Germolene and Savlon

These two antiseptic creams have been around for a long time. They are both in everyday use today.

Bicarbonate of Soda

Baking soda, sodium bicarbonate, has many uses in addition to helping cakes rise. We lean of its uses in cleaning and deodorising as well. A very useful item.

Glycerin, lemon and honey

Another remedy, this time to sooth a sore throat. Today often just hot lemon and honey.


Often thought of as a modern activity this was practiced by our parents. I well remember the man who collected salvage from our home. There really is nothing new!

To view the slides accompanying this talk:

Please click on a thumbnail to open the gallery:

About this podcast:

The Farnham U3A site is found here.

This podcast is also available through the Amazon Music, Apple Podcasts, Castbox, Deezer, Podchaser, Spotify and Stitcher ‘apps’.

AKM Music has licensed Media Magazine for use as the theme music.

© The MrT Podcast Studio and Farnham U3A World History Group 2020