Social History

It was all about the People

Engines. Tracks. Sidings. Sheds. Stations.

These mean nothing if the most important ingredient of the story is missing………people.

Train drivers, guards, ticket sellers, managers, builders, track men, signalmen.

Without the people the railway wouldn’t have started and couldn’t ever have operated.

The trains carried tens of thousands of people over the years all of whom will have had a memory of the Hayling Billy. This section is dedicated to those people. Those who worked on the railway and those who travelled on her. If you have a story about someone you know or something you remember about “the Billy” please tell us. No matter how trivial you may seem the story to be it will be another brick in the wall.

It is all about the People.

What excitement for my two sisters and me when we caught the train from Portchester to Havant and then waited to board the Hayling Billy. This would be a regular summer treat at the weekend or during the school holidays for the family in the 1950s, with Dad loaded up with towels and bathing costumes, and sharing food [...]

It was around the mid 1950s when I set out on an occasional venture.  I was carrying a one-year-old daughter and holding the hand of the other as we boarded the bus from Cowplain to Havant Station. There we clambered aboard the Hayling Billy for the lovely scenic journey across the sea to Hayling. After the long [...]

In 1947 I was living in Highgate. (I was aged 7). We got a taxi to Waterloo, then the train to Havant, then the Hayling Billy. We walked up to Warner's Southleigh Holiday camp, in St Mary's Road. Before we left we packed a trunk with all our holiday gear. The trunk was picked up by the rail company [...]

Rowena lived in West Lane and could see the train across her garden. As a child aged 7, Rowena and her sisters loved to watch the trains go by; they also used the trains as clocks as they used to run regularly. She has memories of the crackling of the corn; this happened because the [...]

SIR THOMAS BOUCH (1822 – 1880) was born near Carlisle and lived in Edinburgh. In 1850, when engineer and manager to the Edinburgh and Northern Railway, he introduced the first roll on roll off ferry service in the world, across the Firth of Forth from Granton to Burntisland, in Fife. Launched in 1858, the paddle [...]

These wooden set squares which came into the possession of local Havant builders are inscribed: Cut in Leigh Park 1853. The day that George Couzens was killed on the SCR railway commonly called 'Old Brooksey'. 1889 1853 36 years ago Looks bad The remaining words are not readily decipherable. A typed copy of the burial [...]

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