Lobby Lud 1938

Arthur. E. Bensley


During the summer of 1938, I would have been seven years old. The school holidays meant long days spent at the beach . I was more fortunate than a lot of kids, with my father having the beach site opposite the Ravine, whilst mother did apartments. This entailed visiting Holidaymakers who would book a dining room /lounge plus bedrooms for a specific period. They would have to supply their own food, which they then presented to the landlady who cooked and served all meals. After the war, this practice was discontinued, to be replaced by Bed & Breakfast or Full Board.

Many happy hours were spent on the beach site, where my father would always have a tent available for the family, and always a beach hut in the low season. The ponies and donkeys at that time were tied to a rail close to the fountain on the Gorleston Lower Marine Parade at the bottom of the Ravine.They would take their little customers as far as the yacht pond and back for sixpence. I would wait until 5 p.m. and was then given a pony ride home, as they always passed our house on Pavilion Road as they made their way along the quay to the marshes on Southtown Common. Somehow the summers seemed to consist of long hot days, kids attire always included plimsoles, canvas shoes for P.T.at school, which came in handy for the beach during the summer months. When I think of the toys for boys during the mid 1930ís, I regret not hanging on to the lead soldiers, boxes of beautifully made model racing cars, plus those Dinky Toys! I had a mint condition flying boat (The Singapore clipper, amongst my collection,) which alone fetches thousands today. The childrenís comics. My first comic was Chicís Own, after which I graduated up to Tiger Timís Weekly, In 1936 I had the first Mickey Mouse comic. (Volume1 No.1 February 8th 1936.) I still have it today, I guess it must be worth a few dollars by now.

I only wish I had kept those Dinky Toys!   Then came The Dandy in 1937, followed by the Beano and Magic in 1938. My sister had (Pegís Paper and The Girls Crystal.) My elder brother had (The Boys Own Paper) and (Modern Wonder.) the first issue of Modern Wonder came out on May 22nd 1937 price two pence. I have No.1 in mint condition, plus the next consecutive 60 copies. I should really make an effort to sell them.

Then I started reading the 2d comics like the Film Fun, Radio Fun, The Knockout, and The Hotspur, Rover, Wizard and last but not least, The Champion.

As I grew up we had Everybodyís Weekly, Picture Post, John Bull etc.

The daily papers at that time were the Daily Mirror and Daily Sketch, as tabloids, amongst the broadsheets we had the Daily Mail with my favourite cartoon strip Teddy Tail. The Daily Mail promoted their paper during the summer months with a stunt involving a character named Lobby Lud. His silhouette would appear in the paper the day prior to his visit.to a seaside town; the idea was that you had to try to spot him. If you thought you had got it right, and with a copy of the Daily Mail under your arm, you had to approach him and issue a challenge, in these exact words. (You are Lobby Lud and I claim the Daily Mail five pound prize.) When you realise one could obtain weeks accommodation I/e Full board for a family of four for 4 pounds. It was worth taking a chance of making a fool of yourself!  As you can imagine, many a young man would deliberately try to look conspicuous, by perhaps leaning against a lamppost and hoping a delightful young lady would issue him the challenge. This was a stunt by the paper, which, sad to say, would not be advisable in this day and age.

Arthur. E. Bensley



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