Thursday, 30 April 2009

A Novel Idea

Excluding John Major's autobiography, I don't think Worcester Park has ever featured in a work of fiction.

That could all be about to change though, according to an e-mail I have received from Ian from San Fransisco Bay Area, California.

Ian tells me he spent the summer of 1989 living in Worcester Park as part of an exchange program and was evidently so inspired by his brief flirtation with KT4 that he is writing a novel set mostly in Worcester Park.

He has asked for my help with one particular detail of Worcester Park public transport:

"As I recall, back in '89 the trains that served Worcester Park Rail Station were sometimes of the old fashioned sort where the cars were split into separate cabins, most of which had their own doors. Does that sound at all correct?"

Now as I recall, the 'slam door' trains that I assume Ian is referring to would only occasionally have serviced Worcester Park, as they were normally used on the longer-distance services from Waterloo.

Also, I think it was only First Class sections of these trains that had those small cabins (although there were no classes of ticket on the suburban lines so when those trains were in use from Worcester Park anyone could get away with using the First Class compartments).

Perhaps readers with better memories of Worcester Park in the late 1980s can enlighten me further?

16 COMMENTS (Add Yours Now!):

Bexx Bissell said...

This is my first post here! As is fairly well known, HG Wells used to live in The Avenue. Last year I downloaded a short story by him from the internet that mentioned Worcester Park, and coincidentally the Waterloo/Worcester Park line; something to do with Airships. I can’t find the page now but will try to find the link for you if you like.

Can’t tell you much about the old trains on the Worcester Park line, but if you want to know about the Malden Manor/Chessington line in the 70s feel free to ask! (Sorry – outside the scope of this blog!)

Ian Morris said...

I remember my parents taking me up to London as a kid a few times and occasionally a slam door train would pull into WP station, but not the compartment type as far as I can remember.

Anyone remember the guard at the station with the what seemed to be a permantent enormous bump on his forehead?

Ian Woolcott said...

I knew about the John Major connection and that HG Wells had lived in WP for a time. The latter gets a brief mention in one of my chapters, though I didn’t realize he’d ever put Worcester Park in print.

‘Slam door’ trains – that’s a wonderful name. They must have run up toward Wimbledon and Waterloo at least occasionally in ‘89, since I’m otherwise at a loss to explain a specific recollection. Then again, twenty years can do mischief to a person’s memory.

I can’t promise my little book (my first attempt at a novel) will bring any fame to Worcester Park, or that it will even see publication, but I’ll do my best. Thank you for the kind help.

Anonymous said...

Woking has a nifty statue of a tripod and all WP has is..... well, nothing actually.

I insist, nay demand that WP gets a statue. Maybe of Mr. Polly or something.

Worcester Park said...

A statue of me, surely?

Bear said...

I used the Worcester Park/Wimbledon (and back again) commute every day in the early to mid eighties and never remembered a slam door train during that time, although that's not to say they didn't run on that line at othe times.

Bexx Bissell said...

re the HG Wells short story; it's called Argonauts of the Air, and here is the adress of the page

http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=g-iyBL1iVvAC&pg=PA134&dq=%22hg+wells%22+%22worcester+park%22&ie=ISO-8859-1&output=html

Sorry, I didn't know how to post a hyperlink here!

ET said...

How about a statue of a 'Martian' from War of The Worlds.To make all the rest of the aliens in WP feel they are not alone.

Downwind of the Cock said...

I can vividly remember standing on the cricket pitch by the station looking on in awe with my best friend as one of the new trains with button operated doors pulled in to the station. When I started working in Clerkenwell in around '83 most trains were slam door and had those compartments in at least some of the carriages.

avenuetop said...

Does anyone know which house (probably no longer there) H.G. Wells lived in?

Worcester Park said...

Avenuetop: I believe he lived at 37 The Avenue. The original building is no longer there - a modern house stands in its place.

Old Mouldy said...

Wells lived at no.41, which has been demolished and rebuilt long since. He used WP as backdrop for his novel Ann Veronica - well worth a read if you can find a copy. He clearly was not impressed by the place. See David Rymill's excellent "Worcester Park & Cuddington, a walk through the centuries" - available at the Stone Place library. (I am not the author by the way.)

coffee man said...

Nice one with the new 'logo'
H G Wells was obviously here in WP with his time machine. and with the assistance of the then 'pirate ' radio station !!!!!!

Paul Atkinson said...

I seem to remember the 0753 to Waterloo was a slam-door right until the mid '90s.

The only other WP-related literature I can think of is by BS Johnson the experimental novelist (See Jonathon Coe - "Like A Fiery Elephant") who mentions Worcester Park in a not-so complimentary way in "Albert Angelo"...

StuM said...

I have lived in WP since 2003, and when I first moved to the area I was a regular train commuter - I seem to recall the one of the earlier trains (6:52am or so) was a slam door even then... I actually liked them for the comfy seats, but the seats for three people were a little snug for two!

Janette said...

The bloke with the bump on his head now works on Platform 8 on Wimbledon Station. I also remember slam door trains around 1988-1989 from Waterloo

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