Wednesday, 31 December 2014

Andy Capp

As children we would sometimes be packed off to our cousins in Derby for part of the summer holiday. I think this was as much a holiday for our parents as it was for us. Coming from a village in the Chilterns the Big City held many wonders for us - department stores, cinemas and  trolley buses. All were within walking distance.  This walk into town was always a marvel to me involving, as it did, the negotiation of the multiple loading bays of the Burrows and Sturgess bottling plant . (I think this may once have been part of the Stretton Brewery Company) Perhaps my later involvement in logistics was initiated here because I would stand and watch lorries of all sizes coming and going.  

Scammmel Scarab always fascinated me.

Other wonders included toast - apparently made by burning bread under the grill and scraping off the black bits; creamy sterilised (homogenised) milk in bottles with Crown caps; and home-made ice cream from the little shop along the road.There were also the newspapers: whilst my father had progressed from the Daily Express to the Financial Times via the Daily Mail, here we discovered The Daily Mirror and evening papers! And so we, too, progressed from cartoons of Rupert the Bear to Andy Capp.
This example of the comic strip is typical: it features Andy and his neighbour, Chalkie White, presumably on their way home from the pub........and mentions canals!!

Reg Smythe, who created Andy Capp, came from Hartlepool and after his death in 1998 a statue was erected in that town to commemorate  Andy

Andy Capp was very much a working-class character.
During a recent visit to the East end of London, which used to be a working-class are but is now being gentrified, we discovered this picture  on a pub wall which could be titled Andy Caps


  1. That would be the Ashbourne road in Derby, born and bred and nearly went to Ashgate school, next door to the pop factory.

  2. Nev
    Do you remember the shop on the corner of Windmill Hill Road? They used to make their own ice cream. I recall a lay-by at the end of Ashbourne Road near Markeaton Park where the trolley buses turned round. I understand that there is a petition to restore the Friargate Bridge
    I was told as a child a story about a bus hiding under Friargate Bridge from a German fighter plane and shown holes in the bridge reputed to be shell holes.


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