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Moonraker

Individuals' mobility and transport, 1910s

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Moonraker

Recently I was asked how often villagers on Salisbury Plain would visit Salisbury in the 1910s. I hesitated before suggesting that they would usually go in on market days

 

Later, I reflected on what sort of distances people in England would regard as acceptable to travel regularly a century ago - and how. Occasionally I read of children walking several miles each way to school and of agricultural labourers covering similar or longer distances. Presumably rural families visiting the nearest town would walk or use a horse and cart?

 

Salisbury itself was quite well served by trains, but there were many communities on the Plain that were not. And come the war military traffic would have taken precedence over civilians. I have the vaguest idea that rural bus and charabanc services might have been starting up in the early 1910s?

 

The question I was asked related to getting from Bulford to Salisbury. Actually not a bad, if somewhat circuitous, journey by train as this postcard suggests:

 

Bulford-Salisbury train.jpg

During the war, soldiers in the Bulford area complained of the poor rail service when going on or returning from leave. And I wonder how they fared when trying to get from camp to the nearest bright lights. Prewar, officers might ride into Salisbury, returning across the Plain in the moonlight. I suppose that Other Ranks thought nothing of walking several miles there and back, and I've seen references to them - notably Australians - visiting localities further away. Early in the war the British Army was notoriously short of mechanical transport, but as more lorries became available perhaps they sometimes transported soldiers into nearby towns?

 

Though my question relates to Wiltshire, I would be interested in reading of individuals' mobility in other parts of the country.

 

Moonraker

 

Edited by Moonraker

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seaJane

My great-grandfather walked from Catford to Greenwich to work each day, about five and a half miles. 

 

I would guess that lifts could be hitched in farm wagons, grocers' delivery wagons etc etc? I'm sure 'Lark Rise to Candleford' mentions getting from village to village at about that time.

 

 

Edited by seaJane
typo

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