King's Cross Ticket Office 1969/70

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dorisflangebottom
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King's Cross Ticket Office 1969/70

Post by dorisflangebottom »

Hello!

I worked on the railways all my working life from 1966 until I retirement in the early 2000s. One of my the most enjoyable jobs I had was when I took a job as a 'summer' relief clerk at Kings Cross ticket office (suburban window). Summer lasted for around 18 very enjoyable months that year!

I found this website by accident today as, for no good reason, a name from the past suddenly came to mind (Roger H. Lunnun) and I thought i'd see if he was anywhere on the internet. Lo and behold someone had mentioned his name on a post from 2010. Admittedly it was just a passing reference (and a long time ago!) but it occured to me that other old railwaymen using this site may have known or worked with any of the KGX ticket clerks from the1969/70 period. We also dealt with the ticket collectors, TTIs, Sleeping Car Attendants and the lavatory attendant when they booked in and out and I can remember quite a few of them too.

For the duration I lodged at Aldersbrook House, Ilford as did many others (mainly drivers as I recall)

If anyone has any memories relating to the ticket office and/or any of the characters (of which there were quite a few!!) it would be great to see any posts on here. These were great days for me and I still have very fond memories of the people I was lucky to work with.
Mickey
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Re: King's Cross Ticket Office 1969/70

Post by Mickey »

I once had a friend named Alan Dollimore who worked at Kings Cross in the old 'Reservations office' that was located on the old no.10 platform with Alan working on the long counter dealing directly face to face with the public anyway Alan worked in the Reservations office from at least 1968 when I first met him and it is possible that he may have worked in the Reservations office for several years before 1968 because he was originally a signal box telegraph lad at Welwyn Garden City box during 1962-63 before moving on from the box at WGC anyway when I first met him in 1968 he was then working in the old 'Resservation office' on the old no.10 platform until 1973 by which time the old Reservations office was then relocated onto the then newly opened 1973 concourse which has since been demolished several years ago anyway we both lost touch with each other back during the middle 1970s and if he's still alive I am guessing that he would be somewhere in his 80s by now.
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dorisflangebottom
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Re: King's Cross Ticket Office 1969/70

Post by dorisflangebottom »

Hi Mickey

Many thanks for your message - much appreciated.

Sorry to say that I didn't know anyone in the Reservations office but at least Alan and I must have been around at the same time! I didn't mention it in my original post but the old booking office was of course on platform 10 also. It was about half way down the platform before you got to the gents toilets and the footbridge. The booking hall faced onto the taxi rank and the Great Northern hotel. I've been back to KX in the last few years and I tried to locate exactly where the entrance to the booking hall (and the gents) had once been. Not easy but at least the clock remained and was a help. I also tried to locate where the BRSA and the Earl of Russell pub (aka the Russell) once stood. Sadly I could find no trace whatsoever as the area had changed completely. They say you should never return to old haunts etc. and they're probably right. Still got the memories though!
Mickey
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Re: King's Cross Ticket Office 1969/70

Post by Mickey »

dorisflangebottom wrote: Wed Jan 10, 2024 1:58 pm I also tried to locate where the BRSA and the Earl of Russell pub (aka the Russell) once stood. Sadly I could find no trace whatsoever as the area had changed completely. They say you should never return to old haunts etc. and they're probably right. Still got the memories though!
Hi, I still remember Kings Cross station and it's internal layout and the surrounding area quite well from about 1969 through to 1975 before I left the area. With regards to the Kings Cross BRSA club and The Earl Russell pub in particular both establishments were virtually next door to each other with both establishments being located directly opposite St Pancras station on St Pancras Road with the entrance to the BRSA club being near to and in the shadow of The Great Northern Hotel because I use to frequent both establishments on a fairly regular bases as a 18-19 year old between 1974-1975 when I was a secondman at Kings Cross loco back then. Anyway I use to like the British Rail Buffet that was located on the old no.10 platform at the bottom of the staircase leading to and from the old footbridge that spanned all the station platforms back then anyway I would go in that station buffet usually during an afternoon and buy a plate of cod & chips and a British Rail cup of tea all for the princely sum of £1.30p although it was 1972-73 prices ha ha ha...

As for Aldersbrook House in Ilford that you mentioned in your first post it was located beside the GE main line out of Liverpool Street and several hundred yards on the London side of Ilford station laying on the borders between east London and Essex anyway I visited that place on several occasions in the dim and distant past the first time of which was when I started on the railway from secondary school in 1972 as a signal box 'telegraph lad' at Welwyn Garden City box to learn 'morse code' for use on the old GNR 'single needle telegraph instruments' that were still in use in the signal boxes out of Kings Cross and down the main line at that time for a few more short years until the middle 1970s because I spent two weeks daily going back and forth from where I then lived in Hertfordshire to and from the Ilford hostel. Also on a second occasion when I visited the place in 1980 to learn 'railway signalling' for a signalman's job that I started at the beginning of that year which in those days was a six weeks course between Monday to Friday. The Ilford hostel as it was called with it's living quarters for railway staff also had a fairly large communal dinning area and kitchens plus a small number of classrooms attached to the whole ground floor complex but from vague memory the hostel facilities for living in were closed down possibly sometime during the later 1970s or by the start of the 1980s although the classrooms for teaching remained in use for a number of years and possibly finally closing during the 1990s?. I think the former site of the Ilford hostel was built over for residential housing in recent decades?.

I do remember hearing a funny story back in the 1980s regarding the Ilford hostel which was about someone supposedly made a hoax phone call to the police at some stage saying that the 'Yorkshire Ripper' was a railwayman and he lived in the Ilford hostel and he could be found there whereby apparently the police turned up in force to surround the complex to 'flush out' the Yorkshire Ripper although suffice to say he wasn't found.
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Mickey
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Re: King's Cross Ticket Office 1969/70

Post by Mickey »

With previous mention made of the Kings Cross BRSA club (British Railway Staff Association) a pint of keg bitter (usually John Smith's Yorkshire bitter) would cost £0.14p a pint back in 1974 (club prices) increasing to £0.17p a pint in 1975. The weekday evenings in the club no entertainment was provided but on Saturday and Sunday evenings those were the two 'live entertainment nights' usually with live music performed on a small stage which usually drew a 'regular crowd' of mostly railway staff (some on duty and in uniform) as well as some railway families who lived locally. The club was run by a fellow called 'Yorkshire Harry' a no nonsense but fair minded fella and his regular bar staff of around 7 or 8 barmen who were all good to a man. Personally I can recall some good evenings in that BRSA club of 50 years ago.

The Earl Russell pub or as it was usually called just 'The Russell' was just one of a 'small number of boozers' that were around the Kings Cross area back in the 1970s. The pub was relatively small with two bars a public and a saloon bar and nothing much else to write home about it. The interior deco was a bit drab by todays standards but it was ok and sometimes it was nice to have a 'change of scenery' instead of always drinking in the BRSA club next door. The Russell pub during 1974-75 (and maybe for a year or two either side of 1974-1975?) was run by a Scottish couple and there son. The Landlord or guvnor was possibly in his later 50s at the time who always had 'big bags' under his eyes and he always looked like he had just gotten out of his bed anyway I assume that he suffered from to many late nights and he would only show up behind the bar from around 10:00 pm onwards until closing time at 11:00 pm. His wife I would estimate was in her early 50s and was still a fairly attractive looking woman with blonde coloured hair down over her shoulders and a nice Scottish accent although she only occasionally use to came down into the bar later in the evenings usually preferring to remain up stairs in the flat above the bar a lot of the other times. The son a fairly tall and thin fella was possibly aged about 19 or 20 at the time (1974) with slightly long dark hair as was the style for men in the early/mid 1970s and was also an ok guy who spoke with a London/Scottish accent and he would often be seen wearing a Scottish Stewart tartan flat cap and was usually seen behind the bar most of the time during the afternoons and evenings serving and I presume if he is still alive in 2024 I would assume he would now be in his late 60s?.

The Russell along with the Kings Cross BRSA club are both long since gone but there memory lingers on with a dwindling amount of people 50 years later.
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Re: King's Cross Ticket Office 1969/70

Post by Mickey »

As for ticket offices?. I can't recall if a ticket or booking office existed over in the old Kings Cross suburban station during the late 1960s and the first half of the 1970s away from the main line platforms(?) and as for the old Kings Cross suburban station it's self (platforms 11 to 16 or from May 1972 platforms 9 to 14) it did have a Buffet bar where you could buy a pint of maybe Double Diamond keg bitter and a British Rail cheese sandwich and sit down for 20 minutes before catching a train to maybe Hatfield, Stevenage, Hitchin or Cambridge. From a vague memory the main line ticket office located on no.10 platform possibly had a 'back window' or two where 'suburban tickets' could be bought after which it was a short distance walk back out in the open over to the suburban station platforms passing on the way the GPO parcel vans and sacks of GPO mail and other railway delivery vans before going back undercover of the surburban station roof. Also I don't know if a ticket or booking office existed on Kings Cross York Road station because I only recall ever leaving that station on a handful of occasions after getting off an arriving train and never actually catching a train from Kings Cross York Road station to either Farringdon or Moorgate although I presume it did.
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dorisflangebottom
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Re: King's Cross Ticket Office 1969/70

Post by dorisflangebottom »

There was certainly no ticket office within the suburban station when I was there (if ever). The platform 10 booking office had a surburban window (where I worked) and sold the tickets for all services that ran from the suburban station. Once they'd bought their tickets we always directed customers as to where to go as they wouldn't have had a clue if they weren't familiar. We also sold tickets up as far as Peterborough on the main line

I have attached a photo of the booking hall taken in the early 70s after it had closed down before the whole thing moved to the front of the station and completely modernised. The suburban window was the one nearest the camera (on the 'corner').
Booking Hall early 70s
Booking Hall early 70s
The second pic shows the area at a later stage (even sadder to see). The two other pics are just sheer nostalgia and may bring back some memories.
Booking Hall some time later
Booking Hall some time later
Taxi Rank outside booking Hall - Undated
Taxi Rank outside booking Hall - Undated
Entrance to the Suburban Station - Undated
Entrance to the Suburban Station - Undated
Mickey
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Re: King's Cross Ticket Office 1969/70

Post by Mickey »

The top and bottom pictures are how I remember it. Also the entrance & exit from the suburban station platforms as I best remember it between 1968-1975. In the 1955 Ladykillers film it features a back street 'robbery scene' filmed in Cheney Road a quiet back street a couple of hundred yards away to the left of the suburban station entrance of maybe of a Post Office van after it had been 'held up' by the gang but I would have to re-watch the film again to properly remember the scene anyway the suburban station entrance was still looking the same in the late 1960s and the 1970s as it did in the 1955 Ladykillers film.
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Re: King's Cross Ticket Office 1969/70

Post by StevieG »

dorisflangebottom wrote: Sat Jan 20, 2024 12:07 pm " .... The second pic shows the area at a later stage (even sadder to see). The two other pics are just sheer nostalgia and may bring back some memories. KGX 2.jpgKGX 3.jpgKGX 4.jpg "
By the relative completeness of the hi-vis clothing being worn by the contractors' staff in this photo, I'd hazard a guess that it's of not too long ago - they may well have been there in about 2010/11 for clearance and preparatory work for the (re-)creation of today's ticket/travel centre in the old booking hall as part of the station re-org. and expansion in 2012.
BZOH

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Mickey
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Re: King's Cross Ticket Office 1969/70

Post by Mickey »

I posted this story about 3-years ago on here.

I was told this story about 20-years ago by a railwayman. Apparently on the Great Eastern some or all the station booking offices had single needle telegraph instruments installed in them anyway at some unknown date in the last century (1900-1999) an old lady arrived at a booking office window at a station somewhere on the GE and the booking office clerk had his back to the 'ticket window' and appeared to be 'stirring a mug of tea' so the old lady says "Young man I would like to be served please" but the booking office clerk appeared to ignore her request and carried on stirring his tea so the old lady started to become annoyed and said out loud "Young man will you stop stirring your tea and serve me a ticket!." Anyway the booking office clerk finally turned around and said "Sorry madam. I was listening to and answering important train running messages on the electric telegraph instrument."

The single needle telegraph worked on 'Morse code' with the messages being spelt out in Morse and what appeared to be the booking office clerk ignoring the old lady and 'stirring his mug of tea' was in fact the booking office clerk acknowledging the messages via the telegraph instruments sending & receiving 'handle' attached to the telegraph instrument.
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dorisflangebottom
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Re: King's Cross Ticket Office 1969/70

Post by dorisflangebottom »

Regarding the Earl Russell I was told that one of the clerks had a bit of a boozy session in there one day with Alfie Bass. Both apparently ended up worse for wear and the aforementioned clerk became known from then on as 'Bootsie'!

I never came across any 'celebs' in there myself and wouldn't have thought it would have attracted many (but what do I know!). Back in the ticket office we did of course serve quite a few well known names of the day and i can tell you that everyone one was a pleasure to deal with - all were polite and friendly.

Working on the suburban window we didn't normally attract the big names who would usually be travelling longer distance and/or first class but here's a few I do recall serving myself - Arthur Askey (who barely reached the ticket window!), Dickie Henderson, Peter Noone, Esther Rantzen, Harry Fowler and Wilfred Pickles. And here's a handful of actors who were not big stars but you may recall one or two if you're of a certain age - Derren Nesbitt (who I believe lived in Stevenage), Jerold Wells (you would not forget his face!) and a particularly pleasant chap Moray Watson who travelled at the same time every day for one week to Bayford where, he told me, he was filming for the TV series 'Catweazle' (Geoffrey Bayldon apparently drove there!).

Finally for now folks, I must say that I'm glad I started this topic off and am delighted to see the responses and the number of views it has had. In particular I'm really pleased that I was able to share my four pics with you. Thanks for looking!
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Re: King's Cross Ticket Office 1969/70/York Way platform

Post by rockinjohn »

Well I don't think the (UP) York Way platform had a ticket office certainly not Post WW2,from memory,the buildings were occupied by British Railways Staff from the Main line Station,(Porters /Cleaners)? a nice little hideaway,if ever a Ticket Office there, maybe early/late 1800's or 1900's when the SECR ran trains thru making it worthwhile,I can remember the AM Peak trains on to the Widened Lines with a surge of passengers alighting there with a Ticket Collector doing he's best to collect & the solitary parcel trolley parked not being used much @all.except for me to sit on!
Mickey
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Re: King's Cross Ticket Office 1969/70

Post by Mickey »

dorisflangebottom wrote: Wed Jan 31, 2024 5:08 pm Regarding the Earl Russell I was told that one of the clerks had a bit of a boozy session in there one day with Alfie Bass. Both apparently ended up worse for wear and the aforementioned clerk became known from then on as 'Bootsie'!

I never came across any 'celebs' in there myself and wouldn't have thought it would have attracted many (but what do I know!). Back in the ticket office we did of course serve quite a few well known names of the day and i can tell you that everyone one was a pleasure to deal with - all were polite and friendly.

Working on the suburban window we didn't normally attract the big names who would usually be travelling longer distance and/or first class but here's a few I do recall serving myself - Arthur Askey (who barely reached the ticket window!), Dickie Henderson, Peter Noone, Esther Rantzen, Harry Fowler and Wilfred Pickles. And here's a handful of actors who were not big stars but you may recall one or two if you're of a certain age - Derren Nesbitt (who I believe lived in Stevenage), Jerold Wells (you would not forget his face!) and a particularly pleasant chap Moray Watson who travelled at the same time every day for one week to Bayford where, he told me, he was filming for the TV series 'Catweazle' (Geoffrey Bayldon apparently drove there!).
Probably to people under the age of 65 many of those names won't mean a lot?. My late mum when working in The Ridings Bar on no.10 platform one day back in the early 1970s got Wilfred Pickles autograph when he came in for a pint. Wilfred was staring along side Irene Handle in a television sitcom at the time during 1970-71 called For The Love Of Ada which was shown at peak time on the telly.

Alfie Bass of 'Bootsie & Snudge' fame on the old black & white telly which I just about recall from the early 1960s.

Peter Noone the singer in Herman's Hermits 60s 'pop' group.

Dickie Henderson was a popular television personality who had his own tv show in the early/mid 1960s but is largely forgotten these days.

Harry Fowler a London born 'cockney' actor best remembered mainly from the 1950s & 1960s. Harry as a young man use to work with my old dad delivering the old London Evening Standard newspapers and dropping them off from a Evening Standard newspaper van around central London back in the early 1950s.

Several years ago I read about Catweazle that stared Geoffrey Bayldon and the making of the series and apparently the second series filmed in 1970 and shown in 1971 the programme makers wanted Catweazle to live in a old disused railway signal box but he ended up supposedly living at a disused railway station at Hertingfordbury on the cross country line that was closed and lifted between Hertford North and Welwyn Garden City by that time anyway the programme makers probably didn't look to far around for an old disused signal box BUT there was one at Ayot on the old Welwyn Garden City to Luton cross country branch which was still standing I believe until 1971.
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Re: King's Cross Ticket Office 1969/70/York Way platform

Post by Mickey »

rockinjohn wrote: Thu Feb 01, 2024 12:19 am Well I don't think the (UP) York Way platform had a ticket office certainly not Post WW2,from memory,the buildings were occupied by British Railways Staff from the Main line Station,(Porters /Cleaners)? a nice little hideaway,if ever a Ticket Office there, maybe early/late 1800's or 1900's when the SECR ran trains thru making it worthwhile,I can remember the AM Peak trains on to the Widened Lines with a surge of passengers alighting there with a Ticket Collector doing he's best to collect & the solitary parcel trolley parked not being used much @all.except for me to sit on!
Yeah I never took any notice jj the very few occasions that a WGC to Kings Cross York Road station ran which was always made up of a x2 car Cravens unit circa 1970-72 which wasn't that often that they ran once I left the train at York Road station I just walked through the station entrance and up the incline onto York Way.
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Mickey
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Re: King's Cross Ticket Office 1969/70

Post by Mickey »

A chance coincidence yesterday I was watching several episodes of Hancock's Half Hour television programme recorded between 1956-1961 and in one episode (DVD disc no.3 the last episode on the disc and I believe was recorded in 1959?) the surprise opening shot is of Kings Cross station filmed from the Euston Road anyway the next scene features both Tony Hancock and Sid James standing queuing for tickets at the Kings Cross booking office window to buy two tickets to Leeds!. Of course the Kings Cross booking office in this episode isn't the actual Kings Cross booking office but a television 'mock up' in the tv studio. The next scenes involve Tony and Sid sharing a First Class compartment in a B.R.Mk1 coach (a 'mock up' in the tv studio as well) with this First Class compartment scene featuring a no-nonsense Businessman, a Clergyman, a Senior Army officer and a 'well to do older lady' although it goes without saying that Tony and Sid manage to annoy all there fellow travellers on there way to Leeds.

Two film sequences shot of the main line appear in this episode to show Tony and Sid's journey northwards to Leeds and both film sequences are filmed at Hatfield on the main line.

Film sequence no.1. A Peppercorn A1 pacific is seen travelling at speed along the Down fast line hauling a rake of maroon B.R.Mk1s and is seen coming off the reverse curve at Hatfield and heading northwards passing Hatfield No.1 signal box with the Hatfield No.1 Down lines signal gantry prominent in this film shot with the Down fast line 'boards' (Hatfield No.1s home signal & Hatfield no.3s distant signal) both seen returning to the 'on position' behind the Down express as the rear of the train passes Hatfield No.1 box. The camera for this film shot was 'high up' and was probably positioned inside Hatfield No.1 box at an 'open window' at the south end of the box facing south towards London.

Film sequence no.2. A Thompson B1 is seen from the lineside with the film cameraman filming from beside the Up slow line and shows the B1 travelling at speed along the Down fast line and again the train is seen coming off the reverse curve and heading northwards hauling a rake of mainly maroon B.R.Mk1s with the camera 'swinging around' as the train passes the cameraman and capturing prominently again the Hatfield No.1 Down lines signal gantry in the film shot and showing the Hatfield No.1 box Down fast line home signal and the Hatfield No.3 Down fast line distant signal with both signal arms showing off!. Also briefly glimpsed in this shot in the further distance is seen Hatfield No.1 box as well standing beside the Up slow line.

Film sequence no.3. A night scene of a Peppercorn A1 pacific and the first coach or two of it's train shown arriving in a station representing Tony and Sid's arrival at Leeds station although in reality it could be any station on the Eastern, North Eastern or Scottish Region?. Again the scene is in black & white and the quality of the film shot isn't that great and only last for about 5 or 6 seconds.

Both filmed sequences that were filmed at Hatfield only last around 7 or 8 seconds each so it's not worth searching out this DVD unless you really want to see these two film sequences which were shot in black & white and appear to be on 'poor quality' film?.
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