Royal Air Force Locking

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Memories of town

Posted by Mark Griffin on October 28, 2010 at 8:07 AM

I enjoyed Weston, it was a decent sized town with a very good range of shops and good amenities. I enjoyed the pier too. I remember arriving for the first time, by train, and then walking round to the bus depot on the front. It was still a big adventure then. On my second posting I lived-out in the suburbs, just about within walking distance of the town centre although in my youth anything was within walking distance!

I haven't been back for many years, but would like to go. Anyone here know what it's like these days? Any suggestions for places to stay?

Categories: Weston Super Mare

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Reply Bill
5:02 PM on October 28, 2015 
If any of you read this you may be pleased to know there are several Facebook pages with Weston and or RAF Locking as part of the subject. One Weston super Mare then and now has numerous members from both the town and Locking including an alternative RAF Locking page. I started as an app in 1960 at Locking, Ground Wireless Fitter passing out in 1962. I am also a Westonian.
Reply DaveT
12:40 PM on August 10, 2011 
My memories of WSM date back to Jan to Sept 1954 and a week just before Christmas in 1955 , both periods when I was at Locking. I haven't been back since and doubt that I will as I am living in Ottawa, Canada. Memories: many but fading! 3 cinemas at that time; Odeon, Gaumont and one other. Big Band dances at the Winter Gardens, summer shows at the Pier and a bloody long walk back to Locking if you missed the last bus!. School of dance over a store in the centre of town where we struggled with the intricacies of the quick step and foxtrot to be used later at the Winter Gardens (I also remember the practicing back at camp with blanket pads under the feet to preserve the glos on the floors) Also remember a couple of Cafes where producing your 1250 got you a cheaper meal.A bit of a carbon copy of my home town at that time, Gt Yarmouth. All go in the summer and dead in the Winter. There was also something about getting the right train from Paddington as not all trains to the west country went through Weston which was on sort of a loop off the main line, resulting in the two bridges on the road back to camp, if you got it wrong then, I think,Taunton was the next stop!
Reply Roger John King
4:59 PM on February 3, 2011 
No worries about the Bangers connection, at least two of them were my "friends" lol and I also secured the attentions of a corporals daughter whom we now both know lol
Reply Roger John King
4:56 PM on February 3, 2011 
Steve says...
Those Banwell Bangers used to frequent the YMCA (close to Thompson Block) but that's not a confession you understand.

Yes the Winter Gardens had some great acts. I saw Pentangle there but my most abiding memory is Curved Air with the gorgeous Sonja Kristina wearing sprayed on satin trousers.

I remember Curved Air, a bit trippy for me. I saw Roy Orbison with Taff at a country club somewhere near Cheddar. Happy days
Reply Steve
3:41 PM on February 3, 2011 
Those Banwell Bangers used to frequent the YMCA (close to Thompson Block) but that's not a confession you understand.

Yes the Winter Gardens had some great acts. I saw Pentangle there but my most abiding memory is Curved Air with the gorgeous Sonja Kristina wearing sprayed on satin trousers.
Reply Roger John King
2:00 PM on February 3, 2011 
Weston, for me, was a place to spend my hard earned cash within a single weekend. The App wage at the time was nine guineas per week (£9 9s) and we were given £2.50 to buy the things we needed.

We used a pub called The Bristol & Exeter in the centre of town, quite near to where we got the bus back to camp. We also used a nightclub called The Jigsaw, we used it even though we'd been warned off it by older guys as being a drugs den
I was lucky to have been taken under the wing of my LA. LA Thomas had access to a Triumph Herald convertible and we used it to get to town. He took me to the Winter Gardens a few times and we saw some great bands there, on one occaision we saw "Yes" in concert there.

I've been back to Weston whenever I've passed near it on the M5. The camp is gone but the memories remain. I'll always remember a notice in our bathroom that warned about the spread of reest "Beware the Banwell bangers" was an end to the warning about cleaning the bath after use.

Weston remains the holiday centre for midlanders but on my last visit some five years ago it seemed to have become very "kiss me quick"
Reply Mark Griffin
12:08 PM on December 30, 2010 
Thanks Steve. On both my stints there I got a part-time job with Mr Vu (sp?) who ran takeaways and restaurants in town. He had the place directly facing the pier, it used to be a hotel I think and he used the rooms for staff accommodation. Downstairs was a huge cafeteria, and on the end facing the pier itself was a fish and chip bar. He later opened an upmarket Greek restaurant as well.
Reply Steve
11:46 AM on December 30, 2010 
I live not too far away and have popped into the camp from time to time. The Google images are now a bit dated as the building footprints have pretty much disappeared now. This summer it was all very overgrown with no sign of development. MQs still there as they were sold off and the Guardroom and church were still there.
WSM has a new pier following the big fire in 2008. The seafront has been undergoing a major re development and was pretty chaotic this year. Not sure when it will all be completed.
The old foot bridge from the bus station went long ago (as did the bus station).
The unique diving stage at the outdoor sea front pool got the chop (a travesty) when the dreadful 'Tropicana' was developed on the site in the 80s. It didn't last long and remains closed.
Locking Moor road past the camp is still much the same but it all gets very different from then on in. You can still trace its old path on Google with the two little bridges over the railway. The hump backed one was a right terror and claimed a few victims,
Banwell remains a bottleneck but many times worse, with todays traffic.
That reminds me, wasn't the Camp phone number Banwell 131 and then 2131?
Reply Mark Griffin
6:25 AM on October 29, 2010 
An example of how times change: I *think* I had a credit card back then, this was very early 70s, but a lot of shops still didn't take them. So when I bought a bike in town I paid for it with three post-dated cheques. Nowadays, of course, you couldn't do that and everyone takes credit cards.
Reply Mark Griffin
5:32 PM on October 28, 2010 
Yes, had a look at the map, fascinating to see it all, sad to see all the work buildings have been torn down, but as you say, you can still see where everything was and that still brought back memories.
Reply edited out
10:57 AM on October 28, 2010 
It hasn't changed a lot and still has the donkey rides along the beach, the `seaside' atmosphere prevails well, as does the pier. The RAF Locking site is still largely undeveloped, indeed most of the buildings foundations are in evidence, have a look on google earth and street view. I've included wikimapia on some of these pages (at the very bottom right), but those images are a little older. But your living out quarters may stll be standing, have a look.