Wednesday, 2 February 2011

Brief Encounter


En route for Grasmere and the launch of The Serpent Pool, we stopped off at Carnforth, just south of the Lake District. I had in mind a trip to the very good second hand bookshop in the town, but digressed to the railway station for lunch. And this proved surprisingly memorable.

This is because Carnforth Railway Station was used for the filming of the classic movie Brief Encounter. After the British rail network was stupidly decimated in the 60s, the station was left derelict, but a great charitable effort led to it having a new life. There is now a splendid museum featuring the history of the station, and the making of Brief Encounter. You can lunch, as we did, in a recreated cafeteria that is really atmospheric.

Brief Encounter isn't really my favourite sort of movie, but I do think that what has been done at Carnforth is wonderful. Even though life moves on, and we must embrace the new, it's a terrible mistake to neglect the past. This humble railway station offers a real slice of British social history, and its revival is a sign of what can be done by people with imagination and drive.

I've always been keen on history, but if anything, I'm keener than ever these days. History plays a big part in the Lake District Mysteries, and will continue to do so, informing the lives of Hannah, Daniel and those around them. And they may even pay a visit to Carnforth one of these days...

6 comments:

Margot Kinberg said...

Martin - It sounds as though you had a wonderful stop at Carnforth. I know exactly what you mean, too, about the role history plays. I find it fascinating, too. I think places like that railway station are important reminders of who we are and where we've been as a people and it makes me happy that it's been restored.

aguja said...

A fantastic post. How wonderful to have lunch at the station ... and I love Brief Encounter - a real classic!

Elizabeth Foxwell said...

I'm a huge fan of Noel Coward and think he often is pigeonholed as an amusing light entertainer, whereas he was a very talented writer, as _Brief Encounter_ shows.

Cozy in Texas said...

I stopped by your blog today. Interesting about the railway station. I remember the railway stations closing (Beacham's bright idea wasn't it?) I visited the Bluebell Railway museum when I returned to England a few years ago. Strange to see the old trains that I used to ride to work in London every day.
Ann

Martin Edwards said...

Thanks for your comments, and welcome, Cozy - it was Dr Beeching and he has a lot to answer for!
Elizabeth, I agree about Coward, a real all-rounder.

nigel p bird said...

i went to Carnforth with the school model railway club. i loved it even though it was a little bit nerdy. looks like it's time i returned.