You know how it is. You go rummaging aboutin old cardboard boxes looking for one thing and end up finding fifteen things you weren't. This Saturday's foray into a cold garage (Albion lorry badge hanging up on a rusty nail) resurrected an early 1950's Leicester Official Handbook. I can't even start to tell you the joys suddenly released from the ever-so-slightly damp pages, but here's one. I was born half way up a cul-de-sac in Wigston Fields, and there are those who say I've spent all my time since crawling up the other half. My elder brothers were much older, so I took my pleasures on my own in exploring, inch by inch, my neighbourhood. A red letter day came when I reached the pub at the bottom of the road and I watched the Holes Newark Ales yellow brewery dray unloading wooden barrels at the Royal Oak. But next door to the pub was something much more exciting. This was Browett's service depot, where they maintained the ranks of newly-bought little grey Ferguson tractors and red and yellow Massey-Harris combines and muck spreaders. Such was the post-war demand, Browetts signed-up a fleet of Standard Vanguard vans with the evocative tractor silhouette. I just stared and stared at them over a fence that has been air-brushed from this picture. You can hear the manager can't you, the evening before this picture was taken: "I want all mobile engineers to be here with their vans (washed) at eight in the morning".
I am a designer, writer and photographer who spends all his time looking at England, particularly buildings and the countryside. But I have a leaning towards the slightly odd and neglected, the unsung elements that make England such an interesting place to live in. I am the author and photographer of over 25 books, in particular Unmitigated England (Adelphi 2006), More from Unmitigated England (Adelphi 2007), Cross Country (Wiley 2011), The Cigarette Papers (Frances Lincoln 2012), Preposterous Erections (Frances Lincoln 2012) and English Allsorts (Adelphi 2015)