Days of Airfix kits and trainspotting

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Do you remember the red driving licence? It was on this day, March 13, 1935 that the driving test was introduced in the UK.

It was initially on a voluntary basis, but was made compulsory in June that year. Then in 1940 the need to pass a driving test was suspended for the duration of the war.

Petrol rationing cut motoring for leisure purposes down to one fifth of what it was before the introduction of the compulsory driving test.

No wonder that, as kids, train spotting rather than car spotting was a great hobby for us.

By 1950 it was model plane-making that was all the rage.

You may remember the Model Aircraft Constructor magazine depicted in my top picture. Soon, however, it was a spin off of the wartime production of plastics that saw the rise of the popularity of Airfix kits.

Yet at holiday time –and especially if you were on a beach – it was the character in my second picture (below, left) who reigned supreme... Mr Punch.

With this picture before me I have let my mind and research travel to try to find the origin of this character and phenomenon.

It would appear that this red nosed rascal was first seen in England when Charles II came to the throne.

Some historians claim Punch and Judy goes back to Ancient Greek theatre.

Some say the roots are in the 16th century Italian commedia while others trace them to a booth in the shadow of St Paul’s Cathedral in 1662.

What is beyond dispute is that Mr Punch is still one of the most famous puppet characters of all time.

His anarchic vitality has inspired opera, ballet and punk rock – and with his wicked grin and beaky nose he is known throughout the world.

As you look at my second picture my question is: Do you know what their dog is called?

As to my third picture (below, right)from my files. It is captioned “Winner of the best school Victorian kitchen garden competition”.

No doubt many of the youngsters on this photo remember seeing Punch and Judy.

Alas, I cannot remember when or where this shot was taken. Perhaps readers can help me.