The Roaring 40's and Gay 50's

The outdoor programme said: "Come with the girls to Mad Bass Wood", so I went! And thus began many happy years of activity with Harrow and Wembley YHA Group.

That was in 1948, and of course things were different then. As public transport was both cheap and plentiful, walking dominated the programme. I seem to recall that the average cost of a weekend, including fares, amounted to 15/-!

We used to meet in the Scout Hall in Ranelagh Road, Wembley, and great was the joy when our local air raid warden, George Perry, married Sheila, one of the most attractive girls in the group, before taking on a different kind of wardening at Kemsing hostel.

Then the new generation of tough youngsters took over for whom there was only one mode of transport, the cycle. Literally no one in the group had any form of motorised transport then or even considered getting one.

Soon every weekend throughout the year became filled with a variety of activities: cycling, camping, folk dancing, and even, it was whispered, a new game called kissing rugby!

As I write, recollections come flooding back:

Looking back I find that although times have changed, one factor has remained constant over the years and that is the spirit of good companionship, or "T.H.S." for short (True Hostelling Spirit). May this spirit continue long into the supersonic age.

Account by Ralph Chenery