Sunday, 26 February 2012

TWA Travel Tips For Britain, 1956

Darlings, I found the cutest travel book on my pop into the thrift store yesterday! From 1956, it's a spiffy little reference guide given to customers of TWA traveling to Britain....well, London mostly. Having lived in London for a few years, I had to have it just to see how much things have changed. And with a ten cent price tag who could resist?
It's just too brill for words! And speaking of words.....

Here are a few of the terms that TWA felt Statesiders should know if traveling 'cross the pond' in '56:

In England, I've never heard an extension cord called a 'flex', a billboard called a 'hoarder' (isn't that what you call someone with 50 cats?), or a water heater called a 'geyser'. Alternately, all the Americans I know call a refrigerator a refrigerator, not an 'icebox' and 'leg-pulling' is a common term where I come from in the States? The other suggestions were pretty well spot on, though. I was surprised at the omission of the standard 'lift'='elevator' and 'cab'='taxi', though.

The graphics are really my favourite part of the book. As I've mentioned before, I love great 1950's and 1960's graphics. They thrill me way more than they should! Check out these babies:

This couple is dreaming of London, or so we are told. Frankly, they could save the airfare, as the only thing "London-ish" is the routemaster bus. As there were apparently several of these made, each for a different country TWA flew to, I would assume they used this graphic for all and just changed a couple of the icons in each book to fit the country.

They've never seen a man standing next to a tree before....

Spearmint Rhino c. 1956....

While the youngin's are dining at Claridge's....

......Gran and Gramps head to the strip club!

Because everyone wears bowlers and tweeds to the pub...

He looks far to happy for a man whose wife just bought that much stuff....

Anyone else find the phallic symbolism in this one a bit disturbing?

Mother's dreaming of men in skirts, while father is laughing at Willie's porn star 'tache.

There was a section on money which, this being pre-decimalization, was pretty interesting. I'd had plenty of older generations of Brits try and explain this system to me. I figured it might be easier seeing it written down on paper. It isn't. If you can figure this out, you're quicker than I am....

...but did you check out the exchange rate? JEEEZ!

It goes on to give you loads of information on various places and things you may need to know about, like car hire, the US embassy (back then, it's phone # was Grosvenor 9000!), the addresses of some Turkish baths if you're into that sort of thing, and churches of different denominations, sports teams and where they play.

Most all of the hotels listed still remain and the theatre listings were almost all familiar.

The shopping listings were interesting....again, most are still around today and generally in the same address:

Notice that Debenham's hasn't yet dropped the 'Freebody's' from it's name. Also, Derry and Tom's is listed at the address that would, almost two decades later, become 'The Most Beautiful Store In The World', Big Biba!....of course, now it's a load of crappy chain stores like Gap...blech!

The rest of the booklet is dedicated to sights that are still popular tourist traps, Buckingham Palace, Changing of the Guard, and, of course, "Big Ben, kids...Parliament".

Speaking of travel, I've recently found my great-grandmother's travel scrapbook and journals. I'll be sharing some of the lovelies from that very soon! I hope you'll tune in!

Ta, Dolls!


  1. Britain is great place holding more revenue through tourism. Excellent post with nice cartoonist images.

    World Travel

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