A vintage car park?

A vintage car park?

For all Morris J type Vans, Morris JB vans and (BMC 50's vehicles)Torque! e-mail fiftiesvehicles@mail.com. The copyright of any photograph on this blog-site will remain with its owner. No infringement intended.

Thursday, 11 July 2013

A Royal day out in London.

The Plan, take the JB van to London. Park as near to Buckingham Palace and await the 7 am booking in time slot, then drive into the Palace.
What could be simpler than that?
So this would mean an early start, not a problem I never like to panic and be running late, lets go early and have an easy drive into the heart of London SW1.
Alarm set for 4am, a quick breakfast and I'm off, picking up the M4 motor-way at Langley. Already speed restriction signs flashing but these were for the M25 intersection maybe an accident or over running road works, I'm not bothered I'm not going that way!
A very easy drive in, to show how easy, no problem changing lanes as and when I needed to, something that a normal drive in an old van is not an easy manoeuver.
Along Knightsbridge (A4) to Hyde Park corner, sailed around that and turned into Belgrave square, home of many Embassies. I had checked out the area via Google maps and road view and also a few websites to check out the parking restrictions. Free parking till 8.30 am, ideal location.
Current time it's 6.05 am, my booking in time 7.00 am on the dot, location Constitution Hill. Lets go for a walk and check out the area.
Looking back, a rather lonely sight, a small JB van lost in a vast London square.

On route I found a coffee shop, I needed that, burnt fingers and the take away cups always leak no matter how slow you walk.
 I walked across Hyde Park corner, I won't try that later! Then down the north side of Buckingham Palaces security wall to the magnificent front facade.
 Not much going on here, not even soldiers on patrol.
But wait, out the front of the Palace were this wedding couple, doing the new "fad" thing, there own wedding in their own country and then for a honeymoon (strange word?) to go to other parts of the world and be photographed in front of iconic buildings and locations, or so one of the gun carrying police officers explained before he moved the happy couple on. Maybe not so happy now.
 No sooner had the area been cleared and three cyclist turned up and got in my way, you can tell by the long shadows it's still early in the morning. By mid morning this area will be swarming with sightseers. Time to retrace my steps to get back to the van.
 So back up Consititution Hill road, empty apart from the cones put out for the festival traffic.
 On the way I met up with Simon Pegg lookalike who was my contact from R G Jones,
( the firm who were hiring my van for 6 days) he explained he had his pass to get in to the Palace grounds but the paperwork for my pass was not going to happen and that I would have to just tag along as far as I could. A bit of a shame but not a big problem after all they were hiring the van, my job for the day was to get it to London.
While we waited there one of his team passed by with one of their modern vans so an "old and new" picture was taken.
 Also as now I did not have clearance "Simon" would have to drive the van in. So could I let him have a test drive of the van? Not a problem but the other change of plan was that the booking in time had now altered to 9 am.
So into the hot seat and around and around Belgrave Square we went, some of the Embassies have Police officers on their steps and slowly they seemed to get amused and bemused as this old van kept going round and round with gears crunching at every change.
Soon "Simon" was use to the high biting clutch pedal and long "pudding stirrer " of a gear lever and all was going well.
At 8.45 am we set off to the check point, around Hyde Park corner we went, extremely manic traffic now, rush hour, more like slow jam packed hour!
Still we got into the coned off festival traffic line. Passes to be checked, vehicles to be searched, sniffer dogs to check us out and a nice airport style "PAT" down.
Each officer placed a sticker on our vans security pass, each officer told me I could not go into the Palace gardens but sit in the van I did. Security had expected to deal with each vehicle in about 8 minutes but already there was a massive backlog. It was something to do with emergency gas works on the other side of the Palace where the vehicle entrance was. So it was decided that a batch of vehicles would be allowed through the main gate to make up a bit of time. At this point I was thrown out and had to let  "Simon" drive the rest of the way on his own.
 Some of the army horses out for their daily exercise, they passed us by then the van was allowed to go to the next check point in front of the Palace.
 I had a quick word to "Simon", please drive in slowly so I can get some shots I asked.
 OBL's turn to enter and a nice slow take off allowed the assembled spectators a good view.
 OBL going in and at a rate of knots! ( maybe it will get an OBE).
Too late, within seconds the van was in and the gates were already closing.
Once inside the van had to wait again with some vehicles trying to get out, the organised exit route was blocked by an articulated lorry, the side gates were just not designed for 42 ton,  12 wheeler trailers or so I was told by one of the many yellow vested marshals.
 Awaiting the OK to enter the Palace gardens.

There she goes, into the unknown. Out of my sight till Sunday.
What happened to me? Well I'm on my own now, it's 10.30 am and its time I went back to work. So a nice stroll in Hyde Park pass the Serpentin pond and up to Paddington station.

With my ticket purchased its off to work I go, the cost of the day? An early start, coffee, a £9.30 ticket, the congestion charge to pay (£10), and an unpaid morning off work, was it worth it? I missed out on the drive into the palace but at least I was there to see the van drive in and I do have the first of many pictures of the van within the gardens.

Now the next problem, how the heck am I going to get the van out of the Palace?

A list of chassis number and registration dates.

J/R 010 10/1949--J/R 649 1949--J/R 755 1/1950--J/R 1061 12/1949--J/R 1102 12/1949--J/L 1518 1950--J/R 1612 03/1950--J/L 2935 1951--J/R 4491 11/1950--J/R 6050 12/1950--J/R 6187 1/1951--J/R 10916 12/1951--J/R 10972 1/1952--J/R 14776 12/1952--J/R 145931/1953--J/R 15455 1/1953--J/R 16261 03/1953--J/R 18124 1952--J/R 19902 12/1953--J/R 20658 02/1954--J/R 21720 12/1953--J/R 23555 1954--J/R 24274 1954--J/R 25618 12/1954--J/R 25079 1/1955--J/R 25741 05/1955--J/R 29869 11/1955--J/R 30963 11/1955--J/R 3183110/1955--J/R 32465 11/1955--J/R 33340 1/1956--J/R 35466 1/1957--J/R 35671 12/1956--JB/MR 37200 06/1957--JB/MR 39547 12/1957--JB/MR 39012 1/1958--JB/MR 39648 1/1958--JB/MR 42533 1/1959--JB/MR 42677 12/1958--JB/MR 43367 1959--JB/MR 45648 1/1960--JB/MR 45693 12/1959--JB/MR 46009 02/1960--JB/MR 47648 12/1960--JB/MR 47907 12/1960--JB/MR 48069 01/1961--JB/MR 48219 01/1961
Approximate Production data for each year.
1949 750 vehicles -1950 5347 -1951 5051 -19524098 -1953 5027 -1954 6000 -1955 6894 -19563169 -1957 3284 -1958 3131 -1959 2965 -19602516 -1961 362
Total produced 48620

Ardingly Vehicle Show 12/7/09. Picture taken by Clive Barker.