Youth hostelling in late 40s early 50s

General cycling advice ( NOT technical ! )
Bicycler
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Re: Youth hostelling in late 40s early 50s

Postby Bicycler » 22 Mar 2015, 3:22pm

A cheeky plug for Dolgoch and Ty'n Cornel. Two of my favourite "back to basic" hostels have been kept running with much love after they no longer fit in with the YHA's plans: http://www.elenydd-hostels.co.uk/

It's a gorgeous part of the world too. Easily missed by tourists but worth the trip for those who like somewhere off the beaten path.

Slowroad
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Re: Youth hostelling in late 40s early 50s

Postby Slowroad » 22 Mar 2015, 5:52pm

It's interesting reading all your comments. I started hostelling in the late 70s so much later, but I think the same ethos was still there. Through the 80s and into the 90s I enjoyed hostelling - cars were at least discouraged still, and we still had to do chores - usually quite easy and a chance to get to know other people. Had some great New Year's Eves in the Lake District. Wardens varied but it was part of the fun to escape some of them! I now really wish I'd done even more then - there are lots of little hostels which have long since gone. A few years ago I thought about cycling round the East Anglian coast, only to look online and find that most of the hostels had gone. My last hostelling experience was dire - £25 each for a smelly creaky bunk bed in a hot stuffy room. I'd done less and less as it got more and more difficult to book hostels at the last minute if the weather was good.
Maybe with Warm Showers, Airb&b etc.,there's a different type of co-operative low-cost option emerging, but it's not the same, is it? :-(
“My two favourite things in life are libraries and bicycles. They both move people forward without wasting anything. The perfect day: riding a bike to the library.”
― Peter Golkin

pete75
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Re: Youth hostelling in late 40s early 50s

Postby pete75 » 22 Mar 2015, 7:09pm

mercalia wrote:Ah yes I stayed there when I was 18 on a major trip ( lol ) from Lowestoft up to Yorkshire and back. This was summer and not only was it too hot inside but also lacking in air. The picture u have makes it look a bit moth eaten when I visited the paint was better ( or memory maybe ).


That picture was taken in 1982, the year it closed so it's likely they weren't doing much or even any maintenance other than what was needed to keep it afloat.

chalky
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Re: Youth hostelling in late 40s early 50s

Postby chalky » 22 Mar 2015, 7:44pm

Thanks everyone for your comments, makes interesting reading. It seems there is no one out there who is old enough to answer my main query - what did we eat when self cooking in the late 40s early 50s. This was while food was still rationed.

pete75
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Re: Youth hostelling in late 40s early 50s

Postby pete75 » 22 Mar 2015, 8:14pm

chalky wrote:Thanks everyone for your comments, makes interesting reading. It seems there is no one out there who is old enough to answer my main query - what did we eat when self cooking in the late 40s early 50s. This was while food was still rationed.


According to my mother who was 17 when the war ended food rationing didn't make much difference. There were many food sources other than those you needed ration coupons for. Veg was never really rationed anyway and many round here worked on the land so brought stuff home for friends and family. Potatoes, for instance, were as freely available as they are now. Like many others they kept a pig or two and usually managed to avoid the ministry guys snaffling them, milk was freely available from farms and they had plenty of eggs from their own chickens. Sometimes cattle caught mysterious illnesses, had to be shot and, as a result , couldn't enter the official food chain. Sheep suffered similar maladies. She says in those pre myxy days there were lots of rabbits which provided a ready and constant supply of meat along with partridge and pheasant. Other birds not eaten much these days like Rook and Pigeon went well in pies.

In autumn they collected masses of blackberries most of which ended up in jam. Plums were usually turned into jam as well. Soft fruits like currants and goosegogs were widely grown back then and ended up in various preserves. They preserved apples by wrapping each in a bit of newspaper and storing in a cool dark place and pears were bottled to preserve. That was their fruit supply for the year.


I remember this from hearing my youngest son "interview" her a few years ago to get information for a school project on food in rationing days.

It may have been different in cities but as hostels were generally in rural areas it's a fair guess most hostellers had access to the same food sources as country people.

pga
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Re: Youth hostelling in late 40s early 50s

Postby pga » 22 Mar 2015, 11:42pm

I started hostelling in the early 1950's - a long time ago. I usually had the prepared meals but whenever I did not I would make full use of the unwanted foods left by departing hostellers. I remember cutting potatoes into slices and frying them with left over oils or fat.

There was a strong community feeling around hostelling in those days, sadly lost today, with many active local YHA groups organising trips and work parties to hostels. These local groups were strongly held to be as good a place to meet the opposite sex as the local Palais.

We had little money in those days and often slept out under the stars wrapped up in our waterproof capes. If we were lucky we could find space in barns and the like. It was not always possible to get a bed at a hostel, especially in the more popular touring areas, so sleeping out was often forced upon us. Our parents would have had a fit if they knew what we got up to but in those days they gave us freedom to roam from an early age. I have always been grateful to them for not curtailing my wanderlust.

BigG
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Re: Youth hostelling in late 40s early 50s

Postby BigG » 23 Mar 2015, 9:22am

I did not start hostelling until 1952 or '53 and only have vague memories of catering. We quite often booked a meal in advance but I do remember a Christmas tour in the Cotswolds/Welsh borders which involved buying vegetables (mainly potatoes) and a tin of corned beef which we considered quite sufficient for an evening meal. Eggs were also frequently available in country areas and the usual fried egg sandwich got the day started. Soups were nearly always available at hostels.

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Sweep
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Re: Youth hostelling in late 40s early 50s

Postby Sweep » 23 Mar 2015, 12:09pm

pga wrote:I started hostelling in the early 1950's - a long time ago. I usually had the prepared meals but whenever I did not I would make full use of the unwanted foods left by departing hostellers. I remember cutting potatoes into slices and frying them with left over oils or fat.

There was a strong community feeling around hostelling in those days, sadly lost today, with many active local YHA groups organising trips and work parties to hostels. These local groups were strongly held to be as good a place to meet the opposite sex as the local Palais.

We had little money in those days and often slept out under the stars wrapped up in our waterproof capes. If we were lucky we could find space in barns and the like. It was not always possible to get a bed at a hostel, especially in the more popular touring areas, so sleeping out was often forced upon us. Our parents would have had a fit if they knew what we got up to but in those days they gave us freedom to roam from an early age. I have always been grateful to them for not curtailing my wanderlust.

Nive post - just the cape and your normal cycling gear underneath?

What time of year and which bit of the country?

I have bivied on a bike and slept out when inter-railing - closest I've ever come to roughing it for days on end.

all credit to your parents.
Sweep

Keith Bennett
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Re: Youth hostelling in late 40s early 50s

Postby Keith Bennett » 24 Mar 2015, 3:42pm

First started hostelling probably 1944 with the North Cheam section (as was then) Easter weekend at Whitwell, Beds and Charney Bassett, Oxon. Self Catering No Way. with food rationed the hostel meals were ration free. A few years later riding with the Sutton & Cheam Group a regular hostel was Crockham Hill, Kent with Merrydown Cider about 30 yards from the front gate

RogerThat
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Re: Youth hostelling in late 40s early 50s

Postby RogerThat » 24 Mar 2015, 7:34pm

My grandpa used to leave the house at 5.30 am, ride 60 miles, do a twenty five mile TT, go for lunch, another ride in the afternoon and then sleep under a bush in his cape till the next morning when he'd do another race in the area, then ride home!

Hard as old boots!

Grandad
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Re: Youth hostelling in late 40s early 50s

Postby Grandad » 24 Mar 2015, 8:51pm

A few years later riding with the Sutton & Cheam Group a regular hostel was Crockham Hill, Kent with Merrydown Cider about 30 yards from the front gate


Hi Keith, that's the group I was referring to in my earlier post. Was that the era of Geoff Way, Ewart and Sheila, Pete and (different) Sheila, Tiny and Hilda, Ron and Annette and Keith and Janet?

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Sweep
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Re: Youth hostelling in late 40s early 50s

Postby Sweep » 24 Mar 2015, 9:12pm

Different shiela?

Tell us more.
Sweep

el flaco
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Re: Youth hostelling in late 40s early 50s

Postby el flaco » 25 Mar 2015, 2:48pm

In the late fifties there was a "shop" on site with basic stuff like tinned spaghetti, bread, eggs. You didn't have to carry food. Also you could buy a packed lunch for the next day.

Happy days, lots of hostels so I doubt that anyone cycle camped. YHA was known as "Young Husbands Available".