by Rosa Chivers
When our family first moved to East Brent, we were welcomed by a friendly porter at the railway station. The station had obviously had much Care lavished on it. There were flower beds on either side of the railway line, sweet peas were climbing over lattice, the oil lamps, well polished, were hanging on brackets each side of the platform, and numbers of old-fashioned milk churns were waiting to go to London, and clotted cream in large tins, labelled Cheddar Valley Dairy Co. awaited Collection.
This became our station and the staff were always courteous and kind. On cold days the porter would invite us to wait in their office with its blazing fire. It was from this station that we were able to go on rare excursions and visit our grandparents who lived at Epsom.
When I first left home to work in London, I was naturally homesick. Money was very short, so visits home were few and far between. It Cost £1.3s.9d to buy a return ticket and that was a considerable amount of money to save. I remember taking a bus to Paddington just to watch the trains steaming out to the West Country - and HOME.
The G.W.R. did a grand job with the post. My parents Wrote twice a week to me. Postage was Cheap, and letters posted at 8 am. in the country would be delivered in London at 10 the same evening, and one posted in London before midnight would arrive at my home next morning.
Another incident occurred to show how considerate and helpful staff were. It was during the early part of the war. I was returning home late one night on a blacked-out troop train. There were no lights in the carriages and I was sitting on my case in the corridor. The train was not scheduled to stop, but I was advised to be ready to jump when we arrived at Brent Knoll station. The train actually stopped for me, and I was led to a waiting Car by the porter with his dimmed torch.
The old station, like so many, was closed and the building bulldozed away. It broke the old porter‘s heart he died soon afterwards.
[image Brent Knoll Station - Wikipedia]