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Saturday 1 June 2024

The Blue Mini

Morris Mini 1966
New Month Old Post: first posted 10th February, 2016

What do you think of those who, watching films or television programmes set in the past, say: “they would not have used the phrase ‘too right’ in the twenties”, or that nineteen-fifties midwives would never have taken such an attitude to abortion, or that a locomotive shown in a wartime scene had not been built until the fifties? Are they nit-picking pedants or defenders of authenticity? I am about to join them. 

In 2016, a television programme, “Back In Time For The Weekend”, took a family back to live as in the past. Episode by episode, their house and its contents were changed to how they would have been through the decades from the nineteen-fifties to the present day. Their furniture, decorations, kitchen and household appliances, and home entertainments were appropriate to the date. At the start of the series they had no television set or refrigerator, and they did not have a home computer until Episode 4 set in the nineteen-eighties. 

Episode 2 was about the nineteen-sixties, when car ownership became more common. Supposedly in 1961, the family were given a blue, D-registration Morris Mini (above). The problem was it was a 1966 Mini, in 1961, five years before it was first registered. I know because I had one, blue, D reg., exactly the same, as in my blog header. Was the BBC research department taking shortcuts? 

Those Minis had something called hydrolastic suspension. Instead of separate springs, the front and rear wheels were connected by pressurised pipes. The idea was that when a front wheel went over a bump, the pressure would tighten its paired back wheel to reduce the bounce. It was rubbish. Mine kept gradually losing pressure and sinking down into its wheel arches. It had to go every few months to be pumped up. It is astonishing after fifty years they found one that had not been scrapped years ago. The family of two adults and three teenage children in the programme would have weighed down the back and shone the headlights up into the air. 

Here is my uncropped picture taken on the Cam Gill Road North of Kettlewell late in 1974 as we were putting on our boots for a walk to the top of Great Whernside. It was blowing a gale on top, but we were able to shelter in the large hollow summit cairn. 

1966 Morris Mini near Kettlewell
Near Kettlewell, 1974
Great Whernside Summit Cairn, 1974