The ticket office
Station ticket office, photographed in Milestones
Museum, Basingstoke. Note the how much use is made of wood, and also
note the station clock which was very important for catching trains on
time, as few people had watches.
We bought tickets for train journeys at the station ticket office and paid by
cash. There were no credit cards. I don't know whether some people paid by cheque,
but I do know that it seemed very hit and miss whether shop keepers would accept
cheques. My mother never even wrote a cheque until the 1970s. So we carried cash
- and it was always a concern whether we had brought enough with us.
Above: Machine for selling platform tickets, so that
well-wishers could get onto the platform to welcome arriving passengers
or see off departing ones. Photo taken in the Steam Museum at Swindon. The GWR stood
for Great Western Railway.
Below: Pile of unused platform tickets,
photographed behind glass in York Railway Museum.
Tickets to get onto a platform to see people off were known as 'platform
tickets'. Although they could be bought at the ticket office, there were
also machines which sold them. They always seemed to cost a
penny (in old money), as did a visit to a public lavatory.
Tickets for travel
We had to allow plenty of time for buying tickets because we couldn't predict
how long the queue would be at the ticket office.
Train ticket. Enhanced detail of a screenshot from an
old film. (The destination is imaginary.) Tickets were like this for several
Used return tickets, photographed at a distance behind glass in York Railway Museum. They are clearly used because they are clipped and they are return because they are in two halves, designed to be torn apart.
Tickets for travel were small and made of thick, rough paper. The ones I remember were pale
green. Return tickets were the same size and had to be torn in half with one half
for the outward journey and the other half for the return journey.
Most workers - including my father once he was back from the war - bought season tickets
worked out cheaper for making the same journey every working day. Working
from home was very rare indeed.
1954 train season ticket, courtesy of Francis
Duck. Note that as late as 1954 there was still a third class and that the
fare for a return journey of approximately 15 miles for just under
10 weeks was £1-18-00, ie not quite £2 - an indication of
This website Join me in the 1900s is a contribution to the social history of everyday life in early to mid 20th century Britain, seen through personal recollections and illustrations, with the emphasis on what it was like to live in those times. It is © Pat Cryer.