On a beautiful Sunday morning in September 2011 we packed the Cortina with deckchairs, sandwiches and drinks and headed for our first car show. The venue was Fort Paull, an historical site on the north bank of the River Humber just east of Hull in East Yorkshire. Now you can be forgiven for thinking that beautiful weather, River Humber and September don’t often feature in the same sentence but this truly was tee-shirt weather.

The short journey was uneventful and we were on site soon after 9.00. Being ushered to a parking space by a marshal of the East Yorkshire Thoroughbred Car Club we were soon joined by a variety of vehicles ranging from a 1930’s Rolls Royce to a home built scale model of a tank. The former was prominently displayed; the later spent its day driving around the site giving rides to children and the occasional “30 something”.

Fort Paull Sept 113

The Cortina had been the subject of a lot of polish and even more elbow grease during the previous week and was looking its best. A brief history of the car was fixed to the window for anyone who passed by to read and the deck chairs erected at the rear. Off for a coffee and a bacon buttie.

 

Fort Paull Sept 119Alongside us was a Rover 2000, to the rear an MGB and a Triumph Spitfire. The local Mercedes club had their own area set aside with a number of good looking cars on show; there were a few lorries and tractors in another area and a considerable number of motorbikes on show. One of these took me back to learning to ride back in the early 1970’s, namely a 250cc BSA C10, dating from 1953. Mine was the overhead valve C11 model, and cost me £20.00 when I was still at school. I rode it on the road for the first time on my sixteenth birthday (the law on riding motorbikes was much different back then). Up until then I went everywhere on my trusty pushbike, motorcycling was much better, when you came to a hill you just twisted the throttle and it went up the hill. Brilliant, my pushbike days were over!

Fort Paull is the permanent home of the last Blackburn Beverley aircraft. The four engine aircraft was a static exhibit at the Army Transport Museum in Beverley until the museum closed. It was dismantled and taken by low-loader to Fort Paull in 2005, reassembled and now forms part of the attractions. The Blackburn Beverley was made at Brough, also in East Yorkshire, and saw service with the RAF in the 1950’s and 60’s. Its role was that of a military transport aircraft. This plane’s last flight was into Paull aerodrome, just outside the village, it remained there for ten years before being taken to the Army Transport Museum in Beverley and subsequently returning to Fort Paull. Clearly this is an aircraft that belongs in East Yorkshire. Picture provided by militaryaircraft.org.uk.

Hawker HunterAlso refurbished and on static display is a 1957 Hawker Hunter F.6 jet fighter. For many years it stood proudly outside the Humbrol factory in Hull, the manufacturer of Airfix models. The aircraft was mounted on a stand similar to that supplied with the Airfix kits. When the factory closed in a few years ago everything, including the Hunter, was vandalized. Thankfully it was rescued, refurbished and is on display in a secure location.

Fort Paull has been a strategic military site for centuries, the first fort being commissioned by King Henry VIII and opened in 1542. Its last military role was in the Second World War when, amongst other things, it was involved in degaussing, a process which decreases unwanted magnetic fields. This process was applied to ships in the Humber Estuary to help protect them from German mines which had magnetic triggers.

Fort Paull was closed by the Ministry of Defence in 1960 and taken over by a group of volunteers in 1964. It opened as a heritage museum in 2000.

The beautiful day continued with a large number of visitors wandering around looking at the vehicles on display. The Cortina attracted quite a lot of interest, not in the way that a Rolls or Bentley might, but in a nostalgic, familiar way. Comments of ‘my dad had one of those’ and ‘I had a Cortina when I worked for…’ were heard as people passed by. As it was the only Mark 3 on display, it got all the attention.

Three o’clock arrived and with it the judging. The big black cloud I had been watching for some while was indeed heading our way. Being as the awards ceremony was centred around the Beverley, and given my dislike of getting wet, standing under the considerable wing of the aforementioned aircraft seem eminently sensible.

NGX 87L Front Interior

Fort Paull Sept 1111

The prizes were awarded as the first spots began to fall. I was not expecting a prize; there were after all some beautiful vehicles on show. We did however get a small plaque for our attendance which is now fixed to the wooden shield that came with the car. The other plaques on the shield are from the Bromley Motor Pageants of the 90’s where the Cortina was a common sight.

Plaque in hand, an aged sprint to the car, and the heavens opened. We took our leave in a downpour, we now know the sun- roof is watertight, and made our way home.

A thoroughly good day for our first show in an interesting and beautiful (when the weather’s good) location.

Here’s to the next one. Clive