Thursday, June 30, 2016

A tribute to Gordon Murray and Trumptonshire

Gordon Murray, the man behind the BBC children's series Camberwick Green, Trumpton and Chigley, has died at the age of 95.

His Guardian obituary suggests these three - the Trumptonshire trilogy - were set in Edwardian England. But to me as a small boy in the 1960s, they seemed thoroughly contemporary.

Nor, as the scenes in the video above show, were they always quite as innocent as the writer suggests. This is surely the England of the Kinks' Village Green Preservation Society.

Trumptonshire has been an inspiration to many. In 2014 Flipchart Rick showed us how the county was faring today. It was not good news - here is a little of what he found.
Camberwick Green
Windy Miller is long dead. His mill was bought by a property developer and converted into a sprawling residence, compete with gym and swimming pool. It is now the weekend retreat of Bradley Smythe-Hoover, MD of Capital Markets at MorganGoldensacks. 
The Miller family are still in the business, though. Nowadays, the flour is produced by United Mills on the Chigley industrial estate. Windy’s granddaughter, Cindy Miller, works there on a zero hours contract. 
The town of Trumpton lost much of its importance when it was subsumed into the Greater Chigley Unitary Authority in the local government reorganisation. It is now merely the traditional county town of a county that no longer exists. 
Locals complain that there has been no planning control and that the town’s development has been neglected by the council in Chigley. Like many small towns, Trumpton has a Jekyll and Hyde personality.  
By day, it is the quintessential market town. The old square with its farmers’ market and Georgian shops attracts busloads of pensioners and foreign tourists. At night, the town is given over to pubs, competing on price to attract the youngsters who flock into the centre. Fights between locals and migrant agricultural workers are frequent. 
There are no band concerts or dancing factory workers in Trumptonshire any more. Some people didn’t believe there ever were, until some photographs were found in Raggy Dan’s attic after the old rag and bone man had died. These showed the firemen’s band and the dances, as well as many other scenes from old Trumptonshire. 
The local history society reprinted them in a book published to commemorate the 200th anniversary of the Trumpton clock in 2010. Leafing through the coffee table tome Trumptonshire Remembers, you can see just how much the place has changed.
And Half Man Half Biscuit chronicled The Trumpton Riots in 1986.

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