To Huddersfield yesterday - I'll explain why in a moment - and the second time of late that I've been there on a Saturday and so shopped at the excellent tat stalls in the glorious town centre open market.
What you need to remember about flea markets is most of it is complete rubbish - bags of assorted screws, scruffy VHS copies of unsuccessful films, chipped coronation mugs. All those were there - plus some Northern Soul singles, a touch of militaria, and, and ...
Well, look above. I was well pleased to find this - a wartime propaganda leaflet, German, and dropped over Britain, says this specialist website, in June-July 1941, when it did indeed seem that we might be losing the war,
It's cleverly done - much more sophisticated than much wartime psyops material. It proclaims that German bombers and U-boats were decimating allied shipping across the Atlantic, and that as a result: 'If the war is continued until 1942, 60% of the population of Britain will starve!'
'All this means that starvation in Britain is not to be staved off. At the most it can be postponed, but whether starvation comes this year or at the beginning of next doesn't make a ha'porth of difference. Britain must starve because she is being cut off from her supplies.'
Did you pause on 'ha'porth'? Half-penny-worth. It will have struck readers then as now that the Germans were going to some effort to communicate in everyday language.
You do wonder how this fragile sheet of paper came to be picked up, kept (and well kept), and a lifetime later ends up on a stall at Huddersfield market. But whoever kept it safe for so many years. thank you! I don't like Nazi memorabilia at all - but this telling remnant of the most difficult days of the Second World War is a welcome addition to my collection.
And what takes me to Huddersfield? Watching Town, of course. It's an enthusiasm I share with my son. And yesterday they won 2-0 against Ipswich - thanks for asking! Huddersfield Town are currently standing third in the Championship. Third! Just one place off automatic promotion to the Premiership.
And what's particularly nice about travelling by train to Huddersfield is arriving there - one of the most elegant stations around. I've seen some Parliament buildings with less grandeur.
For the first time in 45 years, I went yesterday to see Huddersfield Town play at home. (Since you're asking, they almost won!) And for the very first time, I went through Huddersfield station. What a beauty! It was completed in the 1850s, and has been described by Betjeman, no less, as the most splendid station frontage in England. If you follow this link, you'll find more about the building and its history.
The station is Grade 1 listed - thank God! And it fronts on to the impressive, if a touch lifeless, St George's Square. The statue, in case you are wondering, is of Harold Wilson - the Huddersfield boy, and Huddersfield Town fan, who made it to 10 Downing Street.
As memorable as this vista was the journey by train from Manchester across the Pennines, as the photos from my train window might suggest ... Huddersfield is as close to Rochdale as to Leeds.
And at the John Smith's stadium, very impressive, my son joined me to cheer Town on their way to their best chance of promotion to the top flight since 1969-70 (when I cheered my lungs out as Jimmy Nicholson held up the trophy as Town took the old Second Division top place).
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