An afternoon in France with Vespa (and Silver City)

Taking your scooters to France for the afternoon, for less than a fiver? it can only be the 1950s, can’t it?

Indeed it was, and here is a jolly little film, complete with sexist commentary about four young ladies who did just that on their British built (in Bristol) Douglas Vespa scooters back in 1952, that were flown across the English Channel by aircraft, also built in Bristol.

Silver City airways operated their first cross-Channel air ferry service, between Lympne near Folkestone in Kent and Le Touquet on France’s northern coast in the summer of 1948. By the end of 1949 they had five Bristol Freighter aircraft on the route and by 1950, the number of cars and passengers had reached 5,000 and 24,000 respectively.

To encourage further traffic growth on its Lympne — Le Touquet cross-Channel car ferry service, Silver City reduced fares with effect from 19 September 1950, which left Silver City’s air-ferry fares only slightly higher than the Dover—Calais boat ferry fares of British Railways’ Southern Region and, together with the service’s carriage of cycles and motorcycles, helped establish the airline’s ferry services as a serious competitor to the railways.

You can watch the ladies’ European excursion here.
And if you enjoy old film footage featuring scooters, please check out the film page on our main website, which we are constantly updating.

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