Thorcraft 182, Queens Road Hastings 1970’s

Alan Esdaile… I think they now run a gas company local?

Christ Meachen… They relocated to ivy house lane industrial estate.. Still going, & with all the tools etc.

Chris Jolly… Such a great design!

Will Cornell… I have one of these. In his project working on his AR15 my son tore one of the planks on top off it’s mounting bolt. Looked online. They DO have replacements, so I ordered a pair….but the forward plank jutted out 1/4″ from the front and the crank handles that adjust the vise planks can’t turn all the way…so on either side you must shave off a bit. That then takes away some of the ruler that comes printed with that forward plank. But overall, this thing has been real handy…have built something like 18 cigar box guitars with it in a tiny cramped corner of the garage and many other projects too.

Stewart Grimes… Still using mine, one of the original ones with the cast alloy legs that rarely survive

Lyn Farkley Appleyard… Oh my goodness… memories of the 1970’s!!

Gerry Fortsch… Wish you could buy one of those at that price today, I have had mine for over 40 years brilliant bit of kit.

Jon McCallion… Still have mine

Graham Sherrington…Thorcraft what a great store

Paul Solly Herbert… Graham, thank you appreciate that

Julie Findlay-jones… We still have one.

Paul Bannister… I think I remember them as really sturdy, made of cast aluminium? Modern ones are flimsy in comparison..

Marcus de Mowbray… Thorcraft still going in Ore Industrial estate, Ivyhouse Lane.

Mike Waghorne… I still have one of the smaller ones in my garage must be nearly 40 years old

Julie Finch… Julie, dad never used his

Mark Bartlett… Thorcraft. That’s a memory, probably long gone now.

Paul Solly Herbert… Hia we are still about I’m Barry’s son Paul and we are still going strong. Barry is still there but I’m in the process of taking it on. We’ve been at Ivyhouse Lane now for nearly 15 years.

Martin Waghorne… Still got one in the shed

Paul Solly Herbert… Just want to say hi to everyone on this group I loved seeing the old advert from Thorcraft Ltd. I was wondering if anyone else had any more old memories from the shop. My dad was the manager there from the early days and now I’m slowly taking over it as he is semi retired so would love to see some old history or hear anything about the shop. I’ve been working for my dad for the last 15 years at the shop.

Romaine Fulton-hart… All the staff used to come into Nick’s Cornwallis Restaurant next to the trophy 🏆shop, just near to Thorcraft. I worked there at weekends while I was at school. Barry was lovely, he gave me a lift to work, early one Sunday in morning in 1979, when I decided to walk the distance from home near Abbey Drive to Cornwallis Street.

Alan Esdaile… Used to use Nick’s for lunch sometimes and so did some of the Masons staff.

Romaine Fulton-hart… Nick and Helen were pretty special and so kind

England – Hastings Pier 25th March 1978 photos by Sue Arber





© Sue Arber.  supplied via Phil Gill.

England – Hastings Pier 1978. Four pictures of prog rock band England on Hastings Pier in 1978, during Phil Gill time as bass player. Courtesy of rock photographer Sue Arber,who kindly sent them to Phil. 

Martyn Baker… Can’t find ANYTHING at all about them online.

Alan Esdaile… That’s the trouble Martyn Baker with the name England. I have a previous posting which I will find. Here is some from you tube.

Roy Penfold..

Martyn Baker… Thanks Alan and thanks Roy. I was doubting my memory that they actually existed!

Yvonne Cleland… Like the album name.

Dave Nattress… Wow – nice one and especially for Phil Gill. I went to the gig and was disappointed because (if I’m right) they played nothing off Garden Shed. Presumably some of the tracks they played – but no way can I remember any, would have gone on to “Last of the Jubblies”. Maybe Phil can recall or even has a set-list? Martyn, there are actually quite a lot of hits on England (this band), on the web. Try Garden Shed Music.

Phil Gill… The majority of England’s set during my tenure was songs from The Last of the Jubblies and new songs which I don’t believe were ever recorded. We rehearsed Midnight Madness from Garden Shed, but I don’t recall playing it live. I actually learned all of Garden Shed for my audition the previous year and would have loved to play it live but, to be fair, the other three had spent the previous 18 months writing and recording the album and were desperate to move on and work on new material. What’s your take on where they were headed during your post-Garden Shed tenure Geoff Peckham? Did you ever play it with them?

Geoff Peckham… I was a bit mystified as to their musical direction when I joined. I thought “Garden Shed” was fabulous but I didn’t play any of that with them. In fact we played nothing for a while, until we started rehearsing then recording the stuff that eventually surfaced on “The Last of The Jubblies”. This was very different from “Garden Shed”, more ‘organic’ I thought. It appeared to be developing but nothing seemed to move whilst I was around.

Phil Gill… Wow, exactly 39 years ago today!

Iain Cobby… Garden Shed ; must be one of the best prog albums of all time. Didn’t we swap Marshall cabs at that time Phil? I do remember the gig on the Pier and like Dave (we must have gone together as we were part of Damaris at that time) fell disappointed that there was nothing from that album. I do remember the mellotron looked as if it was stripped down, all the tapes exposed and that the PA was pants and did the guys no favors. but hey………… you lucky bassists to have been part of that history.


Precisely This, St Johns Wood & The Springbeats – 25th March 1967 Hastings Pier.

supplied by Colin Fox

Colin Fox… I don`t know if this has been posted before, but I played with St Johns Wood in the 60`s

Mick O’Dowd… Very nice find Colin. Anymore?  Does anybody have any info/pics of Precisely This. Must say they are new to me.

Lynn Graham… Yay the Springbeats. Woohoo.

Martin Richter… advert… this is more like it!!

‘England’ prog rock band – Hastings Pier 25th March 1978


featuring Phil Gill. supplied by Phil Gill via Robert Webb



ad supplied by Sarah Harvey                poster Sue Arber via Phil Gill.

Phil Thornton ….England were great ! – lots of Mellotron and Moog, niceness !

Sarah Harvey….March 25th, 1978. England only produced one album in the 70s (Garden Shed – 1977) so I wonder what they filled out the set with. I have the Garden Shed album and played some tracks in my 70s show the other evening.

Andy Qunta…..Garden Shed is a fabulous album! They did have other songs too. I believe our SMART friends Jaffa Peckham & Phil Gill might know more about that?

Phil Gill….We didn’t do anything from Garden Shed that night or any other. It was all new stuff. The three original members had lived with the album for two years by then and wanted to move on. I’d have loved to have played songs off Garden Shed, but hey, I was the new boy.

Dave Nattress….Hi All you England fans!!  I had bought Garden Shed from Boots in Bexhill.  I’d noticed the album in the rack for what seemed like months and it just wasn’t selling – looked like the only copy , anyway eventually intrigue took over and I bought it and it just blew me away especially when I learned the nucleus of the band was from Crowborough.  So, when they played the pier and was gobsmacked to see Phil Gill on bass.  I of course was disappointed because like Phil says, they didn’t play one track off the Garden Shed album.  Many years later I bought “Last of the Jubblies” on CD and more recently – well still years back, got Garden Shed on CD.
Somehow then Geoff Peckham and I met up again – went to school with Jaffa in Bexhill from 7 years old till 16 when we left, and as we talked he said he’d played/recorded Jubblies but hadn’t got it or heard it for years and years.  I guess this was obviously after Phil Gill left – maybe Phil played on some tracks though, so I said all cool, well I had bought it as a punter so I was delighted to burn a copy and photocopy the sleeve etc. and I sent him the original for old school times sake.  Jaffa will remember that he and I were founder members of the Goon Squad at school.  To me, Jubblies doesn’t come close to Garden Shed though.  Garden Shed – like just out of (seemingly) nowhere – astonishing!!!

Phil Gill….Jaffa played on all of Jubblies, it was recorded before he left and I replaced him. I played all of Jubblies live, with the exception of Jaffa’s song “Sausage Pie”, which for some reason they dropped

Steve Kinch….Phil, I remember that we played with England in Worthing, but have got absolutely no memory of the actual gig. Wasn’t Roger Carey offered the job at one time?

Phil Gill….I remember the gig well. England were not a particularly dynamic live act in my opinion, and I kind of missed the excitement of the Stallion shows I’d done for the previous two years, with John Wilde running around shaking everyone on stage by the throat, knocking us around and generally whipping up a frenzy.  Yes, Roger was offered the job and I believe actually played and/or recorded with them at some point after I left. I’m a bit hazy on the story he told me, but he’d be able to confirm the detail.

Terry Pack….The Enid played twice with England while I was in the former and Phil with the latter. Lewisham(?) was one, but the other…? Do you remember, Phil? I didn’t know that Jaffa had played with them, too. I liked the drummer, who sounded a lot like Bill Bruford, I thought. The keyboard player had butchered any number of keyboards in an attempt to achieve a kind of midi. I thought they were very good.

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