Martin Hines- King of Karts- The Tribute

November 6, 2011 at 4:37 pm 1 comment

Martin's son-Luke, wife -Tina and daughter- Tuesday

ED Note: Even though Martin passed two months ago, his death and his funeral (held at Waltham Abbey with hundreds i,n attendance) still brings hundreds and I mean hundreds of searches to this blog daily.

I received permission from Tina, Martin’s wife, to publish the following thoughts from those that spoke at Martin’s funeral for those unable to attend and from the tribute held last month on October 13th, which was also the anniversary of his father’s Mark, passing . This tribute will be in two parts: Other posts on Martin can be found here


It Was 60 years ago this month that I first met Martin.It was our first day at St Mary’s School, Church End ,Finchley,we sat together that day and were to become inseparable friends for the next 10 years.

As I look back over the years and although I didn’t realise it at the time Martin was developing his business acumen right from those early days. The first example that I recall was at St Mary’s when we were about 7 or 8, there was a craze for playing marbles during playtime, within day’s Martin arrived at school with a home-made marble alley, a piece of wood with different sized holes cut into the bottom with corresponding numbers along the top, punters were invited to roll their marbles and to try to get them into one of the holes, if you got it into the hole saying 4 then you would be rewarded with 4 marbles, if you missed Martin kept your marble.

I don’t ever recall many marbles going through the holes and have my doubts if they were even big enough to allow a marble through, I do however recall Martin being the envy of the school and walking around with the biggest bag of marbles you could ever imagine.

Late October early November would see the pair of us with our “penny for the guy”, our pitch was along Hendon Lane just along from Macfisheries where Maudie would be busy in her little cash kiosk taking money and giving out change, opposite was Hines Cycle shop where Mark would be tinkering away repairing pushbikes.

Once our collection box got to near a shilling or as it is now 5p one of us would pop along to Thurleys the sweet shop and spend our well-earned cash, not on fireworks but sweets, this was a special treat for us as we were 7 before war rationing came off of sweets.

Early December we used to try our hand at Carol singing, but our first real business venture was when Martin discovered a niche in the market for White Mice, in no time at all a top breeding pair were installed in Martin’s granddad’s shed well out-of-the-way of Maudie’s prying eyes as had she found out I shudder to think of the consequences. It wasn’t long before our first litter arrived amidst great joy between us knowing that a small fortune was soon to be coming our way, as the days went by our joy started to disappear as our first litter developed brown markings and not the pure white as they should have been, unbeknown to us a wild feral mouse had made a visit somehow without us knowing.

Our next venture took over Maudie’s kitchen when we went into the plaster of paris model business, our speciality was 3 flying ducks to which would enhance any blank wall, a single duck was a shilling but if bought as a set of 3 the price reduced to half a crown or 12 and a half P, this went quite well until our pet rabbit business took over, this didn’t go as well as expected but I was beginning to realise Martin’s prowess as a salesman as he sold me one for three shillings and sixpence even though I was a partner in the business.

In 1957 we left St. Mary’s and went to the Alder secondary Modern, still we were trying to make our fortune and we decided to go into Racing Pigeons, not a lot of money buying and selling but big prize money, we felt at last we had cracked it. Within no time at all Crescent Lofts were erected at the bottom of Martins garden complete with a few not exactly top class inmates, this was soon to be rectified when each Sunday morning we would hitch a lift with Mark and Maudie to London’s Club Row and Petticoat Lane,

Mark at the time was running his Whist Drive and used to get his prizes from a warehouse in Brick Lane, on arrival Martin and I would head for the pigeon stalls, on the way we would pass a Bagel Bakery where an old Jewish lady would stand shouting out ‘Best Bagels all Fresh

Today’, ….. each Sunday week in week out Martin would creep up behind her and at the top of his voice would shout ‘ALL FRESH TODAY’ making her leap about 3 feet in the air, I know not what pleasure he got from it but he would skip along down the street happy as a lark no doubt looking forward to the next Sunday to repeat it all over again.

On arrival at the pigeon stalls we would give the vendors the benefit of our knowledge of the pigeon racing world and would try to get a good deal. Martin got a bargain one day on a retired racer that had won just about every race going,…. I think the sum of three shillings and sixpence changed hands only for the champion to escape from the loft a couple of days later and no doubt return to it’s previous owner who probably sold it again at a later date.

During the time we had the pigeons Martin decided that we should form a skiffle group no doubt with a view on entering the world of Pop music, I was selected to play the washboard, I believe Johnnie Burford was on the double Bass which consisted of a tea-chest, a broom handle and a string, Martin I believe along with Terry White alternated between guitar and drums, unfortunately this too was doomed to failure mainly because the likes of Lonnie Donegan and Frankie Lymon and The Teenagers decided to start at the same time.

In our mid teens we slowly drifted apart with me having moved house and Martin leaving to go to another school, still we kept in touch, Martin decided to have a go at motor cycle scrambling and bought a 200 cc Aerial Colt, I was terribly envious of this machine but am pleased to say that at a later date I became the proud owner of it.

This was around the time when the Go-Karts came onto the scene, I used to accompany Martin and Mark to Rye House but was relegated to helping start the machine which in those day’s was a case of picking up the back with Martin sitting comfortably inside, running along and dropping it down to bump start it, most times I would end up flat on my face while Martin shot forward disappearing into the wild blue yonder.

Girls were also a taking a part in our life at this time and having read Martin’s book I see that he mentions his first love Pamela Rowland.

I don’t think we had many secrets between us but one confession I have to make after all these years and that is the nights Martin didn’t see her ‘I did’, but if it’s any consolation I don’t think we were the only two on the scene at that time, and after all her Mum who took the money at Squires Lane Swimming Pool used to let me in for nothing.

As the years went by Martin had named the day to be married and I was pleased to be asked to be his best man. What seems to be a little stupid nowadays but was the thing to do back in the 60’s was to celebrate ones STAG NIGHT the night before the wedding. We decided to visit some of the drinking establishments around the SOHO area. Throughout our years together we were pretty much like peas in a pod even sharing the fact that through one reason or another we had both lost a front tooth that had been replaced by a small denture thus filling the offending gap. Martin was never a big drinker but slightly over did it on his Stag Night resulting in him being not very well down a side alley of Soho.

After a very pleasant evening we somehow made it back to 26, Church Crescent, with the time being around 3am, we rang the bell only to be confronted by a most irate Maudie, and most annoyed at us being out so late the day before the wedding, Martin being in a happy and jovial state gave his Mother a wonderful broad grin, it was only at that moment that even I recognised a rather large gap in Martins front row of teeth, I think the modern term is to go Ballistic, Maudie just literally disappeared into space. Mark came out in his pyjamas and was none too pleased with the situation either.

I was informed as best man it was my duty to see that he was looked after. I was then bundled into Mark’s car and driven rather hastily back to Soho where I am pleased to say the offending item was duly retrieved but not till after the whole scene was lit up by a police officer wanting to know what was going on.

Some two years later I myself was married and was privileged to have my old school friend as my best man, even though he decorated both my car and house and made them look like something about to take part in a carnival parade.

As the years went by we slowly lost touch, but thanks to the Internet I was able to follow my old mates success’s in his chosen career,


I was extremely pleased for him and felt proud that I had been a very small part in it all. A couple of years ago by means of an E-Mail I wished him well on his birthday and was pleased to receive a nice reply saying that we should meet up and wander around our old haunts, perhaps he had another business venture in mind for the pair of us. Unfortunately we never did get around to doing that.

Throughout our years of friendship I don’t ever remember us falling out, Martin was always kind and generous, he had a great sense of humour which I am reliably informed he never lost. For all of my remaining days I shall cherish the fond memories of our childhood and our youth.

Martin I am not going to say goodbye as I hope the next time we meet we will be those two St Mary’s schoolboys again, perhaps we will go to St Mary’s churchyard and hide behind the tombstones and jump out on the passers-by as we did all those years ago.
Till next we meet old friend

Entry filed under: grief, Lest we forget, motorsport/racing. Tags: , , , , .

The Brits don’t forget a slight- so why ? being British Bred- should I- Guy Fawkes Martin Hines- King of Karts- A Tribute – Part 2

1 Comment Add your own

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Trackback this post  |  Subscribe to the comments via RSS Feed



Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 231 other followers
November 2011

%d bloggers like this: