MovieChat Forums > A Kind of Loving (1962) Discussion > 'Dim as a TocH lamp' Film, Book or both

'Dim as a TocH lamp' Film, Book or both

This is the first film I have seen which where a character has used the expression "Dim as a TocH lamp".
Vic Brown goes into a pub whilst trying to have a "good time" to forget the situation he has got himself into and one of those he is conversing with utters the phase. I'm not sure if this expression was in the book or inserted by Script writers Keith Waterhouse/Willis Hall...perhaps someone out there knows

I used to hear people use the expression "Dim as a TocH lamp" (which I may hasten to add was not applied in my direction...well not in my hearing at least..) growing up in the 50's and 60's in my northern mining town and my RI teacher at my secondary school, Bentinck, in Worksop, Sam Nuttall (who I fondly remember) was a leading member back then.

The TocH lamp was so-called (as far as I am aware) because the dim oil lamp being referred to has its origins as a form of lighting in the dug-outs in the trenches of the Western Front during WWI. The actual TocH lamp has a small crucifix at the flame end.
The TocH organisation was founded from a meeting house open to all, both officers and men, behind the lines of Western Front at Poperinge.
This mainly voluntary organisation which was based on Christian ideals and was/is non-denominational (though the founding father Tubby Clayton was CofE) was a channel for lay people to express their beliefs via forms of community action.

It became a very popular national organisation after the 1st War and continued to have a fairly high profile till into the 60's which the reference in the film from 1962 indicated and anyone saying it would not have seemed an old fashioned by saying it.
It's only in the last 30-40 years that TocH has gradually disappeared from public perception as the 1st War and the 2nd generations have died but left no one to, not so much "take up the torch", but "take up the lamp".

TocH came into view in my life again during the early 90's when I took my children to the preserved trenches and the graveyards in Flanders and visited Poperinge and went into Talbot House, the home of the origins of TocH, which they have owned since a charitable donation back in the 20's.
There was still alive then a woman called Jan who used to come to the club during the war and she learned to play the piano through those visits. Amazing woman and she was interviewed some years later by Tony Robinson for a Radio 4 programme. Sadly now deceased though she can still be seen on video if you ever visit Talbot House which is now a Visitor Centre rather than a Hostel.

I went back regularly for several years as it was then a residential hostel which you could self-cater. Wonderful days for me and my kids.
The voluntary wardens, who were then in their late 60's upwards were wonderful British people and always helpful.
I did have the misfortune to see a couple of paid TocH people who were heading a visiting group from Britain who were in 30's who I thought were dreary blank-faced PC clone bores and was saddened, if they were representative, by the take over of such types of this once fine organization.