Without Let or Hindrance

The standard wording on a UK passport as of 1990.

Imagining I might spend the summer after my final year of University inter-railing around Europe, I ordered my first passport in the spring of 1990. A page from it is shown above. By the time it arrived, I knew that in no way could I afford not to spend the whole summer working. For quite some time it proved to be of no use to me at all. I’d travelled overseas exactly once during childhood – but hadn’t needed a passport of my own at that time. My next opportunity to leave the UK didn’t come until ‘93 – my first trip to Paris – so I finally got to brandish it then. It’s one of the old-style blue passports that pre-dated the burgundy EU common format ones that many Brexiteers so resented.

Travelling in Europe a fair amount in the later ’90s I did eventually get my money’s worth out of the thing. It also accompanied me on my first four trips to North America, with stamps on pages 5, 6 (x2) and 9 to mark those occasions. My second passport (2000-10), was also well-travelled; but the third (2013-23) I used only twice. With no forseeable prospect of further international journeys, I have yet to order passport #4.