Make Do And Mend

Sherborne Museum

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'Their Past Your Future 2' (TPYF2) Programme

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All | 1937 | 1938 | 1939 | 1940 | 1941 | 1942 | 1943 | 1944 | 1945 | 1946 | 1947 | 1948 | 1949 | 1950

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Everyday Life
South West
1939 - 1939

"We moved from Thornford to Yetminster in April 1939 so I had a few months to enjoy it before war broke out on September 3rd. I went to the Girls School in Church Street. They dug a trench on land behind the school and put a tin roof on it. It was supposed to be an air raid shelter but we always thought it was more dangerous to leave the school and walk down the side of the building to the field."
Yetminster, Dorset

Heather Helliar (right) pictured at Thornford shortly before the Second World War with her sister Sylvia (left) and Aunt Lily Heather Helliar
Heather Helliar moved to Yetminster while still at primary school, shortly after war broke out. Her grandparents still lived at Thornford and she recalls.
Everyday Life
South West
1939 - 1945

"At school we had to save every bit of paper for the war effort. We were told three envelopes would pack a [gun] cartridge."
Dorset

Heather Helliar (right) pictured at Thornford shortly before the Second World War with her sister Sylvia (left) and Aunt Lily Heather Helliar
Heather Helliar moved to Yetminster while still at primary school, shortly after war broke out. Her grandparents still lived at Thornford and she recalls.
In The Home
Everyday Life
South West
1941 - 1942

"In 1941 I had a cyst on my kneecap and was put in a plastercast from hip to ankle and had to stay in bed. On January 2nd 1942 I went down with scarlet fever. I was taken to the Yeatman Hospital, Sherborne for a month. Sherborne was full of scarlet fever. A woman was brought in with a really bad throat. By the time it was diagnosed it was too late. I had caught diptheria - or so they thought because one of the junior nurses also caught it and we were both transferred to the Isolation Hospital at Sturminster Newton because the Isolation House in Sherborne had burnt down. Sturminster Newton's was called Penny House, in Penny Street near the church. It was a big house with a big garden and it was my home for the next 3 and a half months. We weren't allowed visitors but even if we had been mother wouldn't have been able to visit because there was no petrol. Only farmers and essential workers could get it. Mother wrote to me every day. We weren't allowed to write letters. First of all I was in a scarlet fever ward with two other girls. When they finally diagnosed diptheria I was put in a ward on my own. I was sure I had caught it in Sherborne.
Tom Baker was the Ambulance Man and he lived at the Coffee Tavern at Thornford. Gran Garrett lived at Vine Cottage next door. She used to give Tom apples and eggs for me. He used to deliver it to the home but I rarely got it. A cleaner at the isolation hospital finally blew the whistle on what was happening. The nurses used to eat it. She was dismissed.
I spent my twelfth birthday with scarlet fever and diptheria in March 1942. Mother used her rations to make me a blancmange for a treat. She managed to come and see me. As I was slightly better she was allowed to stand at the ward door but not to come in. That was the closest she got to me. She was really pleased to see me walking. They had taken off the plaster cast."
Dorset

Heather Helliar (right) pictured at Thornford shortly before the Second World War with her sister Sylvia (left) and Aunt Lily Heather Helliar
Heather Helliar moved to Yetminster while still at primary school, shortly after war broke out. Her grandparents still lived at Thornford and she recalls.
Food and Cooking
In The Home
South West
1939 - 1945

"There was hardly any food at the hospital. We used to get breakfast at 7am. It was a single piece of bread and margarine with lard on it. A cooked dinner was served at 12. It was swimming in water. That was supposed to be gravy. Tea was at 3.30pm and was a sandwich and a small bit of cake. Nothing else was served after that. When I was allowed home I did nothing but eat. I put on nearly a stone in a month!"
Dorset

Heather Helliar (right) pictured at Thornford shortly before the Second World War with her sister Sylvia (left) and Aunt Lily Heather Helliar
Heather Helliar moved to Yetminster while still at primary school, shortly after war broke out. Her grandparents still lived at Thornford and she recalls.
In The Home
Everyday Life
South West
1939 - 1945

"We only had basics at home. Everything got so bad. Nothing ordinary was being manufactured at all. Factories were taken over for munitions or for making army uniforms. I remember reading a tip in a magazine it said if you couldn't buy a comb comb your hair with a fork!. Combs were in short supply. I thought I must remember that."
Dorset

Heather Helliar (right) pictured at Thornford shortly before the Second World War with her sister Sylvia (left) and Aunt Lily Heather Helliar
Heather Helliar moved to Yetminster while still at primary school, shortly after war broke out. Her grandparents still lived at Thornford and she recalls.
Clothing
South West
1939 - 1945

"I remember Gran Garrett cutting off the worn out feet of Granf's hand knitted socks. She then picked up the stitched on the leg and knitted new feet on to them."
Thornford, Dorset

Heather Helliar (right) pictured at Thornford shortly before the Second World War with her sister Sylvia (left) and Aunt Lily Heather Helliar
Heather Helliar moved to Yetminster while still at primary school, shortly after war broke out. Her grandparents still lived at Thornford and she recalls.
Clothing
South West
1939 - 1945

"I remember Aunt Lil showing me how to make a new belt. We saved the cellophane wrappers off of the cigarette packets. Everyone smoked in those days. She showed me how to fold the wrappers to make a strong section and then interlock it with another section to make a fashion belt. When you had a long enough belt you fitted a buckle."
Thornford, Dorset

Heather Helliar (right) pictured at Thornford shortly before the Second World War with her sister Sylvia (left) and Aunt Lily Heather Helliar
Heather Helliar moved to Yetminster while still at primary school, shortly after war broke out. Her grandparents still lived at Thornford and she recalls.
Everyday Life
South West
1939 - 1945

"Nothing was ever wasted as very little was manufactured owing to the factories producing military uniforms, shells, bombs, planes, tanks and guns."
Thornford, Dorset

Heather Helliar (right) pictured at Thornford shortly before the Second World War with her sister Sylvia (left) and Aunt Lily Heather Helliar
Heather Helliar moved to Yetminster while still at primary school, shortly after war broke out. Her grandparents still lived at Thornford and she recalls.
In The Home
South West
1939 - 1945

"Aunt Freda [King nee Garrett, her mother's older sister] showed me how to make a fireside rug. We opened a hessian sack and then cut strips of material from old coats, stockings, or any clothes that had worn out. Then we had a rug hook and wove the strips in and out of the hessian. If you were clever you made a patterm, depending on colour and quantity of material."
Thornford, Dorset

Heather Helliar (right) pictured at Thornford shortly before the Second World War with her sister Sylvia (left) and Aunt Lily Heather Helliar
Heather Helliar moved to Yetminster while still at primary school, shortly after war broke out. Her grandparents still lived at Thornford and she recalls.
Everyday Life
South West
1939 - 1945

"At Yetminster school we made contact with an Australian soldier through the Red Cross who was in a prisoner of war camp. The Red Cross chose people who did not have any family. We used to write him letters and make cards and when it was Christmas we made things and gave a few pence towards buying him warm items for his Red Cross Christmas Parcel. Our schoolteacher said she had bought a wool vest and pair of long wool pants in large size as she said all Australians were big. When he sent us a thankyou card he said he was 5' 2" so he probably had to wrap them round twice!"
Yetminster, Dorset

Heather Helliar (right) pictured at Thornford shortly before the Second World War with her sister Sylvia (left) and Aunt Lily Heather Helliar
Heather Helliar moved to Yetminster while still at primary school, shortly after war broke out. Her grandparents still lived at Thornford and she recalls.

Do you remember having to make do and mend? Please submit your experiences.