Make Do And Mend

Sherborne Museum

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

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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.
Food and Cooking
South West
1939 - 1945

"We bred large rabbits - Flemmish Giants and Belgian Hares". When they were large enough Unc. would kill them on a Wednesday evening and I would carry them on the Thursday bus to Sherborne to sell the surplus ones at Parsons the Butchers in Cheap Street."
Thornford, Dorset

Lily Garrett
Lily Garrett her Aunt who died in 1971 had often spoken of keeping rabbits during the war as meat was rationed.
Food and Cooking
Everyday Life
South West
South East
1939 - 1945
IVY MITCHELL nee PULLMAN RECALLED 17th Jan 2009
"I was born at Templecombe but was working in Sherborne at the start of the war. If I had stayed working at the boys and girls school I probably would not have been called up but I went to work at Milborne Port Glove Factory and that was when I was called up. I was sent to work in Reading for four years. First I had to fill shells, not the very big ones, and then later on I was trained to test them - that was dangerous. You had flames coming out of the machine around your legs. I was in lodgings and had a day off a fortnight. I couldn’t afford to go home more than once a month. My Uncle who was a Police Inspector at Bognor Regis used to pay for me to go to stay with him once a month.
I used to travel from Templecombe by train and changed at Basingstoke. I was in lodgings. I had three days off one Christmas and was going to travel back with my friend. We knew the train would be packed so we gathered a bunch of prickly holly. We soon cleared a space.
I was quite popular because I didn’t take sugar so my sugar ration was shared with the others. There was hardly any cake. Sometimes we managed to get some Huntley and Palmers cake - but that was under the carpet! It was lovely.
If we had relations working in food factories they used to share the extras their employers gave them. We swapped with something we could send them. Father used to shoot rabbits and we sent them up to Bristol relations. They used to send back cheese from the factory they worked in.
My friend’s brother was in the army. He sent a wooden box of fruit to me from France. We couldn’t get any. When it arrived the fruit had been stolen and all I got was the empty box!"
Reading

Ivy Mitchell nee Pullman Ivy Mitchell
Ivy Mitchell nee Pullman born at Templecombe (90 in November 2008) and sent to work in Reading filling shells.
Food and Cooking
In The Home
South East
1939 - 1945

"Mum and I were living in Earls Court, Kensington. My Dad was serving abroad. I remember being taken out to see the light in the city from the blitz. We could read a newspaper at night in the street it was so bright. Then we got bombed out. Mum and I went to live with my aunt and uncle at Brookwood.[ near Woking, Surrey ] Uncle Bob was serving in the RAF and based in Ireland. Every time he came home he would bring some fresh hens eggs. Aunty used to keep them in a crock in the cellar for safety."
Earls Court, Kensington

Jane Weymer
Jane is now living in Stalbridge, Dorset
Food and Cooking
Everyday Life
South West
1939 - 1945

"We were lucky living on the farm. Grandad kept the vegetable garden going and we weren't really short of anything. I made butter. I didn't make cheese until after the war. I won a scholarship to Agricultural College and learnt it there."
Dorset

Connie Read
Connie Read of Leigh recalled...
Food and Cooking
South West
1939 - 1945

"Mum used to send me down to the river to search for moorhen nests. There were so many in those days - not coots just moorhens. Then she would tie a spoon on to a long stick. I had to reach over and lift out and egg and put it in the water. If it floated it wasn't any good. If it sank then I was to remove two or three from the full clutch of as many as 14 and bring them home. Moorhen eggs tasted lovely - quite unlike any other eggs. Eggs were rationed you see."
Bembury Farm, Thornford, Dorset

Dennis Mitchell
Dennis's parents living at Bembury Farm where they were fortunate to have four or five cows and were not short of milk
Food and Cooking
South West
1939 - 1945

"We had a duck that always made its nest high up in one of the trees by the river. When she left the nest I had to check how many eggs she had. If she had lots I had to remove two or three then we had duck eggs for tea. We never took them all - just a few!"
Bembury Farm, Thornford, Dorset

Dennis Mitchell
Dennis's parents living at Bembury Farm where they were fortunate to have four or five cows and were not short of milk
Food and Cooking
South West
1939 - 1945

"Our small Dorset farm had a little orchard. We boys had to go out and pick up all of the fallen apples each day after school. We didn’t go short of food during the war. Every night we had a pudding and from September through to April, depending how well they kept, we had apples every night. Mum would bake them, make apple turnovers, boiled apple dumplings and apple turnovers. It was always apple but she said they were good for us and we were usually healthy."
Dorset

Dennis Mitchell
Dennis's parents living at Bembury Farm where they were fortunate to have four or five cows and were not short of milk
Clothing
Food and Cooking
In The Home
Everyday Life
South West
1939 - 1945

"I went to Westminster Bridge Road Primary School. I was evacuated with my younger brother Peter who was four. I was almost six as my birthday was the 7th October. We thought it was an adventure. It was like going on holiday. Our headteacher Mrs Campbell, Mr Foster and Miss Dobson came with us. I remember we were given barley sugar sticks to suck on the journey. We all enjoyed those. We stopped at Templecombe Station [ some eight miles outside the town, although Sherborne had its own station] and had to get off the train. I don't know why it didn't steam into Sherborne. I remember it was dark. We had to get on to coaches and were transported to the Digby Hall in Digby Road. It was very late by then and we spent the night at Cmdr. Nash's house in Sandford Road [ now called Dymor]. In the morning Peter and I were collected by Win and Jim Gould and went to the home at 2 Coombe Terrace. Win was organist at St Paul's Church Coombe, a red brick building now an engineers, on the other side of the road. She also played the organ at Sandford Orcas and Poyntington and walked to those villages as they didn't have any transport of their own. I didn't enjoy having to go to church three times on Sundays. I sang in the choir. I did enjoy collecting the stamps for good attendance at the Sunday School. They were very colourful and we stuck them in our albums.
The Goulds were such nice people. We had a good home. Jim was a carpenter - the best in the street. Jim had a large garden that stretched right up from Coombe to Marston Road where he had his workshop. They had a large chicken called Henrietta who laid well and they grew most of their own food. The meal I didn't like was fried egg and mashed potato!
At home father worked on the railway, an essential job so he wasn't allowed to join the RAF. Mum and my younger brother Bill were evacuated to Exeter but they were bombed there and evacuated to Wells! Mum and Dad sent me a pair of heavy boots once. I didn't like them at all and called them 'clodhoppers' and tried to kick them and wear them out.
We were able to take part in potato picking and paid six pence an hour. We had to walk to Crackmoor on the outskirts of Milborne Port to pick up conkers. They were packed into wooden barrells and once full sold off to the Council Offices at Ludbourne Road, Sherborne and were used as pig food. We also picked rose hips which were rich in Vitamin C. When we had filled a two pound kilner jar full we could take those to the Council Offices and wer paid two pence. They were made into rose hip syrup. Mum used to send us a three pence postal order each week from London. We used to go to Woolworths. They still had sweets. We used to spend it on MIlky Ways and Golly Bars - these were toffee strips and you got four for a penny. We always managed to get treats. Sweets were not rationed then and we also had a tuck shop at school. We could also get ice cream.
Jim made a shelter under the stairs of plywood with benches round it. When the air raid sirens went off we had to hammer on the wall to Mrs Penny next door because she was deaf and couldn't hear the siren.
When it was harvest time we used to go into the fields to catch rabbits. All of the children were given a stick and we had enough to stand right around the edges of the field. As the harvest was cut the rabbits would go into the centre of the field and when the machines got closer they would run out and we would kill them. We weren't allowed to take home all the ones we caught. We had to put them all into a pool and the farmer would share them out at the end of the day.
We would also go out sticking - collecting sticks for the fire.
We used to play a lot of games. We had a darts board and we also used to do a lot of drawing. Paper was not in short supply. Jim was good artistically, being a cabinet maker. I remember painting a large picture of a parrot and it won a local competition.
The countryside seemed strange to us. We were frightened of cows at first but soon got used to them. We thought the hills around us were mountains!
I remember the only bombing raid that hit Sherborne in 1940. I was walking home from school. I remember at least one evacuee was killed in it. I remember the strong smell of gas in the air afterwards and Uncle Jim going out with his first aid kit on patrol. One night I heard a German plane low overhead. We knew it was going to crash it was so low but we boys were not allowed to get up and watch it. The men saw it in flames. It crashed in Poyntington village a few milesd away and the crew were buried in the churchyard for some time. After the war their bodies were returned to Munich.
We used to search for bits of plane and shrapnel to keep.!
We kept in touch with the Goulds for the rest of their lives."
Sherborne, Dorset

Peter (4) and James Whiting (6) - a photo taken by their parents the day before they were evacuated from London to Sherborne. James Whiting
James now lives at Seaton, Devon after falling in love with the countryside after being evacuated to Sherborne on the 2nd September 1939 from London.
Food and Cooking
South West
1939 - 1945

"Most food was rationed. We had one egg a week. Dried egg and dried milk was available on ration. Otherwise we were allowed half a pint every other day. People with friendly shopkeepers bought baby food past its sell by date and made cocoa."
Sherborne, Dorset

Joan Miller

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