Make Do And Mend

Sherborne Museum

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In The Home
Everyday Life
South West
1939 - 1945

"Mum was expecting me. She was living in Newland, Sherborne. Dad was serving abroad. She was bombed out in the only Sherborne bombing raid. Dad was not allowed to come home. She was re-homed in a little cottage in Trendle Street."
Sherborne, Dorset

Ann Guppy

In The Home
Everyday Life
North West
1939 - 1945

"John Porter recalls the women of his village, near Wilsden in Lincolnshire, held regular knitting groups. All spare wool was gathered and knitted into squares to be made into blankets for the bombed out families in London"
Wilsden, Lancashire

John Porter

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.
Everyday Life
South West
1939 - 1945
As an evacuee in Sherborne during the war James Whiting recalls the Sherborne Bombing raid of 30th September 1940
"We were on our way home from school - me my brother Peter and Tommy Noakes. We were at the top of Ackerman Street when the bombs dropped. [their temporary home while evacuated from London was at Coombe Terrace] There was a strong smell of gas in the air which lingered for several days. The next day all the boys were out looking for shrapnel."
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.
In The Home
Everyday Life
Midlands
South East
1939 - 1945

"We were not far from Biggin Hill airfield. We had big guns on wheels near us and a lot of plane activity. The guns did not actually have the range to hit the planes that flew over on their way to the city. I wasn't frightened. We lived in a bungalow. We were self sufficient. Kent had a lot of farms. Dad was a good gardener and Mum was a good cook. I was brought up on rations but we were not short of anything really. Dad kept rabbits, ducks and chickens so we had meat and eggs. I do remember the sweet rations though and thought it unfair that adults got a pound of sweets a month but children only three quarters of a pound!. We only had 2 ounces of butter a week. Word soon spread around the village when oranges came in. Mum would send me round to the greengrocers to stand in the queue. We didn't have bananas as you had to have a green ration book to have those. [a baby's ration book] Mum used to buy a large joint of beef and pot roast it so we had it hot on Sunday, cold on Monday and Tuesday and then the rest was minced. When that ran out Mum would make a bacon pudding. I didn't like it. It was the one meal I didn't like. She used to cut up the fatty ends of bacon and make it into a doughy pudding that was steamed in a handkerchief. I was evacuated to Birmingham when I was six. I hated it. After six weeks I wrote to Mum.
"Dear Mum. Take me home".
We were bombed a lot. We could see the fires over London during the blitz. Our bungalow was fire bombed. It destroyed the main bedroom but they managed to put the fire out before it reached the rest of the building. I remember the Doodlebugs too. The bombing was heavy. I remember the noise. When the noise stopped we ran inside and sheltered. A landmine hit the school next door. Fortunately it was empty at the time. We were smothered in plaster, glass and debris. The school was completely destroyed. A whole row of cottages was hit a short distance away and everyone was killed."
Kent and Birmingham

Pam and James Whiting pictured at Sherborne war memorial on 1st September 2009, 70 years after |James arrived in Sherborne as Pam Whiting
Pam was the daughter of Florence, known as May, and Walter Harrison. They lived at St Paul's Cray, a village in Kent about 16 miles from the heart of London.
Clothing
South West
1939 - 1945

"Army surplus stores sold cotton parachute panels in red and blue. We could piece the bits together and either make pyjamas or even knickers. Elastic was in short supply so we made French knickers fastened with a button and buttonhole!"
Sherborne, Dorset

Joan Miller

Clothing
South West
1939 - 1945
Stockings
"When our fully fashioned stockings [ stockings with seams at the back ] were damaged they laddered. To make them last longer we would get out a very fine crochet hook and pick up the stitch and mend the ladder. In the summer we dyed our legs with permanganate of potash and drew a seam up the back of the leg with an eyebrow pencil!"
Sherborne, Dorset

Joan Miller

Clothing
South West
1939 - 1945

"All clothing and textiles were rationed so we had to give up coupons when buying them. You could get army blankets, usually in dark grey, from army surplus stores and make them up into coats or dressing gowns. Wooden soled clogs were sometimes available as shoes were in short supply."
Sherborne, Dorset

Joan Miller

Clothing
South West
1939 - 1945

"Fair Isle patterns became popular. You could unpick an old jumper and then knit new ones in stripes. Tapestry wool wasn't rationed so you could buy skeins and knit gloves or childrens jumpers with it."
Sherborne, Dorset

Joan Miller

Clothing
South West
1939 - 1945

"People with small busts made bras from handkerchiefs folding them diagonally and making a dart in them. An old nightdress could be cut down to make a waist slip and when that wore out cut down again into panties or handkerchiefs.
We used a wooden mushroom and darned over holes in socks and woolies.
Worn cotton dresses were cut down into aprons and clothes for the children. Some people even bought shiny synthetic knitting material and made knickers!"
Sherborne, Dorset

Joan Miller

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