Make Do And Mend

Sherborne Museum

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Food and Cooking
South West
1939 - 1945

"Uncle George used to work in the Horlicks Factory in Crewkerne. During the war they used to be given big jars of Horlicks every few weeks and we used to give some to our cousins near Sherborne to save their ration coupons. We didn't use that much Horlicks at home so we used to trade our spare with neighbours for other things we needed. The big jars were very useful afterwards for storage jars."
Dowlish Wake, Somerset

Jess Fowler

Food and Cooking
Wales
1939 - 1945

"There were six of us and four loved sugar and sweets. Mum used to get really fed up with the arguments over rations so she set us up a jar each and put our names on it - she used the edging bits off of the postage stamps with sticky backs to save paper. She used to put our weekly ration in our jar and when it was gone that was it! I remember our gas masks. They used to hang on a hook behind the door. We were supposed to practice putting them on but we didn't like them. We didn't like the rubbery smell either. I can't remember finding them useful except when Mum asked me to peel the onions. I was the oldest and they stopped my eyes running!"
Hengoed, South Wales

Mary Smith

Clothing
Food and Cooking
Everyday Life
North West
South East
1939 - 1945

"My father was a morse code instructor during the war. I didn't go to ordinary school but was taught by post as part of the Parents Union School that I think was based in the Lake District. We were in Aberdeen for a few months when father was instruction Naval Cadets. He had three months to teach them what should have taken three years.
In Aberdeen I remember an air raid. Mother and I were sitting under the kitchen table. Our canary was on the top in its cage. I don't know why we didn't have her underneath with us. She used to travel everywhere with us. She was so used to travelling she used to sing on station platforms and wasn't at all worried when travellers came to talk to her.
I remember one air raid while we were in Aberdeen - a big one that went on and on. When there was a lull Mother and I went to visit the old man next door and stayed with him when it started again. I remember he gave me some books to read to take my mind off of the raid - but they were all in Gaelic! He hadn't realised I couldn't read them. We had double summer time while we were in Aberdeen. In Aberdeen we were above the city and could look down on it and the harbour. There was a big ship anchored in the harbour and an enemy plane came over and started firing on it. I remember lots of tracer bullets. The ship was firing at the plane. I shall always remember what mother said. It sounded strange to me.
"Isn't that pretty. I do like that!" - the colours were quite pretty as they fired at each other but it was really quite frightening.

We were in Scarborough too. I remember mother seeing a queue. We didn't know what we were queuing for but after a long time we got to the front of the shop and all we could have was just one Victoria plum. It was a very big one. I don't remember ever seeing such a large plum before and I can't remember what we did with it! Mother used to skin things too. I remember a lot of rabbit meat.

When we were in Brighton I remember another air raid. We hid under the table for what seemed like hours. I can remember the pattern of the linoleum today - I was looking at it for so long!

When we were in Shropshire we had a bungalow in a steeply sided valley. It only had oil lamps and oil for cooking. We used to hear the bombers go over heading for Shrewsbury. We used to go outside to listen and heard the thump, thump thump as the bombs fell. I was an only child so I didn't have enough courage to go out on my own at night and climb up the hill. I would have liked to to see the town and where the bombs had fallen. Mum used to buy my sweet ration once a month. She always bought chocolate bars and then broke them up. I got two chunks each day. I never had any sugar I was always given saccharin. Mum loved making jam so saved all of the sugar ration for that. When sugar wasn't rationed any longer I didn't like the taste of it at all. It tasted funny to me.

I don't remember being short of clothes but mother was very good at sewing. I do remember one of the places we stayed at had a an electric heater with two switches. She wasn't used to it. We hadn't had anything like it at home. She put on one switch and there was a warm light but no heat. She said "I don't think much of this heater". She didn't realise you had to put on the other switch to get the heat!"


Marguerite found two wartime booklets - the Protection of Your Home against Air Raids and Your Food in War-time. Marguerite k Marguerite Backhouse
A talented artist who now lives at Glanvilles Wootton, Dorset not surprising recalls, colours and scenes during her wartime schooldays that took her across the country.
Food and Cooking
In The Home
Wales
1939 - 1945

"My grandfather was a butcher here during the war. He had to supply his own set of butchers knives. They were always kept on a stand on the dresser and he took them to work everyday. He was allowed to bring the trimmings of meat home everyday so we had a slightly bigger meat ration than a lot of families. My brothers used to go and scour the slag heaps for any bits of coal they could find and used to bring them home in their pockets."
Ebbw Vale

Emma Martin

Food and Cooking
South West
1939 - 1945

"We had a pie with some lovely dark meat in it one day. I asked Mum what it was and she said it was rook pie. Dad had shot them the night before. He said his grandfather used to catch sparrows for sparrow pie and he hoped it wasn't going to get any worse as he didn't want to do the same as they were a lot smaller and you needed a lot more to make a pie. We used to have a lot of rabbit meat too and sometimes pigeon pie. There was something called Mock Duck - but I can't remember what it was made from except it had nothing to do with duck!"
Dorchester

Edith Moore

Food and Cooking
Everyday Life
South West
1939 - 1945

"I was born three miles from Wimborne, Dorset, in a little village and it remained my family home until we moved to Chetnole after the war. I was at school when war broke out. Then I began my nurse's training in Surrey. We were evacuated to Yorkshire because of the danger from bombing raids and rockets. Father was destined for the bank when he had left school but the outbreak of the First World War put paid to that. He was due to embark but slipped and fell and broke his arm so he never went to France. After the First War he went into poultry farming. He never wanted to work inside again. We were lucky living in the country when the Second World War broke out and had poultry and everything we needed. I don't remember being short of anything but we were used to shortages. Things had been much worse before the war. There were real shortages and hardships during the 1930s so we were used to making do so when war broke out those shortages were nothing new to us. We didn't keep rabbits but our cat was very good at catching them and when it brought them home we used to take them away and cook them for dinner. Father was too old by then to be called up but he did go into the RPU - the Radar Prototype Unit at Creech Moor. I don't really know what he did. I don't expect we were supposed to. Times were really hard but we had learnt to cope before the war. People didn't expect as much as people do today."
Wimborne, Dorset

Sybil Howard
Pictured taking part in the Chetnole Church Parachuting Teddy Bears, the village she has lived in for over 60 years.
Food and Cooking
In The Home
Everyday Life
South West
South East
1939 - 1945

"The family had been there over 200 years. It was a mixed farm so we had everything we wanted - pork, eggs, milk, butter, cheese and vegetables. No one had served in the forces as they had reserved occupations although my father was a member of the Home Guard. They used to meet in a hut in a sand pit but there was usually nothing for them to do. I stayed with my aunt in Winchester for two years. We had a lot of troop movements leading up to D Day. I remember the troops marching on the roads too. She had American soldiers billetted with her. We used to hear our bombers going out on raids. They went overhead both at the farm and at Winchester. Sometimes we saw them coming back with vapour trails behind some of them who just made it home. At the farm I remember hearing the empty cartridge cases raining down on the galvanised roofs of the farm buildings and the noise it made. We weren't really short of anything. We never wasted anything in any case so it was nothing new to us."
Eastleigh, near Winchester

Rob Boyes

Everyday Life
Wales
1939 - 1945

"Su Penn said my war was very different to Ray's. I was in the Rhonda and Ray was in the city and was an evacuee. War hardly touched my family. We didn't have any bombing raids although we did see planes going over at times. We managed. What I remember most was the freedom to roam! My mother, like other women in wartime, had to work so she did not know where I was all day! You couldn't do it today but no harm came to me."
Rhonda

Ray and Su Penn are pictured at the Museum when they showed children and their parents their Wartime ration pack and explaine Ray and Su Penn

Food and Cooking
Everyday Life
South West
1939 - 1945

"Jan Millward recalled her mother being in the Land Army. When the meat inspector was coming round they found they had one too many pig carcasses so they hid it in the piano until after he had been. There was a good blackmarket in operation. Farmers close by hid pigs too when they had more than they should have done."
UK

Jan Millward

In The Home
Everyday Life
South West
1939 - 1945

"Val Rowsell remembered nine people living in their three bedroom cottage at Long Load, Somerset so there wasn't any room for evacuees. "Mum had a lovely garden so we didn't go short of anything. We had Mum's sister because her husband was away in the navy, Grandmother, my two older brothers and I had just been born and we had a cousin too. I was only a baby in the war but I do remember we used to congregate under the stairs if there was an emergency or under the very strong kitchen table. I do remember very clearly after the war when the soldiers began returning home the school put on a play on the subject with the pupils on crutches and bandaged. That sticks in my mind."
Long Load, Somerset

Val Rowsell
was a war baby.

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