Make Do And Mend

Sherborne Museum

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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

Everyday Life
South West
1939 - 1945

"Val Rowsell remembered Black Out Cloth "My father was a special constable in Somerset. He used to go round our village checking the blackout curtains were pulled correctly. He used to say it was always the same families who had a chink that let the light through. He also used to put out bonfires in peoples gardens that would also be seen by enemy planes.""
Somerset

Val Rowsell
was a war baby.
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.
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

Clothing
Everyday Life
South West
1939 - 1945

"It was getting dark. My father was Tower Captain and although he wasn't allowed to ring the bells during the war he still had a key to the tower. Off he went with his haversack. Mother put the tea back in the oven and we waited and about half an hour later he came back with the parachute in his bag! There was a lot of material in it and mother made herself a new set of underwear and there was enough left for me to have some too."
Cornwall

Joan Poole
of Cornwall remembers the day a parachute landed on their church tower pinnacle.
In The Home
Everyday Life
South West
1939 - 1946

"Dorothy celebrated her 100th birthday on the 20th February 2010 and will be interviewed at the end of March with her family. Dorothy recalls being in the Wrens "I worked my way up to Chief Petty Officer. After the war it was very difficult to find a job and then I applied to be cook/housekeeper at Melbury House in Dorset in 1946. I loved it and stayed there until I retired in 1970." Dorothy retired to Park Cottage on the Melbury Estate and is looking forward to a special birthday afternoon tea with the Hon. Mrs Charlotte Townshend of Melbury House. She will be talking about her wartime years, thought to be connected with the code breakers at Bletchley Park and her post war years of rationing and how they coped at a big house. Dorothy has been a resident of the Leigh Old Vicarage Care Home, who have been key partners in the Make do and Mend Project, for just over a year."
Dorset

Dorothy Darknell
Dorothy is pictured with her nephew and godson Rowland Cook of Oxford and great-niece Rosalind Cook

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