Make Do And Mend

Sherborne Museum

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Patchwork Quilt

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Sherborne Bombing Interviews

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St Johns' Almshouse

Sherborne Museum Treasures Day

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Sherborne Bombing 70 Years On


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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

In The Home
South West
1939 - 1945

"Blankets and sheets were rationed. We were allowed three sheets and two blankets on a permit so patchwork quilts were made out of scraps and knitted squares became popular. Rag rugs were made out of strips of worn out stockings or peg rugs made from tailors sample books pegged into hessian."
Sherborne, Dorset

Joan Miller

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

Food and Cooking
South West
1939 - 1945

"One of my friends made little cakes using saccharine and liquid parafin and chopped up prunes as a substitute for currants!"
Sherborne, Dorset

Joan Miller

Food and Cooking
South West
1939 - 1945

"We made almond paste with soya flour and almond essence and jelly using gelatine, food colouring and synthetic fruit essences."
Sherborne, Dorset

Joan Miller

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