Make Do And Mend

Sherborne Museum

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'Their Past Your Future 2' (TPYF2) Programme

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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

In The Home
Everyday Life
South West
1939 - 1945

"Popular Yetminster couple Kit and Harold Cheeseman, both 89, celebrate their 70th wedding anniversary today (Friday 30th). It was a chance cycle ride to Sherborne from her home at Marston Magna that led to them meeting and romance quickly blossomed. Harold worked for the then Greenham’s butchers in Sherborne and the couple enjoyed a quiet early morning wedding at West Coker. Less than a year later after war broke out Harold spent six years in the army serving with the Somerset Light Infantry, the Oxford and Bucks Regiment and after a mission to France attached to the Green Howard parachute unit found he was one of only three out of 50 to survive. During the war Kit had to leave her baby with her mother at West Coker, being called up for work at the Twine Factory at East Coker where she recalls working seven days a week from 8am – 6pm for the weekly wage of 12s 6d!
In the early 1950s the couple moved to Yetminster where they have lived ever since. Their Platinum Anniversary will be spent with their family. They have five children, 10 grandchildren and 11 great-grandchildren. "
Dorset

Kit and Harold Cheeseman
Kit and Harold Cheeseman of Thornford Road, Yetminster who celebrate their Platinum (70th) Wedding Anniversary today (30th Jan)
Everyday Life
South West
South East
1939 - 1945

"I was one of the Salvage Corps with the rest of the village youths at Great Somerford, Chippenham, Wiltshire. We collected newspaper for the war effort. There was a poster on the stable door where we sorted and stored it 'Help the National War Effort by Saving Waste Paper - Start today'. The stable was provided by the farmer Mr Cole of Hollow Street and organised by Lady Palmer of The Manor who supplied our transport, a horse and cart and sack trucks. We marched through the village carrying flags and banners in recognition of the war effort."
Wiltshire

Olive Gibbs
Aged 82, nee Wakefield recalls.
Everyday Life
Midlands
1938 - 1945

"The air raids were terrible. One awful night the ARP Wardens made us all leave our houses and go outside and lie in the ditch under the elm trees in the field. Shrapnel came down all around us. During the raid which went on for several hours there was also a storm of incendiary bombs. The noise was indescribable and we were so cold as it was November. Next day I walked the eight miles along the Coventry Road into the city to Lewis's. No buses could get through as so much of the Coventry Road had been blitzed. It was no wonder that the sky towards Birmingham had been so red the night before. Most of the places were still burning. When I eventually got within sight of Lewis's I found the road was barred because there was a 1000 lb unexploded bomb outside the main entrance to the store I had to turn round and walk home again. We had no gas, electricity or water. It was cut off for several days. There was one stand-pipe a quarter of a mile from the house and Mother and I took buckets there for water. Candles, when we could get them, provided light and we cooked what we could on the open fire or in the Valor oil-stove - if we had any paraffin. When we had a cousin coming we saved up three weeks of meat coupons to be able to buy a small joint. The night before was the night they bombed Coventry so badly and there was no gas, electricity or water. Father built a big fire in the grate and tied the joint up with string and suspended it from a poker in front of the fire. It took a long time to cook but it was delicious!"
Solihull

Peggy Nash
nee Williams. Born 14th April 1925
Food and Cooking
Everyday Life
South East
1939 - 1945
Peggy recalls her first wartime meeting with her future parents-in-law
"We went down to High Wycombe for me to meet Jim's parents. We went on the motor-bike and I was so scared they wouldn't like me. I liked them very much and we got on so well together. We sat on the settee and watched Mother making doughnuts in the way the American chefs had taught her. The ingredients were by courtesy of the American Army - otherwise it wouldn't have been possible! They were delicious and smothered in sugar - we couldn't remember anything like them!" It was a different world than in Solihull. The garden at Backlands was lovely. The top half had apple, damson, greengae, plum, pear and cherry trees. By the cherry trees Dad had arks in which he kept rabbits and ducks. Water had to be fetched from the well in the next field. One September morning we got up very early and walked along the lane to a field where we picked several pounds of mushrooms. We tok them home and Mother cooked some for us with bacon and eggs from the farm next door - an unbelievable breakfast with rationing as it was, but one of the perks of living in the country. I helped pick fruit which Mother would bottle, jam or turn into wine. She was a great wine-maker. She also cooked marvellous meals on a tiny iron-range that was coal-fired and I ate more food in that weekend than I had for a month! Jim's mother was housekeeper at the American Air Force HQ at Wycombe Abbey and was in charge of the meals for the Officers' Mess. They used to give her parcels of food, especially sugar, whenever they could. They so often had a surplus as they weren't rationed like we were. It was a shock to their system when they first came over to England and found they couldn't just walk into a cafe or restaurant and order steak and chips or a hamburger. We often went down to Wycombe on the motor-bike for the day. It was like another world - so peaceful and quiet - except for one weekend when a flying bomb ( doodlebug) landed in the next field and blew us out of bed! It killed a lot of chickens and turkeys My parents had always insisted I hand over my unopened pay packet, though they didn't need it. I was given five shillings a week pocket money (25p) and had to buy everything. Neither of my parents gave us a wedding present. I had enough ration coupons for our three sheets and three blankets and Jim gave me the money for them - all we were allowed. It was difficult to have a white wedding in wartime. I wore a pale blue crepe dress, a navy blue bonnet shaped hat and navy court shoes and gloves and carried red roses. We were lucky as there was a very big wedding before ours and the church was full of flowers."
High Wycombe

Peggy Nash
nee Williams. Born 14th April 1925
Food and Cooking
In The Home
Everyday Life
South West
1941 - 1947

"I was born at Sutton Bingham, Somerset. Our cottage was pulled down when they built the reservoir in the 1950s. I left school in 1941 when I was 14 years old and went to work at Netherton Farm, Closworth three miles away. I worked there three years before I was old enough to join the Land Army as a dairymaid. I started looking after the ducks, chicken, geese and turkeys. I fed the pigs and the calves and had to hand milk the cows until they had a milking machine. There was no electricity. We had paraffin lanterns for lighting the house and the cow stalls and had to carry them with us. Then we had a milking machine powered by a Lister ending. I had a yoke to carry two large buckets of milk to the dairy at a time. It was put into a large bowl and left to strain after it passed through the cooler. We grew kale, turnips, cow cabbages, sugarbeet, mangels, potatoes and kale. It was hard work hoeing all of the crops between milking times. We still had horses to do the mowing and reaping. I met my husband Leslie in 1947. Everything was rationed. We had to have coupons to get the furniture. All we could get was a sideboard, a table and four chairs, one armchair, a bed and a dressing-table! Edna and her husband Leslie now live at Ryme Intrinseca, about two miles from where she worked during the war. Leslie was delighted to be presented with a long service medal for his lifetime's work on the farm at the Dorset County Show."
Sutton Bingham, Somerset

Edna Gillard
nee House
Clothing
Food and Cooking
In The Home
Everyday Life
South West
1939 - 1945

"At 100 Dorothy recalled "I was the youngest of four. My father, Charles, was shepherd on the farm and when he died my oldest brother Harry took over. I remember him coming home from the First World War. I was eight when he was called up. By the time the Second World War started, Mother, Elizabeth, had a heart condition so I was exempted from war work because I had to look after her. We were lucky in the country and being on the farm we had most things that we needed. I did gloving at home. Mine were leather samples of the highest quality that were sent out to store buyers. Ours was such a small village and off of the main road so the war didn't affect us a lot. We had our garden and I made jam.""
Closworth near Yeovil

Dorothy Loveless
Lived all her life at Closworth near Yeovil, Somerset in the cottage where she was born.
Food and Cooking
Everyday Life
South West
1939 - 1945

"Ruth can trace her history back to Benjamin Jesty, the Yetminster farmer who discovered that cow pox gave protection against the dreaded smallpox long before Jenner. The couple met during the war. Eric had been an improver in Hull but had also been a member of the Territorial Army, so he was one of the first to be called up and it was the evacuation from Dunkirk that brought him to Yetminster where he was re-located to the Church Hall. He helped man the Lewis Gun at Yetminster cross roads and it was during this time that he met Ruth. Shortly afterwards Eric was posted to Glastonbury but this did not deter him for he cycled the 36 mile round trip to see her twice a week despite the difficult conditions as the signposts had been removed and there was a strict blackout. Ruth recalled everyone clubbed together because of the rationing to make her big day a success."
Yetminster, Dorset

Pictured with husband Eric on their diamond wedding day. Ruth Foster
nee Jesty of Yetminster

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