Early in February 2020, Sandra Nichol and Val Jessop (Project Leads) met with residents of EACHSTEP care home to enjoy a memorabilia afternoon.
Residents were shown some of the staff’s personal artefacts from WWII, in addition to a box of items kindly loaned by Blackburn Museum and Art Gallery. This helped the residents to reminisce about their experiences of childhood during war time.
The event was photographed by Photography students from the University Centre at Blackburn College School of Art and Society as part of their work-based learning.
All events and interviews currently being shared on smallstories.blackburn.ac.uk had taken place prior to the nation’s COVID-19 lockdown and social distancing measures. All future events have been postponed until they are safe to be held.
Here are some quotes from residents about the day.
Showing gas masks to female residents:
“I used to stick me lunch in mine and put it on me arm. Just carried it like that.”
When the sirens went off:
“They said ‘now there’s going to be a big noise y’know, so don’t be frightened’, but I mean I cried me eyes out, being a girl and I was only small, about 5 or 6.”
“When the sirens went off you’d have everything ready, your gas mask, and a lunch…and they used to open the cellar and we just used to go charging down y’know. They’d bring us something to eat. We used to go nearly every night. Me mother used to say ‘put your coats on ‘cos the sirens’ll be going in a minute’.”
“There was enough to survive on. It was a very healthy diet (laughs) for weight loss (laughs).”
“We went to Bury market just to buy sweets. You could buy as many as you wanted to buy. Everything was rationed. Didn’t matter what it was, it was all rationed ‘cos when the convoys of course were being destroyed, they were struggling to get food in so every patch of land was a plot. Every possible area, parks, everywhere, had something growing.”
“We played marbles mostly, indoors. You got a box of marbles for Christmas. Everybody else was the same, so you didn’t get upset about it.”