The Heritage100 Road Show spent an enjoyable morning with the residents of Manston Court Sheltered Housing Scheme in Southampton. The average age was over 80 and most people were unfamiliar with either computers or the internet. However this did not diminish their enjoyment of the event, which was a very lively affair with lots of lovely stories being shared throughout the room.
Everyone enjoyed looking at the website on the projector screen. The film of the Rolls Royce Silver Ghost, which a member of the National Motor Museum Staff used as a wedding car, and the 1898 “vintage” wedding cake on display at the Willis Gallery, Basingstoke, started people talking about their own wedding days. One woman told how in 1949 her wedding dress had been made out of parachute silk and her wedding cake had been made out of cardboard covered in icing as rationing was still in operation and it just wasn’t possible to get the ingredients for a proper cake. Others remembered how, even after rationing was abolished in the early 1950’s families still did not have much of anything and it was a case of “make do and mend.”
After a while the iPads were given out and the Roadshow team helped people to explore the Heritage100 Website for themselves. Reminiscences flowed throughout the morning; these are just some of the stories which we managed to jot down on the iPads:-“I was in the army and we couldn't afford holidays so we'd go to Netley and put up two tents; one for the men, one for the women. I remember my mother knitting me a bathing suit in wool. It wasn't half a bother trying to keep the thing up.”“I remember a mother and two children being killed by a bomb. We then moved to the country, outside of the city. I'd ride a bike back into town. One night, a bomb landed on the way home and my husband threw me over a wall”“We joined the army to avoid rationing. It was safer in the army buildings, and there was no problem with food at all. You had to sit an exam though, to get into the army, but I'm glad I did as I was waitressing for all the senior men in the army”'I was in charge of keeping records about Prisoners of War. We had a German Flying Officer as one of our prisoners. He was a real gentleman. Everyday he would parade up and down the hall and speak to everyone. We were told not to go and speak to the Italian prisoners without an escort.“I remember the air-raid shelter at Edwin Jones in town (Southampton) and it took a direct hit that killed everyone.”“'I remember sitting on Southsea beach and watching the Messerschmitts and Spitfires having dogfights.”“I remember making scrambled eggs with powdered egg. A lot of people didn't have ration books. My mother gave hers to the grocer, and we had what we wanted.”'I can remember the reconnaissance planes coming over before the war - they were taking photographs of the docks and surrounding areas.’“I used to work in the balloon factory in Totton. We had to go to work every day, stitching balloons.”
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