The Roadshow team knew we were in for some ‘salty sea stories’ when we turned up to Weston Court Sheltered Housing Scheme which is a stone’s throw from Southampton Water.
Sure enough, after looking at the objects and stories on the Heritage100 website, people soon began to tell us their own stories, many of which related to ships and working at sea.
One lady’s grandfather had been a chef who worked for several years as the Roast Cook on the Queen Mary. Bev (the manager) told how she had gone away to work at sea when she was only eighteen. She had been really looking forward to the freedom of being away from home but as she boarded the ship for the first time her heart sank as one of the first people she saw was her father’s best friend.
The Film clip of the De Dion Bouton and the advice given to lady drivers to always carry spare clean gloves, hair pins, and a revolver caused much amusement and Emma asked people if they could remember their own early vehicles. Sue said that she had owned a car but her husband had a Vespa scooter so she often went out on the back of that – but she much preferred travelling in her car!
Olive’s husband had been a trombone player and also owned a scooter so Olive would have to get on the back with the trombone – unfortunately being quite small she really struggled to get her leg over.
Jenny had learnt to drive when she joined the Territorial Army. She had joined the ATS after the war – which had then become the Women’s Royal Army Core where she had worked as a driver. After she had left the services Jenny had worked at Thorneycroft.
Emma asked the group how people had felt when Thorneycroft closed and this brought out a lot of stories about “Thorneys” as it had been known locally, as many people had either worked there themselves or had relatives there and the closure had been devastating for the area.
Ray & Dorrie’ scribed their story about working at Thorneycroft into the comments section of the Taking Part page.
Olive had a very interesting background, as she had worked as Southampton’s first Post Woman in 1941. An interview with Olive telling her story can be viewed in the Gallery section.
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