Music with Banjo Brian!..
Residents relaxing and enjoying an art session, scrabble and crosswords..
Christmas decoration making art session..
John, our volunteer from ECHO working with Kaye and Tony and Sue making lovely Christmas decorations..
Knitted and crocheted blankets made by Forbury residents as part of a Community art project with Sue Davis from Sainsbury’s in Hereford.
Honey began some beautiful watercolours and Rita and Wendy chatted while Wendy enjoyed a manicure..
Tom pauses, from his crossword puzzle to chat about tractors
‘THE CLOTHES PROJECT’..
The Forbury residents remembered how important knitting and sewing were when clothing as well as food was rationed. Neighbourhood’s were more close knit and people looked out for each other.
Betty’s handmade dress
‘CLOTHES AND COSTUMES’
Doreen remembers being a child during the war. Although she was evacuated she was still living in Birmingham during a time when she could hear the bombs dropping. One night the siren sounded. Doreen shared a room with her sister. They both got out of bed and Doreen’s sister headed for the shelter. On passing her parents’ empty bedroom, Doreen however, stopped and climbed into her parents’ still warm bed. Doreen’s parents were of course extremely worried and Doreen has never forgotten the telling off that she received.
‘I think we were a nation then for helping, more than we are today’.
The importance of appropriate clothing.
In 1940 girls were not supposed to romp like the boys.
Girls were expected to learn to knit and sew and cook and read and look after younger children.
Meg, who had five brothers and one sister younger than herself always wanted to be a boy. The family lived near Manchester so, when war was declared in September 1939, Father, Mother and the seven children were evacuated to the grandparents in Northern Ireland. This was childish bliss. There was a large garden surrounded by climbable trees. One fine days, when school was finished, Meg and three of her brothers (the younger children were not old enough to be let loose on outdoor pursuits) would have a great deal of fun racing round the garden, hauling themselves up the trees to a certain height and then descending at an amazing rate. The last drop was usually made by sitting on one branch, gripping another branch at a slightly higher level, then dropping from the “seat” on the branch, simultaneously releasing the grip and (hopefully) landing on the ground below.
One day Meg was winning the race and had just let go of her grip on the branch – hoping to alight on the ground– when the woollen dress, buttoned up to her neck, which she was wearing, caught on a raised spike and as she dropped the dress came right up over her head and she found herself dangling within a few inches of the ground. It was a terrifying moment not improved by her brother Don, arriving out of breath at the footof the tree and bursting into roars of laughter as he saw his sister swinging in her undies. Meg gasped and gurgled for Don to quickly use his penknife to cut the dress and let her free. (They weren’t scouts but believed in being equipped as if they were!) Don protested that he would get into trouble but Meg just gasped that it didn’t matter – “please, please do it” – thankfully he did and Meg lived to tell the story.
However the only concession in Meg’s mode of dress was that she had to wear a gymslip to climb trees and NEVER climb again in a dress. Alas she was not allowed to wear trousers!…Oh! To be a boy! Many years later (1963 in fact) Meg, who by that time had eight children of her own, was – with her husband and help from the older boys – setting up camp with ridge pole tents as the family launched into the cheapest holiday they could manage – camping in the field of a friend. Still the longed for trousers were not allowed!! As Meg struggled on her knees, hampered by her skirt, her youngest brother, Bill, drove into the field and shouted – “Hey, Meg! You’re never trying to have a week camping and wearing skirts! Here – take these” and he threw her a spare pair of his trousers taken from his car! At last the convention was broken, as far as Meg was concerned, and she found once again in her life that it is important to have appropriate clothing for the job in hand.
Making clothes for the family
Rita Partridge grew up near Portrush in Northern Ireland.
She admired her mother who made all sorts of clothes for her and for her three sisters. She explained, “My mother did a lot of sewing, you see. She had a sewing machine with a handle and foot peddle. Later on she got more money and she got an electric one. That wasn’t for a long time actually.” Rita’s mother also did lots of baking and had a delivery of flour on wednesdays. The flour arrived in large cotton sacks and these were put to use when empty: “It was white cotton with a big bird on the front and that was washed and soaked till all the black came out of it. Rita’s mother then made vests and dresses out of the sacks: “My mother knitted and when she knitted an underskirt she did a crochet bottom in a frill and for the top we used to have the white bags that the flour came in.” “And she knitted petticoats for the winter; oh we loved them. They were lovely and warm. It wasn’t just straight at the bottom, it was frilled.” But: “We wanted a posh thing; not something that was made at home.”
Illustrations by Emma
Drawings by Kate
Sue, Trixie and Joan begin to make Halloween bunting….black, purple and orange triangular card, decorated with spooky witches, spiders, bats, and wild-eyed cats…..and a book of spells
This is a Wishing Tree. Each added ribbon is a wish. It was made by Marius, from a large twig, glued to a base with shells added to the base. It’s beautiful. The branches have small lights intertwined amongst them.
Marius and his wife Gen, welcomed Elvyra and Jonas (Marius’ parent’s) to England from Lithuania. They visited Hampton Court, near Leominster which they enjoyed very much. Thankfully were treated to a week of sunny weather while they were here. On the right is Elvyra’s mural that she painted one afternoon in Marius and Gen’s house.
Ray and his wife Ann enjoying a relaxing afternoon
Graham and his wife Chris enjoying the musician Andrew Anderson playing to the residents.
My beautiful Mum (Sheila) looks lovely in her new skirt, nice swirly patterns on a swirly autumnal day…
‘Muriel teaches me the art of French Knitting’
…… and here she is, making a knitted strap for her purse.
‘CLOTHES AND COSTUMES’
Here at The Forbury, we like to be innovative and find ways of sharing our creativity. So, we are pleased to tell you that we are currently working on a new project. After brainstorming many potential themes, we decided that ‘clothes and costumes’ would make an interesting article (pardon the pun!)
We invited Leominster Primary School (who have been visiting us for several years), to help the pupils learn more about the costumes and clothes that an older generation would have worn. What better way than for the children to talk to our Residents and learn first hand of what life was really like? With thanks to our dedicated team of film makers, photographers, artists and not to mention staff, friends and family, we aim to create a full interactive community project; to involve, enlighten and inspire the local community and beyond!
02.10.14 – Here is what David would have worn when he was a young lad, aged 14-15. He lived amongst a row of cottages that was surrounded by 12 acres of land, in rural Herefordshire.
Quite a life, I’m sure you’d agree! It transpired that David used this money that he made at market to pay the rent. Times were tight and he couldn’t afford a tractor or trap and would sometimes walk 12 miles to Hereford with cows to take to market too.
02.10.14 GWEN HAMMOND – Gwendoline ‘Gwen’ then Mason, recalls as a child helping her mother when she got home from school.
“She used to make all her own bread and I would help her after school to batch it up and put it away in the bread bin” Gwen’s mother had the important and busy role working at home sewing, cooking and cleaning and tending to the land. Needless to say that clothes would have been plain and practical. Here, thanks to Gwen’s description, I drew this picture of the kind of clothes a housewife would have worn in those days. “My mother did all her shopping in Hay-on-Wye and wouldn’t buy anything unnecessarily. Food was a priority.” “There was no milkman in those days, as my father would have brought it home with him from the farm – Oh, and fresh eggs everyday!”
26.09.14 – DAVID – David was a Navigator in the RAF (Royal Air Force) He has travelled to many different countries such as India, Singapore, China to name but a few and played a very important part of keeping our country safe during this time. With thanks to his amazing memory, I was able to form this picture of the uniform he would have worn. The blue that made up the majority of the uniform, is called ‘Royal Air Force Blue’ and would have been the colour of the jacket, trousers and hat, which was either a stiff peak hat or preferably the beret, as shown. There are many different variations to the uniform depending on your rank, where you were stationed. I found it fascinating to hear about all the different aspects of the roles in the RAF. David would have worn a badge with an ‘N’ on it, as a Navigator.
ANNE – With thanks to Anne’s daughter, Hilary who happened to be visiting on the day that I started these drawings, I was able to see a picture of what her Mum used to wear. Anne was a ‘Lumber Jill’ during WWII. She was part of the Timber Corps and did a hugely important job that involved a lot of hard graft! Part of the job was to dig carrots and this was the staple part of her day to day life, as other food was so scarce – It is no surprise that to this day, Anne does not like them! From a photograph of Anne and one of her friends in their uniforms, I sketched this picture. Considering the hard work, isn’t a very smart look!
HILDA – I asked Hilda about clothes that she used to wear and she immediately talked about her eldest sister, who was in the WLA – Women’s Land Army. At the age of 17, Nancy would have worked extremely hard in the fields. Hilda remembers how smart her sister looked and thanks to her recollection, I was able to sketch… as you can see the clothes certainly reflected the environment she worked in. She wore a cream/white flanelette blouse and tie – Hilda remarked that due to the material, it must have been incredibly itchy underneath a dark green jumper too! She remembered her sandy coloured breeches and long green socks. If Nancy had to go somewhere formal like a meeting, she would have worn a beige/brown Trilby hat.
18.09.14 – RON – I talked to Ron about his time in the army and he recalled about when he was stationed in Vinnhorst, Hanover. Ron would often wear civilian clothing, when travelling on public transport and general day to day life, during his time in Germany. He still remembers a considerable amount of conversation German and how friendly the people were. When he was in his uniform, thanks to Ron’s recollection I discovered this was – Khaki cotton trousers and shirt, leather belt around the waist. Black leather lace-up shoes. His hair was ‘short back and sides’ and he used Brylcreme – which he obtained from NAAFI (Navy, Army and Air Force Institutes) stores and informed that every camp had a store and where they would ‘do their shopping’ for necessities. Thanks to Kate Newcombe for the article & drawings.