Effects of the war on family life
Fortunately my family had no members taken as prisoners in ww2, nor any who suffered
immediate casualties. The Clarke family of my cousin Pat suffered some losses
in the Edmonton blitz and my cousin Peter's
father contracted T.B. in Italy. But to me at the time these were fairly remote
consequences. My immediate family came through unscathed although we learned
later that my father had been on the Nazi 'hit list' because of his political
affiliations. Fortunately the 'hit' never came to pass.
I can look back with affection to an uninterrupted childhood, spent in a
caring home, with us all together, and to the excitement of helping my father
in his activities during the 1945 post-war general election which led to the
sweeping political and social changes, some of which we still enjoy today.
Social consequences of the war
During the 1945 election the chant of us children in Edmonton was, "Vote
Vote Vote for Mr. Durbin, He's the man who'll give you bread and jam" - a powerful
social commentary! Evan Durbin was the Oxford lecturer who my father introduced
to the local labour party as their prospective candidate and who won a landslide
victory in 1945.
Most of all, though, I recall the feeling of hope for the working classes
- that the Government cared for them - that they mattered - that there would
be job creation - that schools would no longer need to operate a 'boot fund'
to prevent children having to go to school barefoot. I remember that even during
my time at Silver Street School this fund operated and was sometimes needed.
Years later in about 1967, the reality was brought home more forcefully to me
when I visited Belfast on business and saw children running round barefoot there
in the middle of winter.
Visiting the bomb dump
It was probably just after the war in late 1945 that I went with my parents
to see the 'bomb dump'. This was somewhere in Epping Forest, near Chingford,
and was a large fenced-off compound where all of the locally collected unexploded
bombs had been brought after being defused. Having wrought so much havoc, they
were a source of awe, but I remember being rather disappointed. They seemed
so ordinary and flimsy - not at all what I had expected!
Post war credits
Men who had been in the armed forces had often worked
12 hours a day, sometimes 7 days a week. The result was that they had earned
big wages. As there was little to spend this money on, the government introduced
Post War Credits. This meant the men paid large amounts of income tax into
the system from their wage packets, with the promise that it would be paid
back after the war. The government kept this promise and some people were
getting re-paid as late as the 1960s.
This website Join me in the 1900s is also known as
Join me in the 1900's.