VE Day 75 - At Home

We’ll Meet Again

We stayed at home for VE Day on Friday 8 May 2020 and celebration events were postponed or cancelled due to Covid-19. But we nonetheless celebrated peace and commemorated those who fought for our freedom 75 years ago.

Here are some ways that we were able to join together, until we are able to meet again.

Inspired by the VE Day street parties from Haringey in 1945, we had our own - indoors at home.

Take a look at some local celebrations at street parties from 75 years ago.

1945 VE Day street party photos

Click the photos to view them full size

VE Day street party Sutherland Road in Tottenham 1945 VE Day street party at Antill Road in Tottenham 1945

VE Day activities

Staying safe inside (or in your own garden), you can set the scene by making bunting, or even dressing up 1940s style? Here are some ideas - two vintage hairdressing demonstrations to create some exquisite Victory rolls for hair that is straight (external link) and for hair that is naturally textured (external link).

Frank Williams the Vicar of Dad's Army eating Tottenham Cake at Bruce Castle

Or you could even try out some wartime recipes (external link), that are healthy and can also get you through challenging times? Get your family involved or connect with friends virtually - and make historical connections.

You could theme a 1940s tea party with baking a cake (external link) or get friends and family to join in a virtual sing-a-long?

If you want to learn more about Haringey in wartime, see a curated album of photographs and paintings on Facebook (external link) - this is from the collections of Bruce Castle Museum and Archive.

You can also find more resources below, including two special exhibitions from Bruce Castle Museum and Archive to reflect on VE Day that can bring together memories of what life was like for local people during the Second World War.

Other highlighted resources from our collections include a poem by Pam Williams a member of  the Afrikan Heritage Writers Group, the children's novel 'Catching Falling Stars' by Crouch End author Karen McCombie, the book 'Forgotten Voices' by the late Max Arthur, also of Crouch End, and films about the Second World War from Hornsey Historical Society and London Screen Archives.

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Resources

Wartime memories

Wartime memories - two exhibitions by Bruce Castle Museum and Archive

Haringey At War

By Deborah Hedgecock and Robert Waite

Haringey At War by Deborah Hedgecock and Robert Waite

You can take a look at Haringey during wartime through photographs from the collections of Bruce Castle Museum and Archive in the book Haringey At War - Tempus, 2004 (external link).


Poem: Our Heroes

By Pam Williams, local poet from the Afrikan Heritage Writers Group.

Whether they left,
Considering they might die
Or promised
‘We’ll be together again you and I’
Whether they cried
In the solitude of distant foreign nights,
Or rued ever leaving their islands of sun
To fight
Whether they relished the thought
Of wielding a gun,
Or wished they never had to
When the time had come.
Whether they knelt
In the muddy filth of trenches
And cowered,
Or dreamt of victory
And felt empowered.
Whether they battled ferociously
In the name of the Motherland,
Or prayed for help
From a higher hand.
Whether they met true allies
In whom they confided,
Or found their skin colour
Was hated and derided.
Whether they felt embittered
By the way they had been coaxed in,
Or lamented not being on the front line
Involved in the real fighting.
Whether they were buried
In an unmarked grave,
Or escaped that war
Body and soul unscathed.
Whether they journeyed home
Their minds not fully knowing,
Or returned limbless
Regretful of ever going.
Whether they no longer cared
If they lived or died,
Or saw their past
Through newly tormented eyes.
Whether they spent their remaining years
Existing in peace,
Or suffered haunting dreams
Without relief.
Whether they had fought for reasons
They were unsure were right or wrong,
Whether they eventually knew
it was for our future freedom they had gone
They are all
Our heroes.

© Pam Williams May 2015

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Remembering Our Local Heroes

You can see and learn more about how local people contributed to the war effort in Haringey by looking at the monuments, plaques and war memorials around the borough. Follow the links to the list of commemorative War Memorials in Haringey, and the Black History Haringey 365 Timeline: World War Two to find our more.

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Catching Falling Stars by Karen McCombie

Catching Falling Stars by Karen McCombie

Here is the synopsis of the children's book by Crouch End author Karen McCombie, focussing on wartime memories, based on reminiscences by local Haringey residents.

"The world is at war and London is no longer a safe place to be. Glory and her little brother have been sent to the countryside, far from everything they know and love.

To Glory, being an evacuee feels worse than the threat of falling bombs. The woman they must live with is cold and unwelcoming, and the village children are just as unfriendly. And even in the country they’re not safe from enemy planes.

But what Glory doesn’t know is that her life is about to change in ways she never imagined."

You can check out Karen's website (external link) to find out more about the book and how to get a copy.


Forgotten Voices of the Second World War: A New History of the Second World War in the Words of the Men and Women Who Were There

By Max Arthur

War memorial to David Brown of Tottenham and Edmonton Hebrew Congregration and synagogue 1943

Crouch End author Max Arthur and his team of researchers spent hundreds of hours digging deep into this unique archive at the Imperial War Museum, uncovering tapes, many of which have not been listened to since they were created in the early 1970s.

The result was the first complete aural history of the war, as we hear first-hand from British, German and Commonwealth soldiers and civilians.

Find out more about the book on Good Reads (external link).


Wartime films

Unexploded bomb that fell on the Gaumont in Wood Green in 1940

There are some historical films and films created by local film-makers that look back at the wartime period in the area and in London.

One is by David 'Tec' Evans - a charming film that evokes fond memories of his evacuation from Hornsey as a boy which you can find on the Hornsey Historical Society website (external link).

The other is a collection of films, specially curated for VE Day by our partner London Screen Archives  - Film London (external link).

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Page last updated:

28 September 2020

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