- PEN & SWORD BOOKS
CHILDREN OF THE 1940S : A SOCIAL HISTORY
What was it really like growing up in the 1940s? There are tales of being dragged from bombed out homes and of watching dog fights in the skies above. Of evacuation and a clash of cultures between city centre kids and their country cousins. All endured strict discipline at school and a shortage of food due to stringent rationing.
Bomb sites provided ready made adventure playgrounds. Pleasures were simple with a weekly pilgrimage to the local cinema for Saturday morning pictures. Sales of comics boomed and Enid Blyton churned out countless books generally loved by the young.
The arrival of the Americans caused a flutter of excitement for children and quite a few of their elder sisters and mums too. Just when it appeared it was all over there was a new threat as buzz bombs brought fear and devastation. Eventually there was a brief moment of celebration with VE Day followed by a massive victory parade.
Austerity continued to gnaw away, not helped by cold winters with frost lining the inside of window frames. Returning fathers were often unwanted strangers whilst some returning were confronted with babies fathered by other men. There was much to be sorted out.
Mike Hutton takes you back to a different world. One where streets offered live theatre populated by knife grinders, rat catchers and the cries of the rag and bone man. The skinny army of the 1940s are old now but their stories live on.
Some are desperately sad, all warmly nostalgic whilst others are quite hilarious.