Memories of Celebrations
On Bonfire Night fires were built on the Greencroft. Everyone had their own. But then it was decided that they should all join together with one big fire on the concrete pad left after the Air Raid Shelter was demolished. “…It was really funny because Culver Street, where there had been demolition, they used to have their bonfire there…they would come and steal things from our bonfire, we did the same!”
The front room of the house was only used at Christmas. There would be a fire in the grate all through Christmas and New Year and a real Christmas tree.
Iris remembers the lovely smell of smoke from her Grandfather and Father’s cigars but only at Christmas. “And I felt there was nothing nicer ( and it’s a memory that has stayed with me, right throughout my life ) was the low candlelight, gas lights and a fire, shining onto the shiny balls on the Christmas tree.” On Christmas morning her Grandfather went out and if there was a person alone he would bring them back to spend Christmas Day with the family and there was always a present for them. The door was always open to anyone in need of a bed for the night.
Iris remembers being dressed up in a dress made from her Grandmother’s ball gown for a fancy dress parade at the street party for VE Day celebrations.
She said that the street parties for the Queen’s Coronation were very special. Their street had tables down the middle for the children. “The houses were beautifully decorated outside” and everyone contributed. Then they all went onto the Greencroft for games and races with her father as MC. “Sack race. The egg and spoon race. Three-legged race.” There was also dancing in the evening in the Guildhall Square.
Listen to Iris talking about the street party for the Coronation in the clip on the right.