1945 VE Day Celebrations in Essex

David Shearmur

I was 10 when the VE Day celebrations took place in May 1945 and living on the boarder of Hornchurch and Romford (Essex) in Cavenham Gardens.

During the war we had bomb damage and nearby resulting deaths from land mines and incendiary bombs so we were very happy to celebrate the end of the war in Europe.

What I remember of the day was a street party in our road with basic foods of paste or jam sandwiches, cakes, jelly and blancmange (no junket) and cups of tea (not sure about beer as I was too young). There were armchairs and makeshift tables on the pavements and in the road, a maypole, using an oil drum for a base, and a bonfire in the middle of the road. Several local streets had bonfires. Some bonfires had effigies of the enemy leaders but our road just wanted to celebrate with a fire. I don’t think the council were pleased to find a burnt patch in the road.

Through the latter part of the war my mother arranged concerts in the Gidea Park Methodist Church and into the 1950s in aid of the National Children’s Home (now ‘Action for Children’). The war made us children very creative, making something from seemingly nothing, and that has kept us in good stead ever since.

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