VE Day 75 in Abingdon – continued by correspondents

Thank you to Martin and Hester and Roger for some further pictures of VE Day 75 and my Dad for a memory of VE Day …
VE Day 75 in Abingdon
This house was voted best display by the residents of Pickler’s Hill. This was also a history exhibition as well as celebration.
VE Day 75 in Abingdon
This picture has the caption ‘Together we will finish the job’.
VE Day 75 in Abingdon
George Haslam regularly plays during the Clap for Carers on Thursday evening on the Workhouse estate.

The houses on Abbott Road, Thesiger Road and 4 – 42 Oxford Road have long held their own identity because of their location on the site of the former workhouse. They have been brought together by the Abingdon Coronavirus Community Response group (ACCR), set up in the wake of the Coronavirus, and now have a Whatsapp group to coordinate what they do. They are making vital PPE, have set up flour, rice and plant hubs and came together for a socially-distanced VE Day commemoration in their front gardens and drives.
VE Day 75 in Abingdon
There was a multicultural look to some of their displays
VE Day 75 in Abingdon
There were historic displays.
VE Day 75 in Abingdon
Some people were thinking of peace not war.
VE Day 75 in Abingdon
From Roger, here is a corner of Windrush Way, Radley Green, celebrating the 75th anniversary of VE day.

Although not Abingdon, my Dad’s memory of VE Day brings the time to life ‘All workers and school children were given a day’s holiday to celebrate ‘Victory in Europe’ Day (V.E. Day) on the 8th of May 1945.  In recognition of V.E. Day the rather drab street of terraced houses, where we lived in Leicester, was transformed overnight. 

Our neighbours produced long ladders and between them they strung up a series of colourful banners across the street.  Union Jack flags, gay pennants and balloons hung from the banners high above our heads and many doors were decorated with gaudy coloured crepe paper.  An upright piano was pushed out from one house into the middle of our street.  Halfway through the afternoon, a variety of tables appeared and scores of parents and children tucked into sandwiches filled with lashings of salted dripping, jam and cheese.  When these were eaten jellies, macaroon cakes, buttered slices of malt bread and lemonade appeared on the tables.  Mahogany coloured tea was served continuously from a steaming urn with a built in calor-gas heater.

Although we were not allowed to take part in any of the street parties, we observed the non-stop celebrations, in a clandestine sort of way, from our parents’ front bedroom window.  As it grew dark, the blackout curtains were torn down from windows all along the street.  For the first time in five years the pavements were flooded with light.  The revellers danced to the accompaniment of the old, out of tune, honky-tonk piano.  Bonfires were lit in the nearby park and on the allotments.  We also heard the distant peel of church bells and the sound of fireworks.  Everyone seemed to be waving flags and as the evening wore on an impromptu procession formed and weaved all over the street.  Groups of neighbours held hands and danced in circles to the music of the piano, swaying as though in a hypnotic trance.  Younger children sat on the doorsteps watching the dancing and eating lemon curd and peanut butter sandwiches from plates in their laps.  All of these festivities were entirely appropriate because the nightmare of war, that the community had endured for so long and with such fortitude, was at long last over. 

3 thoughts on “VE Day 75 in Abingdon – continued by correspondents

  1. R.

    Nice as the idea of kisses is, I think that the occupants of the house are replicating the safety strips we had to put across windows in case of bomb blast which could shatter windows. When such a blast happened the strips helped to hold the broken pieces in place instead of falling to the floor in smaller and more dangerous pieces.As a small child I was living In Exeter which was heavily bombed and when we emerged from the air raid shelter sometimes the glass would be hanging from strips such as those in the picture.

  2. Mike

    Thank you R for your explanation. I thought they were rather strange kisses. Good to remind people of the details of life at that time.


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