Year 5 had the most enlightening day in Bushey at the Lincolnsfileds Centre where we learned about life during World War ll. The museum is almost a working museum and many of the curators remember living through the war. We were all very lucky to have met them and listen to first hand experiences.
The children spent some time in a 1940’s classroom – a place where teachers were very strict and taught lessons by rote. Our children found it difficult to sit still at times and were threatened with the ruler!
The Blitz Experience took us into a dark air raid shelter that was dank and gloomy. There were only wooden seats around the outside and a torch to guide us. The ARP warden gave us a quick maths lesson and told us all about how St Pauls was actually hit by a bomb during the Blitz. We couldn’t imagine staying in a shelter for hours not knowing how when it was safe to leave, or whether houses were still standing above us.
It was easy to imagine living in the 1940’s house, which looked fairly similar to the Victorian house we visited this year. Our teachers had to use a wash-board to scrub dirty clothes and then a mangle to wring them out. Soap powder was rationed, like many things, so a hard bar of soap was usually used. Families gathered around a radio or listened to music on the gramophone for entertainment. We particularly enjoyed playing with simple, wooden toys and dressing up in clothes of the day.
Most interesting of all, we found ourselves in the company of the curators who had lived through World War ll and could remember fighting, being taken prisoner in Italy and rationing. They shared some of their memories with us, which made us feel very privileged.