WAVERTREE IN WARTIME
We had an excellent and well-attended meeting on 14th January, when Eddie Cameron once again demonstrated his ability to paint vivid word-pictures of the past. Eddie's D-Day memories were supplemented by those of others who had spent the war in Liverpool or as evacuees in North Wales.
We have also received letters from members who were unable to attend the meeting: for example Philip Simpson of Lancaster told us of 'a most unfortunate piece of gossip' circulating in Wavertree Garden Suburb during the blitz, 'that the German wife of a serving RNVR officer was arranging her children's nappies in such a way as to direct the bombers away from the Suburb, which may explain why Bentham Drive, Abbeystead Road and the 4A tram route bore the brunt of immediate damage' ! This gossip was remembered by others at the meeting, who as children felt great sympathy for the children of the German woman concerned, and could not understand how adults could believe such a story.
Sandy Ellis of Worcestershire wrote to us about wartime life at 24 Wavertree Nook Road:
'the front garden was dug up and planted with potatoes, cabbages, carrots, peas and beans... As the war progressed, shortages increased, and spurred on by Government exhortations to "Dig for Victory", we also rented an allotment beyond Thingwall Road, next to the Holt School field. Jack Relton had an adjacent allotment and grew corn on the cob, which was the first time I had ever seen it. Unessential travel was discouraged with the slogan "Is your journey really necessary", for buses and trains were few in number, unheated and always overcrowded. The shortage of torch batteries persuaded Dad to resurrect his acetylene gas bicycle lamp which worked by water dripping into carbide crystals to generate the gas, and he used this to cycle home from the bank in the blackout throughout the war. In order to save petrol, many of the buses were converted to run on town-gas, which was contained in a trailer drawn along behind the bus. One also saw the occasional car with a large inflatable gas-bag on its roof, chugging along.'
Mr Ellis has also sent us the first chapter of his autobiography, which covers the period 1932-39. Although intended purely for his family, this gives a fascinating picture of life in Wavertree Garden Suburb in the prewar years. and we have - with the author's permission - reproduced it on our website.