Beryl Osborne (Nee Perry) Evacuated from Southend to Mapperley in June 1940
Thanks to Pauline Czypak of Mapperley I was able to contact Beryl recently and ask her what she remembers of her time in Mapperley.
Beryl vividly remembers being told that she would be leaving home to live with another family, she was 10 years old.
Fortunately her sister Joyce who was a couple of years older than Beryl accompanied her.
Their father was in the fire service and mum stayed at home. Both parents were keen to protect the children and thought they would be safer away from Southend.
They all had to meet at their school where she saw 2 or 3 buses. Then by bus to the train station in London. There she recalls the station being full of children carrying their little bags containing their worldly goods. The children were terrified.
They travelled by train to Derby Station feeling very frightened and apprehensive. On arrival at Derby they were transferred on to a bus and brought to Mapperley. They had never heard of Derbyshire never mind Mapperley.
On arrival they were allocated to families. Beryl and Joyce were given to Mr George Bedford and his wife Mrs Phoebe Bedford (grandparents of Pauline Czypak mentioned above).
Once she knew who she was staying with she started to settle a little. It took a couple of weeks but both she and Joyce began to settle. They were kept inside for a while until space was made at the local school for them.
She went on to call her carers auntie and uncle and eventually felt quite happy with them. They were cared for and looked after very well. Beryl does remember the food being ‘different’ to what they would eat at home. I suspect this would be due to the fact that Mr Bedford grew all his own vegetables and would probably have had access to different foods being surrounded by farms.
Beryl has a memory of once being very frightened by Uncle George. It was one day when he arrived home from a shift at the local pit and he was black from head to foot! She got used to this though and as there were no pit baths then the men would return from their shift and have a bath in the tin bath which would be placed in the kitchen or living room in front of the fire. During this bath time Beryl would have to play outside or go next door to ‘Grandmas’
Grandma was Rosella (Rose) Howitt who ran the shop which sold sweets and groceries. Beryl found the access to a sweet shop helped her settle in very well!
A year after they arrived they were told quite suddenly that all the evacuees would be leaving and going to new families. Beryl and Joyce were very sad about this. They were taken to a family in Heanor but never settled and both felt very unhappy there. Mr and Mrs Bedford even visited them in Heanor. Eventually their mother came to collect them and take them home as they were so unhappy.
Beryl was to return to Mapperley many years later and meet George and Phoebe’s daughter Nora Czypak. They kept in touch for many many years.
My sincere thanks to Beryl for her time and her memories.
Audrey Bowers, Essex
Today, October 17th, 2012, I spoke to Audrey as I had been given her name as a Mapperley evacuee.
She is a lovely lady and we had a very interesting conversation.
Audrey was about 11 years old when she was sent to Mapperley as an evacuee during World War ll.
She remembers being very concerned as to where she was going. Her sister, Muriel, who was a little older than her, went to Mansfield. I asked why they hadn't been kept together and she explained that Muriel was very good at art and the school in Mansfield would have been better for her.
Audrey remembers arriving in Mapperley and standing with the other evacuees waiting to be told of their new home. The children were asked if someone would like to volunteer to go with another girl to live at The Vicarage. She recalls everyone looking at each other but decided to put her hand up.
She went to the Vicarage with Rosemary Jones and Bob Overton. At that time Rev Swain lived there. It was, and still is, a very large house, (not now a vicarage) with numerous rooms although Audrey says they slept downstairs. There were lots of rooms downstairs though.
They went to church very regularly of course but Audrey was used to that as that is what they did when she was at home.
The large house was perfect for children to play in and there was a very wide staircase that went up one side of the house and came down the other. A memory she has of that time was of Bob following them up the stairs, grabbing their legs in order to make them fall onto the stairs and then pulling them both down again with their legs, bump, bump all the way to the bottom. The stairs were perfect for this prank!
After leaving Mapperley Audrey went to a family in Quorndon. She recalls returning home and opening the door but just standing on the doormat wondering if she should enter or not. She felt like a stranger. Her sister returned home about the same time and she had to get to know Muriel all over again too.
All was well though.
My sincere thanks to Audrey for her memories.
Memories - Bob Overton
Former Evacuee in Mapperley now living in Australia
His memories of his time in Mapperley when evacuated here during WWII
Bob now lives in Australia. His sister Sheila Overton was a friend of Pam Hobbs
On the day of leaving home, my Mom and fourteen year old brother Fred came with Sheila and I to Chalkwell School, carrying our luggage, which consisted of our gas masks and little cases containing a change of clothes and night gear. Mum couldn't stay to see us off as she had to get to work as a cleaner in Pam's old school across the road from Kent Avenue. Fred asked us to get seats at the back of the bus, and he would stand at the back until we all drove off. He had his bike with him and as soon as the bus took off so did he, following the bus wiping the tears from his face, for as long as he could keep up.
I don't remember much of the journey, whether we went on a train and another bus or that we stayed on the same bus all the way. I do remember trying to cheer Sheila up on the way.
When we arrived at Mapperley in the afternoon, we de-bussed in the village, and answered the roll call. Heaps of people were awaiting our arrival and started to pick out the kids they wanted. I hung on to Sheila as long as possible, hoping to stay with her. Not to be, Mrs Thornley said she could only take one. She had a grown up daughter, Olive, who Sheila would have to share a room with. The initial rush came to a slow crawl. I remember it started to get dark and there were four of us left including yours truly, and another I can remember was Rosemary Jones.
When all hope was gone of anyone else stepping forward, the vicar said he would take us to the vicarage for the night. Over the next few days no one came forward, and it was decided that we stayed on there. I don't think that the vicar's wife was too thrilled with the idea of taking care of the four of us, and did as little as was possible towards our care. As for the son, Christopher Robin, who was about six, he took great pleasure in getting us into trouble whenever he could.
As soon as the Rev. found out I had a reasonably good soprano voice, I was handed over to the choir master who fitted me out in a cassock and surplus with a white frill collar, and was singing all the solo pieces in the choir the next Sunday. First impressions of ‘Gaffer’ Johnson (head teacher at Mapperley School) were a bit scary but after a while you realised it wasn't evacuees who he was hard with but that everyone got the same treatment. I remember the Hartshorne brothers. Was there one in each class? I didn't get on well with them, and shared the cane with them a few times for fighting.
In Pam's book, she mentions field trips the evacuees took with one of the teachers. This I don't remember. Fact is that I don't recall ever going out to play with anyone after school, but was kept in the vicinity of the vicarage most of the time. I was invited to tea with Mr and Mrs Thornley a couple of times, and I used to call on Mrs Boam at the post office, hoping for letters from Mum and my cousin Geoff, who stayed on at 72 Manchester Drive throughout the bombing. On one trip home we saw where a bomb had struck on the corner of Manchester Drive and Pavilion Drive, taking away several houses.
I remember a man who used to come to the school gate at recess sometimes, and hand out sweets and chocolates to some of the kids. He got into trouble with some girls over this. About this time, my Mum and Fred came to live in Mapperley, and lodged with the Robinsons in their house by the railway bridge on Mapperley Lane. Sheila and I would go with them into Ilkeston, walking the three miles through the fields. Fred became friends with the land army girls who worked on the farm on the other side of the road to where they lodged; I believe he also got a job there.
About this time, all the evacuees were moved from Mapperley, and Sheila and I were taken out of the evacuee scheme and stayed on at our respective lodgings. I don't remember how long we stayed on. My father was in the army, and was posted to an Artillery camp in South Wales, well away from the bombing. It was decided that he would find us a place to stay so that we could be together. We moved and remained there until the end of the war in 1945. I was very happy to leave the vicarage; Rev Swain was not good to me.
My sincere thanks to Bob for his memories.
The following is from a regular visitor to my website who lives in Yorkshire
I am really interested in the evacuee subject as I was about eight when a couple of bus loads of children came to our village and congregated outside of our school. Even at that early age I have never forgotten the sadness and tears in some of their eyes as their names were shouted out and they were led off to different families.
I have been told that the evacuees started coming to our village as early as 1940 and as we used to have a station on the main LNER London-Edinburgh rail line many came by train and were met at the village station and allocated to different families I don't know how many came but told between two and three hundred. It could have been more
The majority of the children came from Shoreham nr Brighton and we all soon made friends and they all mixed with chidren of their own ages. I am ashamed to say, sadly, as we got older we learnt that a few of them were used as skivvies and not treated too well, even one of their own teachers was brutal with them if they were reported to him for bad behaviour. The majority were really treated well in their new homes. At our old school there were reunions up to a few years ago, some came back to see us and thank the families who had taken them in. We also learnt that some of those evacuees never ever reached home after the war and we always wondered why but the truth started to emerge in the last couple of years that lots of them had been sent to Australia and told that their families had died in the blitz, in lots of cases it was untrue. They were sad dark days and really heartbreaking for those young evacuees , but for lots of them, happiness prevailed in the end. Elaine, you have picked a very good subject. Even now after all of those years it makes me sad to think about it as tears flowed down some of their faces.
Mapperley Railway Branch Line Bombing WW2
During the Second World War bombing raids on industrial premises in England by the Luftwaffe were common place. Targets being factories, Ironworks, collieries, roads and railways. All selected to halt war-work production.
Stanton Ironworks became a target, for producing bombs and other military equipment.
To produce iron the works relied heavily on coal for their coke plant.
Railway lines being the main supply link to the works.
Mapperley colliery was the main supplier of coal to the Stanton works. (Line open 1875).
This branch line became a target one evening, but the bomb missed the tracks totally landing to the South in the Bluefly field on the West Hallam/Mapperley boundary.
This resulted in blowing off the tops of the Alder trees along the banks of Hallam Brook. This attracted many sightseers to view the huge crater left behind.