Joan remembers living through the Second World War in Blenheim Road. She was 15 when war broke out and 16 when the bombing began.
The family heard that war was announced on 1 September 1939 on the wireless (radio) her father had made. Over 70 years on, Joan can still remember that it was a Sunday.
“Everything changed then,” she recalls. Black out material had to be bought to make curtains so that no light could escape from the windows.
When bombing began, Joan helped to patrol the streets around Blenheim Road with a tin hat and a whistle. She remembers, in particular, covering Thomas Street and Vauxhall Road looking for fires that might have broken out or damage that might have been caused by bombs. If she found anything, she would blow her whistle to alert a fire warden.
When the bombs fell she remembers that the noise was “terrible” and that there weren’t any shelters nearby. The family used to shelter in the pantry under the stairs. Their father couldn’t always be with them, however, because he worked on the railways. Later in the war, they were provided with a reinforced-metal table with mesh round the sides to shelter under.