- Contributed by
- BBC Southern Counties Radio
- People in story:
- Beryl Simpson (nee Brooke)
- Location of story:
- Highhams Park, Greater London
- Background to story:
- Article ID:
- Contributed on:
- 11 July 2005
This story was submitted to the People’s War site by Stephan Butler at the Uckfield Community Learning Centre, a volunteer for BBC Southern Counties Radio on behalf of Beryl Simpson and has been added to the site with her permission. Beryl fully understands the site’s terms and conditions.
My first job after leaving secretarial college was as an office junior. It must have been 1941, and I would have been about sixteen years old.
I remember my journeys into work from Highhams Park to my place of work in the City of London. I usually left the house by 7.10am to walk to the local railway station. I had a season ticket which was called a Workman’s Ticket which allowed people to travel early morning at a cheaper fare. I would catch a steam stream into Liverpool Street Station, and then continue my journey from there by tube. On arrival at the tube station, I often discovered the platforms jammed with people that had used the station as an air raid shelter and had slept there overnight. Some people would be lying only feet away from the platform edge. Most were wrapped in blankets, but some were wearing their ‘Siren Suits’. Some of the stations that I traveled through had three-tier bunk beds installed on the platforms.
I particularly remember the windows of the tube trains were painted black, for blackout reasons. There was a small hole in the black out. This was designed so that you could see the station stops. However the hole was so small that only the person adjacent to it could ever hope to know where the train was. The journeys were a nightmare; there were so many people in the carriages. People were packed in like sardines, and it was hot and there was a smell of B.O. Often I couldn’t get passed all the people in time to get off, and I would have to get off at the next station and travel back.
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