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Life in Chesterfield

by CSV Action Desk Leicester

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Archive List > Childhood and Evacuation

Contributed by 
CSV Action Desk Leicester
People in story: 
Vera Sadler
Location of story: 
Background to story: 
Article ID: 
Contributed on: 
06 July 2005

During the war we lived in a small village about 4 miles outside Chesterfield.
We lived in a three bedroom council house (with a front room!), we had an open fire which burned coal, and which my mother very lovingly blackheaded at least once a week. It also had a side oven and I can remember the wonderful baking my mother did for us - including the pork pies made from pigs kept at the White Hart Inn at the bottom of the road!

My father worked as a signalman on the railway (which now serves as the main London to Sheffield line and his signal box is long gone!). It was a very busy line in the 1940s transporting iron ore to Clay Cross Ironworks and from the steelworks of Sheffield and beyond. Sheffield was one of the main sources of steel and ammunition production. We lived among the mining community as well because we had several collieries nearby. Chesterfield itself was heavily involved in engineering works for the war effort, and next to my father's signal box was a coking plant which was a much needed fuel at the time.

My father worked long shifts for 7 days a week, whilst my mother looked after us. Food and clothing rationing was particularly hard for a family of six so my father grew vegetables and he sometimes exchanged these for tins of fruit or dried food with his workmates.

Our primary and junior school was a good mile away from our home. We walked both ways very often in severe weather conditions. We did, however, use the steam trains to visit my grandparents who lived about 4 stations down the line.

"This story was submitted to the People's War Site by Keith Ruffles of the CSV Action Desk on behalf of Vera Sadler and has been added to the site with her permission. The author fully understands the site's terms and conditions."

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