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Eiderdown Potatoes

by csvdevon

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Archive List > Childhood and Evacuation

Contributed by 
People in story: 
Barbara Oxenham, Lilian Stevenson (mother)
Location of story: 
White City Estate, Shepherds Bush, London.
Background to story: 
Article ID: 
Contributed on: 
29 June 2005

This story has been written onto the BBC People's War site by CSV Stortygatherer Jane Chanter on behalf of Barbara Oxenham. The story has been added to the site with her permission and Barbara Oxenham fully understands the terms and conditions of the site.

I was born April 29th 1940 and for the first years of my life lived in flats on the White City Estate.

During the war a ground floor flat was empty except for unmattressed steel bunk beds. This flat was used by the residents as a shelter when the air raid siren on the Scrubs was heard. Usually evening, mainly women and children would go into the 'shelter' until the all clear.

My mother would put potatoes in the oven early evening, then when the siren sounded would wrap me in an eiderdown from her bed, put the hot baked potatoes in the folds and carry me down to the 'shelter. The potatoes kept me warm and if we were down there too long we would eat the potatoes. Later in the war my mother and I were evacuated to Wales on a farm and although my mother worked hard on the farm we had butter cheese and milk to eat and drink - but to this day I still love eiderdown potatoes.

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