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15 October 2014
WW2 - People's War

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British Schools Museum
User ID: U1452442

The British Schools Museum in Hitchin, Hertfordshire is a Registered Museum of elementary education. We are housed in fine Victorian and Edwardian school buildings. The first school was founded on this site in 1810 by a local solicitor William Wilshere. Our great Lancasterian schoolroom was added in 1837; it stands today as the ONLY remaining one in the world built to the specifications of Joseph Lancaster. Other buildings date from 1853, 1857 and 1905.

What's that got to do with World War 2?

Well, we survived as a school because of an influx of evacuees during the war - or we might have been demolished then. We do a lot of Victorian teaching, of course, but for this 60th anniversary of the end of the war we successfully ran two week-long trials (May and November 2005) of a 'wartime evacuee' teaching programme.

For this teaching, school classes arrived at Hitchin Museum for hands-on practicals. They were then marched across town (singing 'Run Rabbit, Run Rabbit, Run, Run, Run') to the British Schools Museum for lunch and an evacuee lesson.

After the May week of teaching, two schools returned to two Victory Parties where they met real veterans of the war and sampled wartime food, and played 'pass the parcel', tried an egg and spoon race - with the adults joining in of course!.

We ran a 'Life on the Home Front' exhibition running from April to November 2005 - people have been contributing their photographs and memorabilia to it, and from there they often contributed a wartime story to the archive.

We held 'weekend special' events to commemorate D-Day in May 2004 and VE Day in June 2005.

There were talks by researcher Stuart Antrobus entitled "We'll Meet Again" in November 2004 (wartime music) and "Cinderellas of the Soil" in September 2005 (The Women's Land Army).

We worked closely with other organisations in the Hitchin Partnership, including Hitchin Museum, Hitchin Library, Codicote Local History Group, The Signals Museum at RAF Henlow, and the North Hertfordshire 50+ Community Development Officer.

We were grateful to the Big Lottery Fund's Home Front Recall programme for two grants. The grant to the British Schools Museum funded conversion of a cellar to an air-raid shelter (with a real Anderson Shelter installed) as a permanent resource in our wartime teaching programme. A grant to Hitchin Museum funded much of the work with school classes and the Victory tea parties, and reminiscence sessions and other activities at their site.

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Stories contributed by British Schools Museum

Grammar School days in Middleton
Enemy Action over Baldockicon for Story with photo
Watching Allied Air Activity near Baldock, Herts.
Mid-Bedfordshire - my family at war on the Home Front
Working for Willmotts - Chivenor and Hitchin
A young Hitchin girl's life during the war.
Hitchin in the War Years and Immediately Followingicon for Story with photo
Salute the Soldier Weekicon for Story with photo
Father's Comradeship in the Home Guardicon for Story with photo
My Evacuation Photographicon for Story with photo
Celebrating Victory over Japan, at Whitwell, Herts.icon for Story with photo
Queueing for Cucumbersicon for Story with photo
A V.A.D. in India and Burma - Part 1
A V.A.D. in India and Burma - Part 2
A V.A.D. in India and Burma - Part 3
A V.A.D. in India and Burma - Part 4
Working with the Bedfordshire Women's Land Army
Sleeping under the stairs
A Collection of Memories from the Benchmark Team
Memories of School during the 1940s
Brian Limbrick’s Wartime Childhood 1938 to 1941
Brian Limbrick’s Wartime Childhood 1942 to 1945
Ken Burton's War Years in Pirton.icon for Story with photo
Una Bracey Remembers
Boy Scout Ron Pugh Makes Veteran (1939 -1947)icon for Story with photo
Before War Broke Out
Working on the Land in Wartime
Oil Lamps, Night Lights and an Earth Closet
To Scarborough when the bombing was bad
Remembering Bombing in Hitchin when Nine Years Old
Hitchin War Memories
Memories of the wartime life of a teenager; Bombed while at collegeicon for Story with photo
A young boy's memories of a wartime in Hackney
Disasters in Offley Village
War with the Coopers
Bombs at Langford Common
Oh Look - That Plane Has A Black Cross On It.
A Policeman’s Wartime Weddingicon for Story with photo
The Pirton and Holwell Home Guardicon for Story with photo
ARP First Aiders, Hitchinicon for Story with photo
Hitchin's ARP volunteersicon for Story with photo
Baldock Fire Station 1940icon for Story with photo
The Second V1 Lands in Pirtonicon for Story with photo
Various Memories of Schooldays During the Second World War
A Wartime Childhood - I attended so many schools!
S S City of Benares - I was accepted for a place on board
A Babe in Arms
The School Run
'Blooded’ but Unhurt — the Funny Side of a Bomb Explosion
The Lone German Fighter Plane
Exodus from London
The Wartime Memories of Dora Carvericon for Story with photo
A letter home from Egypt just after VE day.icon for Story with photo
Too tired to write home?icon for Story with photo
John Arthur Monks, RAFicon for Story with photo
A war-time wedding in Pembroke Dock.icon for Story with photo

British Schools Museum added messages to the following stories

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