These letters belong to my aunt Joan Punter ( nee Toller ). These contain interesting home front information and political views of the war. They were written by my Great Aunt Marie to her husband George Cruden. ( both now deceased. )Also letters from Georges mother Ada Broom, who lived in Cambridge.
In several of these letter Marie refers to George as Peter Precious- as she was a Catholic from Ireland and didn't want to introduce him to her family as George ( the English kings name ) she called him Peter.
95 Oxford Road
August 1st 1945
My dear George,
Thanks for letter glad to hear you are keeping well, & trust something will soon turn up for you either a nice shop or a nice house... Bill [ brother ]said he has not heard any more about that house at Harston , there, that big shop for sale & to let the corner of Glouster Street that said to be a cycle shop and another the corner of Parkers Piece that said to be another house. no doubt there will be lots soon as there are a lot of people going away. Glad you have got yourself a watch for you will get over that, sorry I am not able to send you a cheque to help you on a bit, it is very nice when a fellow & parent are well off though to give help now and again in stead of the other half about. Well dear Marie will be here after Friday or Saturaday & it will be rather nice if you turned up to.
your loving mother
These letters belong to my aunt Joan Punter ( nee Toller ). They contain interesting home front information and political views of the war. They were written by my Great Aunt Marie Cruden( deceased ) to her husband George Cruden( also deceased ).
Marie refers to George as Peter Precious in many of these letters, this was because she was a Catholic ( originally from Ireland ) and when they first got together she didn't want to introduce him to her family as George because that was the Kings name! Some of these letters are written from London and from Nottingham where she lived at one point and also from Cambridge where they finally settled.
Friday. the. 16th May
138 Harrow Road.
Nottingham. ( plus Park of course )
My Own Dearest Peter Precious,x.x.x.
Anyway, the first thing to do is to apologise to you Mr Cruden, Dear Sir, for the omission to call you something, however, meagre, when sending an epistle. Its the old story, many around, and I leave the address until the last thing before closing the letter, and then forgot all about it while postbag is being closed up. As regards the X.X.X.X.X.well....... there's not the slightest excuse as you will notice.
Thanks for your long newsy letter, and ere this I hope you will have got the one sent you with the little photos in it. If you want the one with the hat on- keep it, but there's not a bit of stipulation about this. Well, I'm sorry that you had all that trapse around to get to G's. Anyway, it was nice to know that they made you so wecome. I say, I really was suprised to know that it had come to Smith going to 134. Old Margy has things all her way nad no doubt- even to mucking things up in her married life. Well, that's that, they cant marry, but have got to go on being pals. I'm sorry really, for the old people's sake, as they are such a dear old pair, that it must worry them actually, when they have such high moral principles. Now dear, as regards the weekend which you say you might possibly be able to get during my holiday. If it would be on the 6th, love, I really don't think it would be worth the rush and expense, because I should have to come back on the Saturday the 7th, in case there are no buses back on the Sunday, but still, if you could get leave so that YOU need not report back untill the Monday midnight, it would be worth it from your point if view. However, dear, I know you will do what you think is worth it. I could help with your fare if necessary, but my point is that unless you can have the benefit of a good few hours stay, it would not be worth risking a longer time of later on. What do you think?
It makes very sad reading indeed to hear of how London is gradually disappearing, and more especially the City as we know it. I take it Gamages are still going strong, in spite of Holborn being a bit knocked about. I somehow felt that the Houses of Parliament would be unlucky. Of course it was a nice building architecturally, but it was under 100 years old, as I see by the encyclopedia, that it was built in 1858.
This Hess business is certainly as bewildering as the events in the war in different parts of its theatre. Anyway, Bevin spoke his mind in no uncertain terms, and also the papers tone generally seems to be for more stronger measures to be taken as regards his person. It is ironic to read of his getting eggs, chicken, and everything else that is good, when the poor people of Plymouth and Liverpool, are probably looking for somewhere to house themselves, never mind, feed. I want to know why he should have wanted the Duke of Hamilton above all other personages, and WHY????? even when Hess was on the way to hospital was the Duke of Hamilton sent for to interview Hess as he had requested?????
Have we some fifth columnists amoung our- or rather the Scottish nobility? It rather looks as though they are after getting seperate Government, if they are adopting these king of tactics. Perhaps there was some arrangement for troops to be landed in Scotland- its a wild and rugged country in many parts, but the fact that Hess machine caught fire, and he himself was injured, rather than mucked the whole thing up. Personally I feel it wants a lot of explaining. Do away with the soppy senimentality which some of the press articles seem to try to indulge in, and use the third degree to the fullest on Hess, and then stick him up against a wall, and put all the bullets that his body will take into him. That would br the fate of any of our blokes who tried the traitors stunt, anyway. And what about the rotten French too. Fuelling the Jerry planes from Syria. Well let 'em, and may the R A F bomb and bomb em to blazes, for their treachery.
Well, darn the war talk.
Had another warning last night, or rather this moring 2 to 5. Jerry passed over, not much noise from him, and we did not have any guns. Our windows in the premises are now in, so thank goodness we are out of the dungeon like place, which until to-day has had thick wooden shutters up. Well, its wind up official in our house now. Mrs Wilde had all her case packed with clothes and valuables. deeds of the house, probate, etc. etc. which action has been caused through the evacuation which has gone on during the past few days of people from their homes on account of D. A's. Anyway, the whole idea is not a bad one ( I mean as regards getting some things packed up ) they might drop a few in Wollaton Park sometime.
I hope by now you have got the little photo back. Yes, I thought Boots were taking a long time over them- but I didn't ask why, because photographers who do the printing and developing seem to be few and far between here. The one nice place where I got the others done is no more, so that is why I took them to Boots.
Well, now, love I must ring off there are three or four certain persons, who suddenly find there are many things which must be answered tonight, and that is why I feel it in my bones that if I dont finish this now, you wont get it.
Cheerio, darling, all my love, and thoughts, and I hope you have a nice weekend. They have got the "son of Monte Cristo" running here and at the moment I am not sure whether to go, or wait a bit and get over my last weekend expenses. Do you want any cash by the way?
All the very best of love, thought hugs kisses, and I am so very sorry that you have such a bad cold. I somehow felt that it was unwise even in the heat of the last weekend, to leave off that pullover, and on one occasion you went without it altogether didn't you?????? I should have hagged if I had started on you, I know, but you will do what you think sometimes, and take a chance. Anyway, love I do hope you are feeling better. Mine is still hanging around, and my poor old lips couldn't be kissed even gently by you now.
Ever and always
As written by my aunt Val Burroughs ( nee Toller ) March 2005.
Food and Clothing
My uncle Bill had allotments where he kept pigs and poultry ( chickens and turkeys ). We therefore had veg and eggs. Chickens was a treat. Sometimes Uncle Bill would kill a hen that had stopped laying and it was cooked in a saucepan as a "broiler".
We brought rationed fish from the MacFisheries and rationed meat from Roses the butcher in Petty Cury [Cambridge].
At Richmond Road School, I was one of the children who was selected to recive cod liver oil of malt, administered daily by the spoonful to each child as we queued. A crateful of sm bottles of milk stood warming in the hearth in Miss Chandlers classroom.
At the end of the war we relished the idea of fruits we hadn't had before, like bananas. At our Victory party in Richmond Road we were given ice-cream for the first time, although a neighbour who worked in a hotel did used to bring home small bars of yellow 'ice cream'.
A neighbour, Mrs Kidman, used to spend some of her sweet coupons on me and would give me turkish delight. At the end of the war, the first influx of sweets included 'wrapped soft-centered fruit sweets from Poland-an inch and a half long with pictures of fruits on the paper wrappers.
At Easter my mother would make me an Easter egg. She would melt chocolate and pour it into two bakelite egg cups. I remember sitting by the radio, watching these set, placed in front of the radio. They would be stuck together when set.
We would go to the clinic at the Methodist Church on Castle Street where we recived concentrated orange juice that you would mix with water.
Clothing rationing, combined with low income meant that families were glad of second hand and refashioned garments and bedding. We were thrilled when the Red Cross gave my sister and me a cardigan each because our father was a solider, ( my mother recived a bedspread ). Our wardrobes were never full like they are now. Our blankets had to do for several years and would be passed from one generation to the next. Some of them were thin with no fluff left and often bore the utility mark. Overcoats would be piled on top of bedding to add extra warmth.
Coal was rationed. We would awake to frosty fern patterns on the inside of the bedroom windows. When I was confined to the front bedroom for weeks with Scarlet Fever, I remember Miss Chandler bringing some of my class-mates to wave to me from the other side of the road. Mrs Fletcher, the milkmans wife, gave me some jelly- an unobtainable treat!
All scraps of food like vegtable peelings were collected in the pigswill bins that were found at intervals along the kerb-side, ours was next to the telegraph pole outside 112 Oxford Road. As Uncle Bill kept his own pigs and chickens, scraps also went to them. I remember the smell of potato peelings boiling on the gas cooker and then they would be mashed into chicken food that looked and smelled like bran. My auntie would carry it to the allotments each afternoon in buckets.
A well provided water and I warned to stay away from it. Horses and carts delivered milk, vegtables etc. The milk came in bottles with cardboard tops. If you pressed out the centre you had a ring on which to wind wool to make a pom-pom to decorate clothes or to play with. I remember watching the greengrocers horse eating from its nose-bag outside our house and then tossing its head to reach the remains at the bottom of the bag.
Val Burroughs ( nee Toller )
About Michelle's Archives
This is a blog page for the archives in Michelle's own collection. It includes many of Michelle's personal family archives, tales and scrapbook items to all kinds of general archive items mainly from around Cambridge and East Anglia but some even more further afield. Search for items or subjects of interest under the categories below, by date or keyword, name or place etc. Any problems finding something or if you've any questions or comments please do get in touch by using the 'Contact' page on this website.