Sarah Bussy is an oral historian and author of Winchester Voices (Tempus 2002).
Originally written and published so that memories from a Grandmother wouldn’t be lost by her Grandchildren, this is a fascinating personal collection of memories from a Post War London to the mid 1990s. Anyone who lived through it, or has heard stories from their own family will be enthralled by the story they tell. From the author - Why I wrote this book...This book kept asking to be written – but like many books that ask to be written it spent a long time in gestation.For years I’d been frustrated by my failure to make creative use of my luck in having spent my formative years very close to a unique, ruined landscape that still lives in memory and imagination long after it has ceased to be as I knew it. I wanted to do something with that landscape – to understand it and to bring it alive.While doing so I also wanted to evoke various social aspects of growing up in post-war England that would be unimaginable to young people of today.It occurred to me some while ago that in 1960 when I was seventeen, I had two grandmothers still living who could have told me what life was like for a child in 1890. But they didn’t and I never cease to regret this.So although I wrote this book for the pleasure of readers who enjoy evocations of the post-war years, I addressed the letters to my grandchildren Bella, Nelly and Jos even though they won’t be old enough to read them until about 2020. By that time, whether I’m still alive or not, I shall be telling them about a world as far removed from theirs as the Victorian world of my grandmothers was from mine.While I was writing these letters to my newly-arrived grandchildren my parents had reached their nineties and were becoming increasingly frail. This too forms part of the story. One of my themes is the poignant nature of the changing relationship between parent and child over the decades. Comparisons: Kisses on a Postcard by Terence Frisby, A London Child of the 1870s by Molly Hughes, Bad Blood by Lorna Sage
THESE evocative memories of life in Winchester from the 1880s through to the 1950s paint a vivid picture of what life was like for generations of families living in this community. For some this compilation of reminiscences from the people of Winchester will awaken powerful recollections of times past, while for others it will provide valuable insights into a bygone age. Food was cheap and we used to get criers round with everything. They used to come round the streets at night time with hot faggots and fried fish. Huge pieces for a penny. If we wanted a bath there was always a zinc one hung up outside on the wall. We would have to have the bath in the scullery but it was warm in there because of the fire underneath the copper. We didn't have many baths though. Not that we were dirty. It was just that it was such a performance to have one. These personal recollections not only recreate a lost world still remembered by older people in general but also illuminate more specific matters unique to this ancient cathedral city in times of war and peace.
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