Growing Up In World War II - a Memory of Brighton.

I was born to Jewish parents whom had a ladies clothes shop in Kensington Gardens (The Lanes) my Father died in 1941, My Mother now a very young widow decided she wanted us all to live above the shop because of bombs etc, it had 2 rooms upstairs which we used as bedrooms, a small room we used as a dining/living room, with gas fire which she told us if the Germans invaded we would sit in front of it and turn it on, she was terrified as we were all girls and Jewish, NO bathroom, we went once a week to the public baths How Awful UGH!, toilet out side in the yard next to the coal cellar, kitchen downstairs, real spooky, I remember running to the air raid shelter during the night, which was around the corner in another street, everyone took something down there to eat, it was like a picnic, we eventually got tired of that stayed in bed and hoped for the best, I remember the Butcher,Grocer, Fish and Chip shop, and a few other shops, OH of course the sweet shop, and the rationing books coupons for everything, I use to dream of when the war was over I would go and buy such a lot of sweets and just eat and eat, HA HA I haven't done that yet, Going to the pictures, the serials we all looked forward to, when an air raid warning was shown on the screen a lot of people left but my Mother always told us never leave go under the seats, people panic and we may be trampled on
Of course the beaches had barbed wire all across them , so we couldn't go to the beach, we didn't go swimming at all, school wasn't too bad, I never did like it, , the Hippodrome Theatre was opposite the school where we took shelter during Air raids, we all had to stay in lines walk across quietly. at first was fun missed lessons, teachers got clever took work down with them.
After the war we use to go tea dancing at Sherry's, dancing at the Regent , although I was still very young, I loved Jitter bugging.

After a few years living above the shop we moved to a house in Hove, we had a Anderson shelter (I think it was called that) in our lounge an Iron shaped contraption with a gate in front, where we use to sleep, because of the air raids, it wasn't big enough for 5 of us so my Mother and I slept on top, which wouldn't have been much help if a bomb would have hot our house, when I grew up I asked her why she had me sleep on top with her she said she had no idea why, we use to laugh at this.

August 1947 my Mother Emigrated to South Africa of course with her 4 daughter's, she actually regretted emigrating and wished we had stayed in UK, she unfortunately didn't have enough money to return so we stayed, I married had children whom Emigrated to America, so that is where I am living now.

I would love to correspond with anyone brought up during the War Days, I love to reminisce, anyone interested to write to me please do.

I still feel very British and always will be.


A memory shared by Anita Lewis on Sep 22nd, 2007.
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 Comments & Feedback

Thu Jul 19th 2018, at 7:35 am
edean commented:
Hallo Anita. I found your account of growing up during the war years fascinating. I was born in 1947 so I didn't have to go through the fear of air raids, and I can only imagine how horrible it must have been. I dimly remember ration books, and one of my dad's jobs was to test air raid sirens; I hated the awful sound they made. The first hand accounts of peoples' lives are better than anything a historian could write. I'm so glad you got through it all, even sleeping on top of your shelter!

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