Wartime In Ivybridge 1939 - a Memory of Ivybridge.

I was one of ten little girls, plus our teacher, who arrived in Ivybridge as evacuees from Acton, London, at the outbreak of the Second World War.

We were taken to a hall (probably at the school) where we were collected in pairs by our 'families'. The first family we stayed with lived in Exeter Road. They had a little boy, a large house and garden. They also had a car. I had never even been in a car before! We used to visit elderly relatives of the family, who lived in an old farmhouse in Cornwood. They kept a cow and made their own cream. The farmhouse had no electricity, and it was lit by oil lamps.

Owing to the ill health of the wife, we had to move to Woodland Terrace, where we were looked after by a lady whose husband was away in the army. I have memories of going out primrose-picking in the spring and of playing in the fields at the back of the house. A Farmer Withycombe used to keep his herd of cows there, and each day they were driven along the main street up to the dairy at the far end of the village for milking, and back again.

The shops along the main street were small. The largest was Salters, a sort of haberdashery/linen store, where we bought cases for our gas masks. There was also Snell's the bakers where we used to buy pasties for lunch and sometimes threepennyworth of rock cakes. Further along the street there was Edwards the grocers and Hillson's the butchers, where they also slaughtered animals. I remember going inside once and watching them kill a pig by slitting it down its middle. No-one seemed to mind that we were there !

Owing to family circumstances, we had to move to yet another address. This time to a house adjoining the Masonic Lodge. It was fun there as we were allowed to play in the big hall.

All our 'families' took us for outings. One of the nicest places we went to was Cadover Bridge on Dartmoor, where we had picnics. I remember hanging over a bridge across a small stream and catching newts there.

All ten of us evacuees attended the village school. We sat for our scholarship (or 11+) there. Our teacher was a Miss Heggadon who seemed rather elderly to us. At playtime we used to go out to a wooded area where there was a seat constructed around a large tree. The trees were useful as posts for when we played rounders.

In those early days the war didn't affect us at all, and nothing was rationed. There were no air raid shelters then - and no air raids, no queues for items of food in short supply. But then the blitz on Plymouth started, which worried my parents, so I was taken home just in time to start at my new school - and to experience the blitz on London!

I have since revisted Ivybridge and all my old haunts several times. Ivybridge is no longer the sleepy village I knew, but a town with a shopping centre! On the fields where we played there is a modern housing estate, and the people we stayed with are all long since dead. I'm so glad to have my memories of how it once was.

A memory shared by Geraldine Gasparelli on Sep 13th, 2010. Send Geraldine Gasparelli a message

 Comments & Feedback

Sat May 22nd 2021, at 3:23 pm
Lynn Evans commented:
I was interested in this.My Mother always spoke of Ivybridge as she was evacuated there during the war with her Mother strangely enough from the Isle of Sheppey Kent. I am not sure for how long .
Wed Jan 20th 2016, at 5:54 pm
Farmer Withycombe lived at a farm at the top of Costly Street.
He had a wonderful Alsatian dog by the name of Husky.
My Grandma who lived at 2 Costly Street {Mrs Stedman} allowed me to wander anywhere.... on the downs, in the woods, or on Western Beacon as long as I had Husky with me.
She knew that I would be safe.

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