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Food As HistorY
Memories of World War2

In 2003 Chard Museum was given an Awards for All grant to collect oral recordings of Chard residents memories of Food As History. The recordings focused on the years of World War 2. The theme for the 2021 Heritage Open Days was Food in History. The Museum offered Members and Visitors an opportunity to try their hand at various war time recipes. These were interesting to say the least!

As part of that celebration we also shared some of the highly entertaining interviews from the Awards for All project. Here we make them available to everyone through our Digital Museum.

Marjorie Fowler - aged 77 when the photograph was taken - was born in Winsham in 1926.  

"My father worked as a gardener at Cricket [St Thomas] and he had to scythe all the lawns...  I left school at 14 and went into domestic service [in] 1940, pay 6/6d- a week. I was a between-maid and had to skin six rabbits a week. Later I worked at the sawmill in South Chard: better pay - £1 a week. There was still rationing when I got married."

To listen to all nine short tracks of Marjorie's fascinating interview click here.

Kathleen Griffin - aged 82 when the photograph was taken - was born in Winsham in 1921. Kath lived in Winsham in the same house where she was born. She was "famous for her bread puddings and apple cakes". Her father was a carpenter.


A memorable line from her interview is"Tripe. I like tripe. I could eat a dish full now."

To listen to all four short tracks of Kathleen's lively interview click here.

Harold Grabham was aged 76 when this photograph was taken. He was born in Dowlish Wake in 1927.Harold’s father was a carter at Hey Farm and his grandfather a cattle drover. He grew up in Winsham and caught many rabbits. He leaves a very intimate portrait of Winsham seen through the eyes of a young and lively boy! During the war he went to work in Dennings in Chard and then became a milkman for 30 years. He had a passion for model boats. His wife says of him: "generally I put up with Harold and all his bits and pieces."

To listen to all seven short tracks of Harold's entertaining interview click here.

Barbara Grabham was aged 71 when this photograph was taken. She is pictured here with her husband Harold. She was born in South Chard in 1932.

"My father went to work at the age of 11. He was a twist hand all his life at the lace mill at Perry Street. My mother worked as a wheel winder in Boden's lace mill in Chard. I was the youngest of eight and started work at Wiltshire United Dairies. Then I went to work for Brecknell Willis."

To listen to both tracks from Barbara's entertaining interview click here.

Winnie Hoare - aged 74 when the photograph was taken - was born in Chard in 1929.

Graham Hoare - aged 77 when the photograph was taken - was born in Tatworth in 1926. His father worked for the gas board and his grandfather was a gunsmith.

Graham remembered "We used to catch eels, we did this before the war. I poached the reservoir, very much so. Worm on a hook, put the lines out late in the evening and go down early in the morning. If you got caught you got a good hiding"

To listen to all eight short tracks of their entertaining interview click here.

Jean Smith - aged 69 when the photograph was taken - was born in Ammerham near Winsham in 1934.


"My parents came from Chard Junction, they were both in service. My father later worked as a driver for the milk factory. Grandpa Guppy came from Beaminster and Grandpa Perrot had a wooden arm with a hook on the end."

"Mr Appleby Senior used to come, always in a very dark businesslike suit, and he used to sit at the dining room table and take the order from mother, and reel off things in case she had forgotten anything, and then the groceries would come. A bread van came from Winsham. Mr Milden was the baker then."

To listen to both tracks from Jean's entertaining interview click here.

Joan and Roy Milliner were both born in Coventry in 1931.

"In our house we had a brick floor in the kitchen and an incendiary bomb had come through the roof and had landed on the floor in the kitchen and burned itself out round the shelves' paper edging - the flames had burnt the paper edge but not set the shelf afire. We could trace the hole in the kitchen ceiling and the bathroom floor. I picked up about five bombs next day from our garden and I was absolutely astounded to find stamped on these incendiary bombs, I can see it today as clear as anything, Sterling Metals, Nuneaton!"

To listen to all eight short tracks from Joan and Roy's entertaining interview click here.

Betty Stepney - aged 79 when the photograph was taken in Chard & District Museum - was born in Llandrindod Wells in 1923.


"I was 17 then in 1941. We had one of the first bombs just across the road, unexploded, that was terrible, the soldiers, I will never forget it, they had to dig that bomb out of that garden, sweat pouring off them, they did not know what to do. Giving them cups of tea all day long. They did get it out without it exploding."

To listen to all eight short tracks from Betty and Don's interview click here.

John Hammett - aged 71 when the photograph was taken - was born at Bradnich in Devon in1932. John's father moved to Winsham in 1940 and had Whatley Farm. He has always had a mixed farm and for many years lived at Manor Farm Winsham.


"In those days farming was much more friendly. Now you don't see a soul."

To listen all five short tracks from John and Pamela's interview click here.

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