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Sevenoaks Talk: Christmas on the Home Front 1939 - 1945 with Mike Brown and Christmas nibbles

Doors open 10.45am Meeting starts 11am.

Mike Brown is an experienced speaker whose TV credits include Time Team and Timewatch. His entertaining, seasonal talk will be enhanced by a collection of artefacts such as ration books, uniforms and toys.

The outbreak of war in 1939 saw the disappearance of many traditional British celebrations. Guy Fawkes’ Night went immediately – gunpowder production was needed for the war effort and bonfires contravened the blackout. Summer holidays became a thing of the past and Easter all but disappeared as chocolate – and even real eggs – went ‘on the ration’.

In spite of this, the nation remained determined to celebrate Christmas as a time of family and community; a time when war could be set aside, if only for a day.

Drawing upon personal recollections, contemporary Mass Observation reports, newspaper articles, advertisements, and personal and archive photographs, Mike Brown looks at each wartime Christmas on the British Home Front, from 1939 to 1944.

He explores how people celebrated Christmas despite the problems of shortages, rationing, the blackout, Luftwaffe raids and the absence of family members who had been called up or evacuated.

Life in Britain changed dramatically as the war progressed; the annual celebration of Christmas provides fascinating yearly ‘snapshots’, illuminating the changes over six years of conflict.

If you would like to do so, please bring along a plate of Christmas treats.  However, because Covid is still around, we are asking people to bring along ‘anything that could be picked up with a cocktail stick e.g. sausage rolls, mini cocktail sausages etc.’ and also crisps/snacks in individual small packs from multipacks. Again, possibly individually wrapped chocolate bars such as mini Twix, mini Mars bars etc.

We do not want people to bring in sandwiches i.e. anything that might be accidentally handled by someone else.

As ever, because of Covid we will have hand sanitiser available etc.

We will not be changing our timings, but the speaker will probably start a little later than 11 am as people chat and munch on their treats as noted above and possibly the meeting will break up a little later as we have more of a Christmas raffle and people may wish to chat more after the talk. It’s difficult to be firmer on timings per se.

No booking, just turn up.

The Society is a registered charity and membership fees and donations are an important part of our income. The Talk is free to members but guests and visitors are asked to make a donation towards hall hire and speaker's fee. There will be a donations box at the venue.

There is a large public car park (payment required, 50p for 2 hours, £1 for 3 hours) adjacent to the hall but it can be busy.

Event Information

Event Date 09-12-2023 10:45 am
Event End Date 09-12-2023 1:00 pm
Capacity 100
Individual Price Free to members. A donation towards hall hire and speaker fee is appreciated from visitors.
Location Sevenoaks Branch

Venue Information - Sevenoaks Branch

Otford Village Memorial Hall High Street Otford TN14 5PQ