New Maternity Wing Opens at Farnborough Hospital in 1940

Remember a time when we were allowed flowers in the wards? At the outbreak of World War 2 in 1939, the Farnborough Hospital joined the Emergency Medical Service (EMS) and became known as the Farnborough Emergency Hospital under the control of Guy’s Hospital in London.  In anticipation for air-raid casualties, a number of marquees were erected to temporarily provide extra accommodation while a dozen wooden hut wards were being built in the gardens and orchards.  During this time the Hospital had around 1,200 beds, which were ready to receive casualties from Dunkirk and…

Air Fight over the Channel – July 1940

War news which featured in the Bromley & District Times newspaper on 19th July 1940 (page 5) Five Bombers and One Fighter Shot Down Enemy aircraft which were attacking shipping in the Straits of Dover early on Monday evening were interrupted and five, one fighter and four bombers were shot down into the sea by our fighters.  In addition an enemy bomber was shot down by anti aircraft fire.One of our fighters was lost. The Air Military also announced in a later communique that three British fighters in all were…

Italian Recipes for Meatless Days – Risotto in Bianco

Another recipe that appeared in the Bromley & District Times in January 1917, was this simple Risotto in Bianco, which helped give ideas to housewives looking to provide an interesting and delicious meal to their family, even though meat was in short supply. Risotto in Bianco 1/2 pound Rice, washed and dried 2 pints of Broth 2oz of Butter (or less if preferred) 2 tbsp Grated cheese Bring the broth to boil, then throw in the rice Boil until the broth is absorbed (about twenty minutes) Remove from the fire and…

Italian Recipes for Meatless Days – Gnocchi alla Romana

By 1917, certain foods were in short supply, especially meat, wheat for bread, butter and sugar.  Here is a recipe that appeared in the Bromley & District Times newspaper in January 1917. I liked the elegant suggestions about serving the Gnocchi alla Romana. Definitely for the middle-class housewife who maybe has lost her live-in cook!   Gnocchi alla Romana 3/4 pint Water 3/4 pint Milk 1/2 pound Semolina Butter Grated cheese Salt. Boil the semolina in the milk-and-water, with salt to taste for fifteen or twenty minutes, stirring well occasionally…

Do you like the boots? Bon Marché fashion

This advert for the Bon Marché store in Brixton appeared in the Bromley & District Times in early January 1917.   The cost of ladies boots was 12s (shillings) 11d (pence), which, if I remember correctly, is about 65p in today’s money! However, when you think that some families had to manage on £1 (20 shillings) was a lot of money for a working class woman! Brixton’s Bon Marché department store opened in 1877.  It claimed to be the first purpose built department store in the UK and was the brainchild…

Prisoners of War from the Royal West Kent Regiment

Officers of the Royal West Kent Regiment Mrs Watts, of Shepherds Lane, Dartford, wife of Lieutenant-Quartermaster Watts, received the photograph of officers of the Royal West Kent Regiment who were prisoners of war in Germany. The photograph was taken in June, 1940. Watts had been anxious for news from home, and said that letters were now being received. Captain W Earle Edwards, son-in-law of Alderman W A Ward, Deputy Mayor of Dartford. Back Row: Lieutenant Kennedy and Captain Denham (Bexley) Middle Row: Captain W Edwards, Major Clout, Lieutenant-Quartermaster Watts (Dartford)…

Oh for an electric dish-washer!

The first dishwasher was invented in the USA in 1857 by Josephine Cochrane (trust a woman to realise the value of such an invention). The first dishwasher in Europe was invented by Miele in 1929, but they did not become commercially popular in Britain until the 1950’s and only for the wealthy at that time. Advert which appeared in the Bromley & Kentish Times, 12th July 1940, page 2

At Least Eleven Enemy Aircraft were Shot Down

A report featured in the Bromley & District Times newspaper in July 1940. More daylight air raids have been made in various parts of Britain, with casualties to civilians.  But raiders have been shot down daily. At least eleven enemy aircraft were shot down during a series of attacks on Wednesday on our coasts. In one battle it was estimated that over 100 aircraft were engaged. The R.A.F. have continued their attacks on military objectives in Germany with conspicuous success, and during the week have wrecked German barges which were…

Home for Heroes (TALK)

Pam will be giving a talk to the Bromley Borough Local History Society on the building of the first Council Houses in Bromley after the Great War, on Bromley Common – affectionately known as Bromley Garden City. Non-members of all ages are very welcome to come along. There is a contribution of £1 towards the cost of the meeting (50p for Members) The talk starts at 7.45 pm in the Small Hall at the Trinity United Reformed Church, at the junction of Freelands Road and Upper Park Road, Bromley, BR1 3AQ.…

The Stupendous Rate of War Expenditure in World War 2

£1,000,000,000 for the War Stupendous National Expenditure AIR BATTLES OVER THE COAST The House of Commons has passed a further vote of credit for the war amounting to £1,000,000,000. The Chancellor of the Exchequer (Sir Kingsley Wood) stated that the £700,000,000 granted by the House in March is approaching exhaustion, and the present rate of war expenditure is rather more than £50,000,000 a week. The weekly rate of war expenditure for the last four weeks has been £54,000,000 equivalent to a daily rate of over £7,500,000 Source: Bromley & Kentish…