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The webmaster, Pat Cryer, as a young child

Victory celebrations in Britain
after the Second World War

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Royal balcony

Britain celebrated victory in World War Two with numerous events all over the country. All were tagged as VE Day events although they took time to organise and took place sometime after VE Day itself. VE Day was the day of Victory in Europe on 8 May 1945. VJ Day, the day victory was declared over Japan, took place two months later on 15 August 1945 and marked the end of all hostilities.

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Types of victory celebrations

The celebrations were wide-ranging, limited only by imagination and money. Some took time to set up but many were spontaneous.

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Examples of VE day events in Edmonton, north London

There was a military parade through Edmonton. It took place in Fore Street, starting at Noel Park and it was saluted by the Mayor outside the Town Hall. My uncle who was in the Home Guard was involved. I remember climbing into a Bren Gun Carrier, a small tank, with lots of other children outside the town hall and speeding to the Angel pub and back.

We also had street parties. People put their tables and chairs out into the street. In our street these spanned nearly half the length of the street. A stage was erected in the middle of the street and there was music, light, and people singing, glad to be alive.

In the evening we went to a dinner and dance in the ballroom above the Regal Cinema. All the street lights that were still working came on, and to walk home and see the lights on in every house blazing out, it was magic after those long years of war, Some of the shops had their windows ablaze with light.

There was also a bonfire. Life was going to get better from now on.

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... but sadness too

Yet some of the houses had their curtains drawn with the residents shut inside. When these people did come out to watch they would be crying. We were told that these families had lost the man of the house or one of the grown up children while serving in the forces.

Peter Johnson

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Victory parades

The following photo of the Cardiff victory parade is probably typical of others throughout the country.

Cardiff City Centre Victory Parade, June 1945

Cardiff City Centre Victory Parade, Home Guard contingent, June 1945. Note how far it extends into the distance.
Photo courtesy of Malcolm Head.

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I was eight when the war ended and have a clear memory of our celebratory evening street bonfire. The fire was so hot that the concrete road cracked with a huge noise!

Barry Hooper

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Street parties

There were street parties across the country. This section takes those in Edmonton, north London as examples.

1945 World War Two Street Peace Party, Lopen Road, Edmonton

Children's Peace Celebrations in 1945: the street party in pen Road, Edmonton (now Enfield). Photo courtesy of David Smythe

Click for a larger pictures from which you may be able to recognise neighbours.

The photograph shows the 1945 Peace street party in Lopen Road, Edmonton where my mother grew up. By then she was married and had moved away, but there were still her relatives on the Huxley Estate, of which Lopen Road forms a part. In particular the family home of my cousin, Anne Cole, was still there. Although she was evacuated during the war to West Wratting, she was back for the Peace street party and is seated just below the first of the second group of adults. I understand that others in the photo include Sylvia Bately, Brian Bately, Beryl Sawyer and Jimmy & Betty Bilson - but I do not know where they are sitting.

The picture is a perfect companion for the one on this website for the World War One Lopen Road Peace Party. The houses appear to have changed little from my mother's time - see 116 Lopen Road in 1911. David Smythe believes that 116 Lopen Road is probably in this 1945 photo, because he remembers the direction from which it was taken.

Apparently a bomb dropped on Lopen Road during Word War Two, not far from No 116. The explosion lifted a section of kerbstone onto the bare roof rafters without breaking them. Remarkable! It left a great crater in the middle of the road. My mother, although she had left by then, was very much involved in another Edmonton bombing in Silver Street.

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More peace street parties in Edmonton

Small scale photo of WW2 VE Day peace party for the roads around Hazel Close, Edmonton, UK

World War Two VE Day street party for roads adjacent to Hazel Close, Edmonton. Photo courtesy of Tom Wallace.

Click the photo for an enlargement in which you may be able to recognise relatives and friends.

Tom's sister, Eileen Wallace, is the girl on the left at the front table, sitting with her best friend, Frances. They had a separate table because Frances had chicken pox. Tom is the boy in the top hat and socks down to his ankles. He was dressed as a conjurer and won a prize for it in the competition.

(Eileen also went to Silver Street School, but was 5½ years older than Tom.)

World War Two street peace party for Huxley Road, Edmonton, thumbnail

World War Two street peace party for Huxley Road, Edmonton. Photo courtesy of Vera Harding, born Vera Eaton. She reports that she can name a few of the people present but that it is difficult to describe where they are!
This party was held at the Town Hall in Lower Edmonton and the photo was taken round the back of the Town Hall.

Click for a larger image.

World War Two street peace party for Haselbury Road(which changed its name
		to Amersham Avenue) and the adjacent three roads of Harding Road, Tiverton Road
		and Giffard Road, Edmonton

World War Two street peace party for Haselbury Road (which changed its name to Amersham Avenue) and the adjacent three roads of Harding Road, Tiverton Road and Giffard Road, Edmonton. The two adults in the centre, in the dark clothes, are Mr and Mrs Carr (with Mrs Dickson behind her. Mrs Flowers of 2 Haselbury Road is on the right in the doorway. Andrew Dickson, who provided the photo, is sitting along the front with Ronald Flowers and Leslie Carr. Photo courtesy of Andrew Dickson.

Click for a larger image.