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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.
The celebrations were wide-ranging, limited only by imagination and money. Some took time to set up but many were spontaneous.
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.
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.
The following photo of the Cardiff victory parade is probably typical of others throughout the country.
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!
There were street parties across the country. This section takes those in Edmonton, north London as examples.
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.