Author Topic: 'The Underwear Project - 1940s Remembered Event  (Read 1529 times)

Offline c-side

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Re: 'The Underwear Project - 1940s Remembered Event
« Reply #18 on: Thursday 07 November 19 06:22 GMT (UK) »
I still have my apron made at BGS - ready just in time for Domestic Science the following year  ;D

A little later than you though when cotton was more freely available

Offline TriciaK

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Re: 'The Underwear Project - 1940s Remembered Event
« Reply #19 on: Thursday 07 November 19 11:11 GMT (UK) »
Good that we still have these memories. I wish I still had my apron, Christine.
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Offline Nic.

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Re: 'The Underwear Project - 1940s Remembered Event
« Reply #20 on: Thursday 07 November 19 12:50 GMT (UK) »
My mother talks about her knitted  swimming costume which grew with her this would have been late 40’s early 50’s.  When the body was to short they simply cut it and let in a knitted extension.  All her school did this and apparently the costumes looked very ‘patch work’.


Offline TriciaK

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Re: 'The Underwear Project - 1940s Remembered Event
« Reply #21 on: Thursday 07 November 19 19:16 GMT (UK) »
I suppose woollen things could  be obtained then. Wool could be produced from UK sheep flocks.
As for the title of this thread, I don't think underwear would be of much importance in those days compared to the need to survive.
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Offline River Tyne Lass

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Re: 'The Underwear Project - 1940s Remembered Event
« Reply #22 on: Monday 11 November 19 09:44 GMT (UK) »
https://northshields173.org/

I am reading a book at the moment called ‘North Shields 173 by Peter Bolger.  It is a very sad read but also a fascinating account of an air raid disaster which took place at the Wilkinson’s Lemonade Factory in North Shields during Saturday 3rd/Sunday 4th May 1941.
 
Apparently, North Shields 173 was the telephone number for the factory.  Under this factory was an air raid shelter.  The author poses the question in the book that if imagining yourself in the situation back then – you have just heard the sirens go off after 11 pm – what would you do?  Would you stay home or go to the shelter?  My answer is I would have gone to the shelter, assuming like the estimated 190 who did this, that this would have been the safer option.  Unfortunately,  a bomb was dropped directly on the factory and 107 were killed and there were many casualties who suffered a range of injuries including acid burns from the chemicals that were used in the factory.

The book gives information from the mortuary forms which are available at Tyne and Wear archives relating to those who were killed that night.  It is clear that people had bundled up for a very cold night ahead and there are references to woollen vests/vests amongst the clothing and effects of many, including women.

For an example, see Margaret Gray's mortuary form info on the website:

https://northshields173.org/gray/

I know at first glance, it might be thought that underwear ‘would not be of much importance .. compared to the need to survive’.  However, I think underwear such as woollen vests would have been part of the means of day to day survival.
 
A few years ago, I went on a walk through the Victoria Tunnel, Newcastle upon Tyne when the Heritage Open Day events were on.  During the war years this had been an air raid shelter.  I found this tunnel to be very cold and damp.
 
I do think that if I was in that situation all those years ago and had a jumper perhaps that was perhaps past its best, I would likely be looking to remake this into a woolen vest to wear beneath clothes for a family member or myself.   I think it is possible that people could have become ill spending nights in such cold places, so as I say, I think reknitting worn, past the best items into underwear would have been quite a sensible and health protecting action to take.
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Offline TriciaK

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Re: 'The Underwear Project - 1940s Remembered Event
« Reply #23 on: Monday 11 November 19 12:30 GMT (UK) »
Good point. River Tyne Lass.
I'm not much of a knitter, but one of my paternal aunts was an expert. I have vague memories of them laboriously unravelling old wool jumpers. They didn't always come out in one continuous length, and they were all crinkly so needed to be washed and straightened and dried before re-use. I think they used to wind it round a chairback first.
So different from the range of woollens these days. Though pure wool is now rare.
Knott - Northumberland; Yorkshire (?Bridlington.)
Fenwick, Johnston - Northumberland.
Dixon; Hutchinson - York.
Shaw - ? Glasgow

Offline emeltom

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Re: 'The Underwear Project - 1940s Remembered Event
« Reply #24 on: Monday 11 November 19 13:08 GMT (UK) »
I can remember my Mum telling me about knitting vests for her nephew whilst in the air raid shelter at night. She always said you could tell how bad the raids had been judging by the varying lines of grey on the white wool.

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