Christmas in Southend-on-Sea 1917

We've been learning about how people in Southend-on-Sea tried to celebrate Christmas in 1917. Many families were already grieving for those they had lost in the conflict and rationing meant that many of the usual treats were not readily available for the first year - meat, sugar, tea, butter and margarine and bread were rationed. However, we're sure that people managed to have some kind of cheer because it was considered good form to keep spirits up.

Holly, ivy and miseltoe were still growing in gardens and made their way into houses. The children have been learning about the games that people played, what they would have eaten and the carols that would have been sung.

There was some snow in Southend which pleased local children and was the coldest Christmas for 10 years! Local women were busy knitting to help the troops and were working on farms, driving trams and working in factories to help the war effort. Eva herself worked in a parachute factory.

We've been telling the story of young George Guy and his sister Eva. George had been killed in Gallipoli along with 18,000 other soldiers after his commanding officer had made a basic mistake and not taken the high ground. He was 17 years old. We know that Eva and her parents never entirely recovered from the tragedy. It must have been a very hard Christmas for Austin, Alice and Eva Guy in 1917.

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