& Mike Brown
Writing, walking and talking history
Christmas on the Home Front - Mike Brown
The outbreak of war in 1939 saw the disappearance of many traditional British celebrations. Guy Fawkes’ Night went immediately – gunpowder production was needed for the war effort and bonfires contravened the blackout. Summer holidays became a thing of the past and Easter all but disappeared as chocolate – and even real eggs – went ‘on the ration’. In spite of this the nation remained determined to celebrate Christmas as a time of family and community; a time when war could be set aside, if only for a day. Drawing upon personal recollections, contemporary Mass Observation reports, newspaper articles, advertisements, and personal and archive photographs, Mike Brown looks at each wartime Christmas on the British Home Front, from 1939 to 1944. He explores how people celebrated Christmas despite the problems of shortages, rationing, the blackout, Luftwaffe raids and the absence of family members who had been called up or evacuated. Life in Britain changed dramatically as the war progressed; the annual celebration of Christmas provides fascinating yearly ‘snapshots’, illuminating the changes over six years of conflict.