In this episode of the documentary series, three families experience family life during World War II. They must pull together to survive and do their bit for the war effort.
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The family. It's where we love, laugh, shout and cry.
Oh! Don't fall off!
It makes us who we are.
But it hasn't always been the cherished institution it is today.
To find out how the modern family came to be, a group of parents
and kids from across Britain are turning back time,
to face the same ordeals as millions of others over the past 100 years.
In the northern seaside town of Morecambe, the past is coming alive.
A row of terraced houses has been turned into time machines,
to transport our families through the twists
and turns of the 20th century.
From the age of masters and servants...
I felt a bit emotional,
because I knew she was there to take the children away.
Which is quite difficult.
..through the Roaring Twenties to the Depression.
Anything else of value will need to be sold.
The fact that it was in front of the family, I felt really useless.
From life on the Home Front...
Another era, another separation.
..to the Swinging Sixties.
I'm slightly concerned about the length of their skirts.
We're starting the rebellion right now.
And on to the groovy '70s.
I couldn't give a damn about material things.
For me, family is most important.
And the past is about to get personal.
Rather than just living in a museum,
we're actually living an ancestor's life.
She died of TB, consumption.
I'm starting to feel quite emotional!
We take so much for granted, I think.
We're turning back time to find out how history made the family
what it is today.
The family's extraordinary adventure through time is set to continue...
..as they return to Albert Road to experience family life
in the Second World War.
VOICEOVER: The time for words is over. The time for action has come.
Between 1939 and 1945,
the whole country faced a desperate battle for survival.
It was a conflict that would tear ordinary families apart
and change British family life for ever.
War today involves not only the fighting services,
but the whole population.
On hand to guide the time travellers through their unique
historical experience are historical gadget expert Joe Crowley,
working mum and queen of the breakfast sofa Susanna Reid
and social historian Juliet Gardiner,
who will ensure that the constraints of wartime are strictly enforced.
Welcome back to Albert Road. It is now 1940, and Britain is at war.
Of course, we can't recreate the danger and fear of wartime,
and nor would we want to,
but you will be experiencing some of the privations and restrictions
that British families endured during the Second World War.
Men, women, children.
The whole country was mobilised as part of the war effort.
It was a terrifying time, but also a time of great change, and really,
in many ways, the recognisable beginnings of modern Britain.
Your challenge in this era is to face up to the ordeal of fighting the war
on the Home Front.
You'll be expected to pull together, show Blitz spirit,
and some good old British stiff upper lip.
As the families head home, big changes await.
The houses are now fully prepared for war.
All taped up.
It's taped up, and there's blackout blinds.
Why is there tape on the window?
So that if there was an explosion, it would hold all the glass in place.
That's why they tape the windows up, so it wouldn't blow the glass through.
At home in Norfolk, Michael Taylor
and wife Adele lead a down-to-earth life.
But thanks to Michael's wealthy mill-running ancestor,
they've been members of the upper-middle class.
Might hire servants when we get home!
But posh was far from perfect.
-I'm gutted. I want to go out as well.
Adele Taylor struggled with an opulent lifestyle that
separated her from her family.
I'm not the mother of these children.
The nanny has been the mother of the children.
With the country at war, the servants are a thing of the past.
Yeah, look, no staff.
We've got to ring the bell!
Adele has finally got what she wants - a chance to run the family home.
Oh, it's fantastic.
Really pleased. There's nobody, so we can just walk wherever we want now. Fantastic.
It's our own little place, isn't it?
-Would you hang my hat up, please?
-I'm not doing chores!
What are you going to do?
You're going to have to learn some independence, girl. There's a war on!
The Taylors' old scullery has been transformed into Albert Road's
air raid shelter.
Everything has been taken over, hasn't it?
This looks quite grim down here, actually.
I'm sleeping in the top bunk.
I think, as a family, we are very lucky to have a shelter here,
whereas I think other families that live down the street
would have to go out of the house, so I don't think we can whinge
-and moan, actually, about our shelter.
-I think, in fact, it's a very good shelter.
-Right, come on. Shall we have a look upstairs?
-Shall we look upstairs?
To the nursery.
-Loads of war toys.
-That's what the kids would want to play with, isn't it?
# Da-da-da! #
You couldn't put your head down and forget about it, could you?
There's not a room in the house, as yet,
that we aren't being reminded that we're in wartime.
Hey, we're home!
Hey, you've just walked straight past something.
In the 21st century, Ian and Naomi Golding believe in modern, hands-on parenting.
I want to stroke one, I want to stroke one!
The close-knit family spent the previous era living the middle-class dream.
Just to be together as a family.
Yeah. 1900s, we didn't see each other at all.
Have you spotted this?
But war has brought the Goldings' golden age to an end.
-We have to kill the rabbit.
Can I stroke one?
For the first time, everyone on Albert Road is going to be
undergoing the same ordeal - living with a limited food supply.
Dried skimmed milk.
How can you fit an egg in there?
There's nothing, look.
We're going to have to be pretty frugal this week.
VOICEOVER: From the very beginning of the war,
one of Germany's principle aims has been Britain's starvation.
Introduced four months into the war,
rationing meant mums of all classes struggled to put food on the table.
Even fresh eggs were scarce.
I don't think we've had a huge amount of food since we've been here,
not when you compare it to five courses a day next door.
I can't kill a rabbit. I couldn't.
We'll be fine, even without the rabbit.
We will manage.
Mum, I don't mind if you kill one.
I've already said I'm not killing a rabbit. They are so cute.
Returning home to their working-class abode,
the Meadows are also in for a big surprise.
Oh, my God!
Meat rationing meant that a pig suddenly became a valuable asset.
-There is no way I'm...
Many families banded together, and nearly 7,000 pig clubs
were formed to raise livestock across the country.
I'm not eating that. I'd rather starve than kill that.
Yeah, me too.
No. I'll eat it.
-It's just a pig!
-Dad, she can hear you!
They won't kill you, I promise.
the Meadows run their own successful family business - a polo school.
But life at the bottom of Albert Road's social pile
has been a constant struggle.
Soul-destroying. Completely soul-destroying.
The family have been forced to live hand-to-mouth in order to survive.
All you do is think about food and tea and warmth.
Food, tea, warmth. That's all you care about.
-We've got some veggies on the go here.
Finally, things are looking up for the Meadows.
What are these? Are these cabbages?
These'll be runner beans.
As well as raising animals for meat,
households were encouraged to dig for victory,
and grow their own vegetables to supplement their meagre rations.
That is rhubarb.
Oh, rhubarb, that'll be lovely!
While rations were seen as a hardship by well-off families,
the poorest actually improved their diets, due to a lower sugar intake.
Before the war, two thirds of poor households were considered to be under-nourished.
This is going to make a big difference to us.
Before, it's been a question of,
"Well, can we find a potato, or can we afford to buy some mince?"
So, now, I think it's possibly going to be better for us,
as a working-class household.
Times are changing for the inhabitants of number three,
and Joe Crowley has important news for one member of the family.
Come with me. I've got some extra duties for you you might be interested in.
Do you know what this is, on the corner?
An air raid shelter.
Close. This is the local ARP warden's base.
So, we need an ARP this week.
That'll be you, then, Phil.
I would like to proudly bestow this helmet on Suzie.
One sixth of all air raid precaution wardens were women.
It was one of the first times that women performed a uniformed civic defence role on Britain's streets.
You won't actually be sounding the siren.
That's done from the police station locally.
But, just so we can tune our ears, come with me.
Here is an air raid siren.
So, give it some welly, and let's see what it sounds like.
Are you ready?
AIR RAID SIREN WAILS
-I'm sorry to tell you that was a false alarm this time round.
-A false alarm?
That's good, we're here, we're organised.
-It's good to practice.
This is what the ARP warden wants to see.
We'll go back now. Thank you. Come on, guys.
-Have a good week.
It's going to be a tough one, but stay safe.
Thank you, bye.
Look after that pig.
After the horrors of the First World War,
it was feared that the Germans would again use poison gas.
Fearing that, this time, civilians would be targeted,
gas masks were issued to every man, woman and child.
Good afternoon, Mrs Taylor. I've come to fit you with your gas masks.
As ARP warden, it's Suzie's responsibility to keep the neighbours safe.
Beautifully done. Perfect.
It suddenly makes it all more serious, doesn't it,
-putting these on?
And that this is a one-stop shop. You get it wrong...
-And we die.
-And you're gassed.
It must have been really freaky, standing in a room full of gas,
and all you've got to protect you is this.
So, basically, you have to rely on this for your survival.
Quite scary, actually, because they look like monsters in it.
Breathe in and out. Make a noise. That's it.
It feels really strange putting little children in gas masks.
I think that these are things that could happen to anybody,
big or small.
It just gives you the creeps, really,
because you realise that they're really at risk.
By June 1940, after the British Army's retreat from Dunkirk,
much of northern Europe was occupied by the Nazis.
With German forces poised across the Channel,
Britain and its dominions stood alone.
RADIO: We are going to ask you to help us.
Here, then, is the opportunity for which
so many of you have been waiting.
The government appealed for all able-bodied men to join the LDV,
or Local Defence Volunteers, later to be renamed the Home Guard.
You have already got your motto. And your motto is "Kill the Boche!"
With the ceiling for conscription set at the age of 27,
the LDV gave older dads across the land the opportunity
to protect their families in the event of a Nazi invasion.
Michael Taylor is a former member of the RAF,
with 16 years' service behind him.
Feel like Dad's Army.
We are Dad's Army, yes.
Oh, so you're not really in any danger, are you? You're just...
I've got more chance of shooting my foot, I think,
than shooting anything else!
When I joined up, it was more about a job, really,
and a different environment for my life.
It was never about fighting, or anything else.
I have full respect for anybody who stands up and joins up,
whatever, police, whatever, you know what I mean.
I've always said that about people who stand up and be counted.
You know. It's important.
Oh, is that his weapon?!
She's evil, she is. Absolutely evil!
You're not supposed to laugh!
-Oh, my gosh!
-What do you think of that?
With real weapons in short supply,
due to the needs of the regular army,
volunteers had to make do with whatever came to hand.
Have you stolen that from my kitchen?
Careful of yourself.
Look at that.
I'll tell you what, if the Germans saw us coming, they'll run a mile.
Armed to the teeth with their makeshift weapons, the men
are off to the seafront to join some local Home Guard enthusiasts.
Section in single file. Fall in!
One of the vital roles of the Home Guard was to patrol Britain's shoreline.
I think we're a dog's hind leg here, aren't we?
Get it straight, this time.
In Morecambe, many of the eligible men in the town volunteered.
By the left, quick march!
# Who do you think you are kidding, Mr Hitler...? #
# If you think we're on the run... #
He's learning how to walk!
That's not bad, that wasn't bad!
In defence of the realm...
I don't get it. What am I doing?
..all the social classes have been thrown together.
Despite living side-by-side on Albert Road...
-Good evening, Mrs Taylor.
-Good evening, Phil.
..the three families have spent the last 40 years separated by class.
Phil, the car is expensive to keep. We can no longer keep you employed.
Left, right, left!
Now the dads of Albert Road are forced to work together
to protect their families.
Look at Dad! He does get a gun.
Oh, bless him! He's got a wooden gun and a girl guide's hat.
He's looking really mean(!)
Are you proud of Daddy?
He looks great, doesn't he?
Just like an army, a family marches on its stomach.
"Carefully selected pure cod liver oil."
Oh, no, that's repulsive!
Right, line up in a queue.
To supplement a wartime diet short on fresh meat, fish and veg,
a daily dose of cod liver oil was thought to keep kids
rickets-free and fighting fit.
-Nice? Not nice?
-Tastes like fish.
Mess about and you get double.
Good children. Well done.
If you mess about, you get double.
Oh, no. That is rank.
No longer a lady of leisure, Adele Taylor is now chef,
nanny and mother combined.
Don't give it if you can't take it!
It feels fantastic being back.
This is where I wanted to be all along, busy and doing something,
and the kids are running around as they would at home,
and it just feels more like a home again.
With a hungry house to feed, but with the cupboards bare,
Adele is following government advice to make the most of her limited rations.
VOICEOVER: There's lots of potatoes about now.
That's the boy, have a second helping. Good health to you.
There was a drive to take advantage of the nation's vegetable supply,
as it was one of the few foods not subject to ration.
One dish that mums across the land were encouraged to make
was Woolton pie.
It's just severely lacking in meat.
I wouldn't normally just do a vegetarian pie.
Named after the Minister for Food, Lord Woolton,
the pie made use of root vegetables, as meat was in such scarce supply.
That is actually really nice.
But it had its drawbacks.
I can imagine it might be quite smelly!
Dad, we do not talk about these things at the table!
Just because we're out of Edwardian times and in the war
doesn't give you permission to talk about rude things at the table.
Good job we've got gas masks, eh?
I reckon we've come down a peg or two since the 1900s, don't you?
Well, we're eating together.
Yeah, that's really good.
This food is actually nice.
It's the first time we've actually sat down all together.
-So things are looking up.
I'm a washer.
Where's that tea towel?
AIR RAID SIRENS WAIL
Quick, guys. Grab your things.
An air raid warning could come at any time.
Come on, Jack. Right, coats on.
Once the siren sounded, people often had just minutes
to get to the nearest shelter before the bombs began to fall.
Get all your stuff!
The Second World War placed the British family right on the front line.
In an attempt to bring Britain to its knees, the Germans dropped
tens of thousands of bombs on ports, factories, but also on family homes.
Right, quick, down you go.
We hope we've made it comfy enough.
-It'll do. We're all together, aren't we?
-We're all together.
From the south coast to the Liverpool docks,
no city was spared from attack.
VOICEOVER: Every town is a target. Any town is a target.
In total, over the duration of the war, more than two million homes were destroyed.
Can you hear the aeroplanes? Listen.
It's really close.
It's a bit frightening being down here,
because even though I know it's not real,
you can feel what they must have felt
in those days, when the war was going on,
and it must have been absolutely horrible for them,
and they wouldn't have been able to sleep down here, no way.
Not at all.
Where is our comfort and reassurance? We're fragile beings.
We're safe down here.
-We're safe down here.
You two just, you know.
You'll be all right.
EXPLOSION Oh, gosh!
This is what we'd have done. We'd just carry on.
-Stiff upper lip.
-Try and block it out and just get on with it.
You'd want to give an exterior to everybody else that you're
just carrying on, and that everything is all right,
because you want to keep everything calm.
You don't want to scare everybody. Do you know what I mean?
When they're coming over.
Can we please get our mother in here?
I think I'd be happy if Suzie were down here.
Even with the families safe in the shelter,
the dangerous job of the ARP warden was far from over.
Many were killed or injured serving their communities.
I do feel slightly vulnerable.
Surrounded by sandbags on my own, while there's mayhem all around me,
and anyone I know and love is down in the basement in a lovely house.
I'm not sure I would have signed up for this.
I don't know whether I've got what it takes.
I think we should go and get her, to be honest.
Everyone else feels the same,
and you're sat there playing a card game.
If I go out there, and something happens to me,
they then have to come and look for me.
-She knows what she's doing. She's the warden.
That's her job.
Here we go.
There has been some bomb damage.
I've got to take you with the torch. There's been a power cut.
And so we need just to err on the side of caution.
During the nine months of the Blitz alone,
nearly 45,000 British civilians lost their lives.
So we'll be clearing up tomorrow, OK, guys?
Yeah, we'll sort it out. Come on, let's just get in the house, guys.
Get in the house, go to bed. I'll see you in the morning.
Often, families returned to homes without electricity or gas,
with cables and pipes having been damaged by falling bombs.
Who's up for tea, anyone?
For once, living in a working-class house powered by coal has its benefits.
The great British fix, isn't it? Having a cup of tea.
Five minutes' time, we'll be in the right.
For the Golding children,
the reality of life in wartime is sinking in.
It's all right, you're all safe now, OK?
So, from being a very comical, fun day, suddenly,
the reality of what actually happened hit us,
and that's when, for the first time, the children got really spooked.
I don't want it to happen again.
And it just makes you think what children would have felt,
the first time that happened for real.
You know, in 1939, 1940.
They must have been absolutely scared out of their wits.
We have quite significant damage through the hallway.
Besides that, the rest of the drawing room got on OK.
The picture of great-aunt Marge was all right.
And then, through to the kitchen,
which Adele's now busy clearing up and getting ready for breakfast.
It's going to take a little while until we're ready, guys, because it's filthy.
The gas is still off, so we haven't got a cup of tea.
The Taylors are in need of a helping hand from their less well-to-do neighbours.
A bit of cake we've got left over.
We're going to take a couple of slices down to the Meadows,
and say to them, "Would you like some cake?"
"And would you be able to fill the flask up with some boiling water,
"so we can have a nice cup of tea, as we've got no gas."
So, yeah, how the worm has turned.
It has, certainly turned.
So we're the ones in need.
Do you know what is ironic?
That now you're the ones where we all want to be!
What a twist of fate.
The Germans hoped that an intense bombing campaign would destroy
the morale of the British public.
-Some serious damage outside yours.
Come on, Mr Taylor!
If you didn't have such a big house, you wouldn't have so much rubbish!
But amongst the debris, new bonds are being formed.
30 years ago, I wouldn't even look him in the eye.
You know, I'd keep my head down, like this, and he'd walk past,
in case I upset him, or did something wrong,
and I got sacked, or whatever.
So it is amazing, now, the two of us are out clearing up your house.
It was a rubbish time, wasn't it?
Still clearing up his house!
It's amazing what a war does, isn't it?
I really like the sense of community that is building.
Yeah, they're all working together outside, aren't they?
And we're whisking.
And we're whisking and beating together.
We are very housewifely, aren't we?
And what's Adele's excuse for not being here?
I'm not quite sure. She's so excited to have a kitchen, I think.
We'll have this looking cleaner than when I started.
Albert Road might have taken a pasting,
but a new fighting spirit has emerged.
I'm now thinking, "Go and bomb them bloody Germans, finish them off!
"You're not coming in my kitchen and wrecking it."
So I can see how it, kind of...
I don't know whether bombing civilians was counter-productive,
because you suddenly get this uprise of people, really angry,
and I'm a bit fed up that they've come and done this!
As the war raged on,
the army needed ever more soldiers to swell its ranks.
Your country calls upon you for your own protection,
and the protection of your families and your friends.
By June 1941, conscription was extended
to all men up to 41 years of age.
In total, over 4.5 million men were called up.
I've come to give you some news you must have been half expecting.
You two, Michael and Ian, you're both under 41,
so I've got your conscription papers.
You're going to war. Mr Golding, Mr Taylor.
I've just got my family back, and we're being ripped apart again.
At 50, Phil Meadows is too old to be conscripted.
You're going to keep in the Home Guard.
Your contribution is going to be just as important as these guys to the battlefield.
How do you feel?
You want to go and do your bit, especially when your mates are going.
Yeah, that's true.
As a mate, that's really nice, that is. I'm touched.
Good luck. Really good luck, OK?
Thank you very much.
Come on, let's go and say goodbye.
Oh, no. Daddy's leaving us.
Is this now? You're going now?
I haven't got much time is all I've been told.
Where are you going?
I'm going to war, Katie.
-Yes, today, we're off.
You're going to be the only one in the house.
-Yeah, and Megan.
-There's a surprise(!)
So is that all it does? It says you've got to go?
Yeah, that's it.
To be able to go and have the opportunity to go to war is good.
You know, I'll be doing something that's vital to my family
and to families all over the country, so I'm ready for it, now.
And I'm sure Naomi'll get on with it here.
We'll be fine, won't we?
We'll be fine.
I can shoot a gun better than them, ride a horse better than them,
drive a car better than them, so why should I be stuck at home?
It's an age thing, a fitness thing, yeah?
And I could probably out-fitness them.
It's probably something to do with being old.
I don't think people like being old.
And it's kind of reconfirmed the fact that you're not good enough to go and fight for your country.
Next door, before Ian Golding leaves for war, Juliet has come to reveal
how the conflict changed some of his family's lives for ever.
Ian's great-aunt Minnie was married to Nathan Cassler.
Together, they had three daughters, Edith, Brenda and Natalie.
-You know that they're a London family.
Nathan, in particular, was very anxious about the bombing coming,
and so he moved his family to Brighton.
Now, that is a picture of the three girls, the oldest one, Edith,
then Brenda, and then little Natalie there.
-But, of course, as we know, there's no safety in the Second World War.
Brighton was badly bombed.
On 9th April, 1941, a moonlit raid was to devastate Brighton.
What happened, unfortunately, in that moonlit raid,
was that a bomb fell on Norfolk Square,
-where Nathan, Minnie and the three children were living.
If you have a look here.
So, Brenda, she was only 11.
"Died due to war operations.
"Edith Cassler, 16 years.
"Natalie Cassler, female of five."
Blimey. So, five, 11 and 16.
A day later, their father's body was found.
Miraculously, Ian's great-aunt Minnie survived the blast.
I mean, to live the rest of your life with that,
to have been the one that survived, you'd almost, probably,
preferred to have died as well.
Well, it's interesting,
when you think about where to send your children.
I mean, obviously, they chose to go to Brighton, which, maybe,
that makes it all the worse.
-Can you imagine if that was our three children?
She thought she was keeping her family together
by doing what she did, and then she didn't.
Ultimately, she didn't end up with the children.
We should never forget, and we should talk about it more,
and I think it's important that we don't forget, going forward.
Almost 8,000 British children lost their lives during the war.
NEWSREEL: From cities and towns, children in their thousands
have left their parents and been drafted off to safety zones.
Evacuation out of the cities was agreed by all
to be the best way to keep children safe.
In total, over two million kids were sent away by their parents
to the perceived safety of the countryside.
Right, what you need in your suitcases are your pyjamas.
The women of Albert Road aren't just losing their husbands.
Would you like a new cardigan to take?
I think, in the modern day,
you try and prepare your children for everything.
I think they'll all be fine, as long as they're together.
I'm sad and happy.
Sad because Mum's on her own, and happy because I'm going
with my friends and we're going to have a really nice time.
It must have been tough for mums. It's hard to be without your family.
But you know you've done your best for them.
Just keep them safe, and I think it's your duty, as a mum.
To keep them safe, and it's your duty as a wife to carry on.
I'm trying to keep positive about it.
This must have been heartbreaking for the mums,
having to pack all the cases up with their belongings in.
I think it would be really hard for the children.
Yeah, because they're leaving their mum, for weeks, maybe.
And it would be hard for mums, as well, wouldn't it?
Yeah, because they'll have to stay at home.
-On their own.
-All the time.
We're all together, and then we just have to leave each other, don't we?
One happy day.
Yeah, just one.
And then it's like the Edwardian times.
MUSIC: "We'll Meet Again" by Vera Lynn
# Let's say goodbye With a smile, dear
# Just for a while, dear
# We must part... #
Wartime parents said goodbye,
not knowing when it would be safe for their children to return.
Or how long it would be until they saw them again.
Will you be a good boy?
You're very excited, aren't you?
# We'll meet again
# Don't know where, don't know when
# But I know we'll meet again Some sunny day... #
You have to smile for them, don't you?
-Smile for them.
# Till the blue skies chase those dark clouds far away... #
# We'll meet again
# Don't know where, don't know when
# But I know we'll meet again Some sunny day. #
Another era, another separation.
Yeah, it's really difficult.
I suppose you just try to imagine what women must have been going through.
It must have been hell. Absolute hell.
Yeah, because you didn't have any idea when they'd be back.
Some of the time, you don't even know where they're going.
And by now, I'd already have rang the other end to check that
they're there, on the other end, waiting to receive them,
and there would have to be another phone call this evening to check
that they'd eaten, and another one to check that they were in bed.
Come on, let's go home.
Teenagers Genevieve, Saskia and Megan
are old enough not to face being evacuated.
I hate chickens with a passion.
Instead, they are going to be making up for the shortage
of agricultural labourers by joining the Women's Land Army.
Aaah! Oh, my god!
Are there any more in there?
NEWSREEL: Ladies and gentlemen.
We cows are in a very serious predicament.
There are not enough people to milk us.
Has anybody ever milked a cow?
-What's that smell?
One third of all Land Girls came from the cities,
and had almost no experience of life on the farm.
Do you know which end you milk a cow?
Well done, Saskia.
-Have you got some?
-I can hear it.
I'm not going to lie, this isn't pleasant.
It looks a bit like it's semi-skimmed.
No, it's not semi-skimmed.
-I'll try now.
-Right, off you go.
I just wanted to see someone do it.
Ah. Come on.
Ugh! I can't do it!
Being able to work with Saskia and Genevieve is really good,
because before, being upper-class and being working-class meant that
with the class divisions, we couldn't actually talk to each other.
This era, it just seems like everybody's brought together.
So it's really nice to get out of your family group, and out
of all the class restrictions, and just mixing with everybody.
That's what happens as well!
I don't really want to get back over there, now!
It does have a bit of a waft going on!
The war has separated Naomi Golding from her entire family.
I think they'll be absolutely fine.
They didn't seem bothered at all, actually!
They were really happy.
I'm lucky, but women in the '40s wouldn't have been so lucky in the war,
because I know it's only a finite time.
The only sad thing, I suppose, was I'd got my basket ready
to take to the shelter later, and I had to take four mugs out.
I thought, "I don't need those."
So that was sad.
I think that'll be weird, tonight, if there's an air raid siren,
to go next door and just be on my own.
That would be weird.
Very hard, because all the pictures and paintings and everything
tell you to keep a stiff upper lip.
I guess, in these quiet times, is when women did have their emotions.
And all the pictures you see and all the propaganda you see is that we
all got on with it, and I'm sure we did when we left the house.
But when you're on your own, and you've got quiet time,
that's when it hits you that it's very quiet.
It's very lonely. I don't like being on my own.
Waving the kids off was really difficult.
I've got Megan, which is lovely, to have somebody,
and she'll be my kind of rock now, to keep me going.
What would be the alternative? Sitting here blubbing into my hanky?
Who's that going to help? It's helping nobody.
The only thing that I can do, now, to help,
is to get the street together, make sure everybody's fed and warm
and ready for what the next disaster might be,
so yeah, I can kind of see how this Blitz spirit gets everybody driven.
So that Naomi isn't left alone,
the whole street has come together at Adele's house.
And they are pooling their rations to make them go that little bit further.
This is Suzie's offering of beef stew,
which looks absolutely cracking, actually.
To some absent comrades. Good luck to the boys, is what we can say.
-And the children.
And the kids, yeah, absolutely.
AIR RAIN SIREN WAILS
Another night, another air raid.
One more mouthful!
Londoners suffered 57 consecutive nights of bombing...
..and the Blitz raged for nine gruelling months.
Well, what a homely scene this is.
Everyone tucking in. Seven, six women and me. Joy.
Here they come.
AIRCRAFT ENGINES OVERHEAD
That is loud!
I'm not sleeping if it's like that all night.
With the kids not here, I'm actually more relaxed,
because I worry about them.
It's nice to know they're out there, having fun,
even if we're stuck down here.
And they've experienced one night, and that's quite plenty.
For the families on Albert Road, there is no let-up either.
The remaining residents are forced to stay overnight in the shelter.
The dawn brings a shock for the remaining resident
of number two, Albert Road.
Oh, my gosh.
Around 2.25 million Britons were made homeless
as a result of German bombs.
It was strange to come in and see it. I suspected that might happen.
I suspected it might have been bombed,
so it wasn't a total surprise.
You just want to make it right.
Just want to make it better, just come in, clear up and get on with it.
Meanwhile, Suzie Meadows is reeling from seeing
the luxury of the Taylor house for the first time.
They have it so much better than we do.
I mean, I come home, and already I'm covered in soot.
It's horrible, and there's no bathroom,
and I really, really, really, really want a bathroom.
Mum, no, we're in good moods this morning.
It's because of people like Suzie that we won the war.
30 miles away, in the Yorkshire Dales, new conscripts Michael
and Ian are being put through basic army training.
-Are you suffering, Mr Golding?
-Are you suffering?
Come on, the enemy's firing at you! Let's get up there!
This is where you have to dig deep, find something else inside you.
I'm not as fit as I used to be.
I mean, running up hills is all right when you're 18, 19,
but at 39 it's not much fun any more.
Come on, John. We'll get through this.
With the men away at war,
a revolution is under way on the Home Front.
By 1943, the majority of married women
were working for the war effort.
For many, it was the first time they'd worked outside the home,
doing jobs that had always been the sole preserve of men.
I can't see!
Adele and Naomi are learning the skills their 1940s counterparts used
to build planes and bombs for the war effort.
Michael would die if he saw me. He doesn't trust me with a kettle.
Look what you've done! Brilliant!
I love it. I'm thinking of a career change.
This time of war gave women the opportunity to work.
In the '30s, it was not seen the right thing to be done,
for a married woman to work,
so I think this is the start of women being able to have the choice,
so I think the war has started to enable women to have even more of a voice
than they had in the inter-war years, especially when it comes to working.
I really enjoyed that. So good.
I just wonder, after a period of time,
though, whether this becomes your new life,
and are you so keen to give it up when everybody comes home?
During the six long years of war, the Ministry of Food encouraged
people to think more creatively when putting food on the table.
Joe Crowley's sent the Meadows one type of meat that Britain wasn't short of.
-Is it hairy?
I don't believe it.
We've got a cookbook and a couple of recipes.
It's squirrel pie, squirrel soup and roast squirrel, but I am sorry.
Even if you cook it, I can't eat it.
For those who couldn't stomach changing their eating habits,
and were prepared to put their conscience to one side,
the illegal black market made the pain of rationing easier to swallow.
Can I ask who you are, sorry, if you're walking into my kitchen?
I'm just door-to-door.
Oh, right, OK.
Anything I can interest you in?
Some coffee? Flour? Sugar? Chocolate?
Oh. I'm tempted by the coffee.
The coffee. Tell you what, I'll do the coffee at two shillings.
That's a bargain.
Where has all this come from?
I've got my sources. I can't tell you that.
-Don't have a conscience about it. You need coffee.
-I do have a conscience!
-You want oranges.
-There's a war on.
I'm going to say no on this occasion.
No? I'll tell you what. Last price, one shilling.
No. I'm going to stick to my principles and say no.
Coffee. I love coffee.
I don't know what people would have done,
but I felt really uncomfortable taking it
if I'm thinking it's coming off somebody else.
Then I'm going to be gutted if everybody else has bought it
and I haven't!
-Hi, there. How are you?
-Loads of goodies for you today.
-Oh, yeah? What have we got in there?
-Oh, we've not seen some of this for a while.
-I bet you ain't.
Chocolate. Don't let my kids see that.
What are you interested in?
Coffee for me and the wife, bit of chocolate,
just the treat stuff would be good.
We're not doing too bad for the others at the moment.
-What about eggs?
-Oh, we could do with some eggs.
What about a little deal?
What about five shillings plus two fresh squirrels?
Deal. Excellent, OK.
-See you next time.
This would have been the way that they survived. It's not excessive.
If he was turning up in a truck going,
"Right, here's your bully beef that should be at the front,
"feeding soldiers," I don't think anyone would take it.
I do feel as though I'm putting enough in
that a little treat like this works in the positive.
I would do it again, if I'm honest. I bet everyone did.
As ever, Juliet Gardiner is on hand to underline the rules of history.
Selling on the black market was punishable by prison
or a fine equivalent to five times the average weekly wage.
Phil, how could you?
Caught red-handed. I couldn't resist a little treat for my family.
Do you know who got eggs?
-Normally, your family would be getting something like an egg a fortnight.
Extra eggs are for expectant mothers, nursing mothers.
What do you think rationing's for, Phil? Rationing is to give fair shares to everyone.
I mean, nobody wanted to be rationed, of course they didn't,
but they recognised the fairness of it, the justice of it. This has been stolen.
I'd definitely go to prison! I've had some horrible things happen to me.
I don't want to go to prison now, please!
Consider yourself reprimanded.
I felt like I was back at school.
As the war drew to a close and the risk of bombing receded,
thousands of kids began heading home,
as mums started to rebuild their families.
Have you had a good time? Hello!
How have you been?
How perfect is this?
Jack, are you ready for some dinner?
Adele's declared an open house, and the whole street is invited.
This looks spectacular.
It's just like one big, happy family, all here together,
and in half an hour, they'll all be fighting and squabbling.
But it's lovely. Full house.
Today, Michael and Ian are expected to return
from their military service.
It's a bit of a sad statistic that Ian and I
have lived together for 18 years, and we've only not spoken
for one night in the whole of that time, in 18 years.
And now it's been two nights, so thanks to this experience,
we're breaking a new record.
Naomi and Adele want to doll themselves up for their men.
But with simple beauty products in short supply...
It looks like a little chemistry session.
..they're going to have to improvise.
I'm putting beetroot on my face.
That's all right, actually, isn't it?
And it's got a nicer taste than the normal lipstick.
To recreate the allure of a pair of stockings,
an anti-fungal treatment, potassium permanganate, was applied to bare legs.
Oh, my gosh.
I've got a dodgy fake tan!
I've got to do the whole leg now!
Oh, no. That's not attractive, is it? And it smells.
My hands are all brown, as well.
I think I'd have been happy just with white legs, really.
It must have been really weird when their husbands came back.
Michael's done four-month tours, and you kind of get very independent,
you get used to managing your own stuff, and then when he came home,
although I was glad to see him come home,
I was a little bit resentful as well,
because I thought, "I've got this ship running really well,
"and then you're coming in," and it's a lot of conflicts.
Eyeliner is used to create a stocking seam,
a look that few men could resist.
So, which look's more realistic?
The leg with the patchy brown stains?
Or the line?
The line looks really good.
I think, maybe, I might get a pair of trousers.
Wartime dads could have been away from home for years.
Unlike Michael and Ian, nearly 300,000 British men
never returned to see their families again.
-Give us a kiss.
One of those who didn't come home, as Susanna Reid has discovered,
was Michael Taylor's great-uncle, Thomas Henry Worthington.
He was in the First Battalion of the Manchester Regiment.
He was posted to Singapore, and we know that from his military records.
These are his enlistment papers, when he first joined the war.
On 8th February 1942, Japanese forces invaded Singapore.
The battle lasted just seven days, and on 15th February, the island fell.
It was described as the worst defeat
and largest capitulation in British history by Churchill himself.
So it was hugely significant.
80,000 Allied soldiers were taken as prisoners of war.
That's a lot.
And we know that your great-uncle, Thomas Henry Worthington,
was taken as a prisoner of war after that battle.
He was taken to Thailand,
and taken to work on the Thailand-Burma railway.
And it was one of the most notorious and brutal places to work,
so it didn't get much better.
What a rubbish time he had, you know what I mean?
Ends up like that, you think, crikey. Bless him.
We have here a photograph of some of the survivors.
-Look at the state of them.
Now, they look thrilled to be liberated.
But they've got no meat on their bones at all, have they?
Skin and bones, aren't they?
All so young, as well. Kids.
I don't know how they managed the treatment of them. It was awful.
-We have his prisoner of war record card here.
-Oh, right, crikey.
And from his prisoner of war record, we also know what happened to him,
because a red line was drawn through the card.
-Meaning someone died. You can see from...
-The red line.
Denied basic medical treatment by his captors, on 1st June, 1943,
Thomas Worthington died of cholera.
He was 32 years old, and left behind a widow, Gwendolen.
They must have been terrified,
absolutely terrified to go away, and they all still did it,
and they still got up, and still went across and still fought,
and got captured and still carried on as best they could.
We've experienced a taster,
but all along, you can't recreate that element of real danger
and real fear and real loss that these people are going through.
War brings out the best and the worst in human nature, doesn't it?
We've seen the best.
You know, if this was my street now,
I would be so proud of it that we've all pulled together,
but that's awful.
It truly is.
CHURCHILL: The German war is at an end.
Today is Victory in Europe Day.
On 8th May, 1945, Germany surrendered.
MUSIC: "Roll Out The Barrel" by the Andrews Sisters
# Roll out the barrel
# We'll have a barrel of fun... #
The war in Europe was over, and for the first time in six years,
British families had something to celebrate.
ANNOUNCER: Hip hip! CROWD: Hooray!
ANNOUNCER: Hip hip! CROWD: Hooray!
ANNOUNCER: Hip hip! CROWD: Hooray!
As their wartime experience draws to a close, the families
on Albert Road are throwing their own VE Day party for the locals.
I think the highlight has been us coming together as three families.
We're all different people from different walks of life,
but we all came together, and that was wonderful.
For me, this has been fantastic.
The best decade yet, and I kind of do it with a guilty edge,
because I'm aware there's a serious side to it,
but I've loved every minute.
Why, Adele? Why, in particular?
Because when we're together, we are truly together.
When the kids are at home we are all chipping in,
and this has just been wonderful.
The hardships of the Second World War,
that changed things for women, and for you, in a good way.
I can make decisions, I can do stuff,
and in the last two eras, I've just felt that I've been
locked in this cage, and this has been let's cook together,
eat together, you know, sleep together is wrong, but...
but share my cellar with you.
Wait till the '60s, come on!
How about you, then? What's been the decade you'd choose?
Oh, this one. We all mucked in, we all had tea together.
The little things. Like family.
# Bless 'em all
# Bless 'em all
# The long and the short and tall
# Bless all the sergeants and WO1's
# Bless all those corporals And their blinkin' sons
# Cos we're saying goodbye to them all... #
How about you, Suzie? What did you think about the '40s?
I've had a few big roles, so, you know, I was the ARP,
which meant that I was in a position of authority,
which I actually quite like,
so I've liked the job, I've liked the fact that women are taking
control a bit of stuff going on back home.
The respect that I have now for the generation
that lived through the war is as high as it could possibly be,
because I am not sure that we would cope.
Being the softies from the 21st century,
I actually don't think we would survive it.
They were amazing, on every single level.
With a new Britain emerging after the war,
middle-class families sought a fresh start,
and new suburbs and towns were being built to accommodate them.
Ian's grandparents moved to the suburbs,
and therefore, the Goldings will be following them,
marking the end of Ian and Naomi's time on Albert Road.
It's something you can't learn from a history book,
to actually live it, you feel the emotion behind it as well.
It's been, I think, one of the most amazing experiences of my life,
and I don't regret for a second doing it.
But the other thing that hasn't amazed me
is how amazing Naomi's been.
Oh, don't say that as well!
But it's true!
I think men, even today, think they've got it tough,
but the men have never had the hard job.
It's the woman that keeps the family together, and always has been.
And Naomi has shown, I think, through all three periods,
what an amazing woman she is.
Oh, stop it.
The war years have changed things for ever on Albert Road.
It's time to say goodbye to the Golding family.
You're going to be leaving us here at Albert Road,
and we're going to miss you.
Next time, the swinging '60s hit Albert Road.
-It's not bad. It's all right.
For the Meadows, life is sweet...
We've got a television!
I mean, I'm just so happy.
..until rebellious teens threaten to spoil the party.
You guys have really offended us. You do know that, don't you?
It's back to work for the Taylors.
I hate sitting around thinking about things.
I'd rather be busy and occupied.
And it's a rude awakening for the new arrivals on the street.
Can't sleep in this. It's not the way I've been brought up.
Subtitles by Red Bee Media Ltd
In this episode, the families face life on the home front with Great Britain at war; they pull together to survive and do their bit for the war effort, as well as enduring a night in a bomb shelter; and Susie Meadows finds herself responsible for everyone's safety.
The Taylor family are now without servants and, just as Adele finally gets to run her own home, the family is split apart once more as husband Michael is called up for national service and her children are evacuated.
With the families in disarray, there is much relief as VE Day arrives, and by the end of the era the close-knit community say goodbye to the Goldings.