Marsden's Home Front
Make Do and Mend
As the war progressed and shortages became acute, coupons became necessary for clothing and other goods. A government campaign encouraged the population of Britain, 'to make do and mend' and that, it seems, is what the civilian population did. Patches were sewn on the elbows of coats and cardigans, socks were darned and stockings were mended. People devised innovative ways of 'making do and mending'. It appears that the residents of wartime Marsden were no exception.
Women and girls were clever with 'make do and mend', and kept up their appearance with the help of sugar water for setting lotion and pipe cleaners for curlers, and made some concoction to tan their legs as nylons were in short supply. Joan
My mum had an aunt who was a children's nanny. She lived in New York so we were sent the occasional food or clothing parcel from America. I mean we always had new clothes at Whitsuntide and that were it. I mean we had hand-downs. I mean you thought nothing of going to school with patches on your clothes or elbows, with your jumpers darned and your socks heels darned. I mean everybody wa' in t'same boat. When Princess Margaret and Princess Elizabeth had these pinky velvet coats with brown velvet collars and brown velvet buttons. Mi auntie Louie worked for t'top people and she sent us both, me and our Nell, one of these pink coats, cut Princess Line.
We used to have to turn sheets. If you got a hole in the middle, you used to turn 'em 't sides, sides 't middle, sew 'em up middle, that way. You had to save them [coupons] 'till you had enough. You had a suit what you called for best, you wouldn't put that on during the week, my goodness no.
We never used to buy clothes because of the coupons as well as the money, mum sold the [clothing] coupons to a lady that had the money. I don't what mum used the extra money for but I think it was to see us to the pictures. They just about had enough money to see us to school. I can't ever remember going out and having clothes bought. I got a couple of jumpers and a couple of dresses it was the Red Cross [a clothes parcel].
It was difficult with costumes [for the shows]. We had a basic white outfit which we used to add little jackets to make it look different. The parents helped make them.