Forties Theme Open Day at Dunton Visitor Centre 2015

Saturday 5th July began overcast with rain showers, some of which were quite heavy.  Regardless, and with a few doubts along with plenty of cautious optimism, the Archive Team began assembling the gazebos and tables in the front garden of ‘The Haven’ for the photographic display.  This wasn’t easy as everything was dripping wet and getting blown about in the wind.  As our feet started to get soggy we noticed a few of the other volunteers had wisely come along wearing wellies.  We pressed on hoping that the event wouldn’t have to be abandoned and were rewarded when the weather eventually began to break and clear.

Visitors started to arrive even before the rain had stopped and were soon studying the photos and asking questions, before exploring ‘The Haven’ and the various attractions in the back garden.  The musical entertainment was very much enjoyed, in addition to the coconut shy and display of washing day equipment of years gone by, the type which some of us could remember our mothers had used.

Guest speakers, Deana Walker and Peter Jackson arrived to talk about their experience of life in the Dunton Plotlands and explained some of its history.  Straw bales had been provided as seating for the audience, many of whom were dressed in 40s style outfits.   The talks were following by a walk around the avenues led by Deanna and Peter.   Thankfully this took place in sunshine as the weather continued to improve.  Tea and cakes were available in the education room at the Visitor Centre and copies of Deanna and Peter’s books were on sale in the shop, with the authors on hand to sign them.

All too soon it was 4 O’clock and time to start packing away, but happily not before the day had been declared a success despite the very soggy start.

The Laindon Archive's photographic display.
Nina Humphrey
Musical entertainment provided by singing duo 'Sentimental Journey'.
Nina Humphrey
Singing duo - 'Sentimental Journey'
Andrea Ash
Entertainers as 'Bud Flanagan and Chesney Allen'.
Andrea Ash
Sir Winston Churchill himself.
Andrea Ash
Deanna Walker talking about life in the plotlands.
Nina Humphrey
Peter Jackson talking about life in the plotlands.
Nina Humphrey
Peter Jackson leading the walk and explaining exactly where his family's plot had once stood.
Nina Humphrey
Nina explaining about the poor compensation after compulsory purchases.
Visitors studying the Laindon Archive's photos.
Nina Humphrey

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