Next Friday is probably not going to be quite the celebration of bunting, street parties and Union flags anyone had quite imagined when the usual Mayday bank holiday was shifted to Friday, May 5, to mark the 75th anniversary of VE Day.
But under the strictures of the covid-19 lockdown, the Museum of Croydon is laying on a real feast of films, photographs, art and artefacts from the borough’s archive collections to be viewed online.
After almost six years of war with Germany, Italy and the Axis powers, Victory in Europe was declared on May 8, 1945, and the borough archivist and staff from the Museum of Croydon have prepared an online programme via the museum’s website.
The online event, which will run from 11am to 1pm on Friday includes:
- Two films charting Croydon’s wartime life and VE Day itself.
- An exhibition including works from Croydon Art Collection by artists such as Norman Partridge’s “Croydon Courageous”, a war memorial from the Second World War and illustrations by John Harris Valda.
- A question and answer session on Twitter where residents can find out about what Croydon people did, ate and even wore on VE Day 1945.
- An online handling session of wartime artefacts.
- A recording of events in 1945 from the official history of the Second World War edited by the-then chief librarian WC Berwick Sayers, which included a VE Day thanksgiving event on the steps of Croydon Town Hall.
The Museum of Croydon has been a partner in the National Lottery Heritage Fund’s Home Front project, which has remastered historic footage of Croydon during the Second World War and recorded wartime childhood memories narrated by Croydon residents to create a nine-minute feature called Home Front Croydon.
This film includes scenes of recognisable Croydon backdrops such as Surrey Street market, trams in North End and the Town Hall.
The online event will end with the première of a new five-minute film focusing on VE Day itself. The Museum of Croydon worked alongside other London boroughs including Merton, Camden, Kingston, Hounslow and Ealing to provide memories of this day 75 years ago.
For more information, visit the Museum of Croydon website.
The Museum of Croydon online event is part of a nationwide series of commemoration and celebration events, including the Royal British Legion organising both a two-minute silence in the morning and singalong in the evening.
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