MARY REDMAYNE THE 1944 - 1949 HANDWRITTEN MANUSCRIPT DIARY OF MARY REDMAYNE A YOUNG BRITISH GIRL OF ASHTON ON RIBBLE SEES CHURCHILL
Preston, Lancashire England Great Britain UK 1944 Decorative Cloth Good Manuscript
On offer is a super handwritten manuscript diary written by Mary Redmayne who was a 'girl next door' average teenage girl during the Second World War in Preston, Lancashire, in the small town of Ashton on Ribble. She was a dedicated diarist, purchasing her new diary on Feb. 19, 1944, and filling it up to date from the beginning of January (obviously she took notes each day because every day is full from the beginning of the year with small daily details of life) and continuing to fill it to the maximum in neat, beautifully legible printing for the next five years. During that time she went from being a typical school girl writing the classes are "swotting" and we suspect skipping a lot of classes too, but being successful in her levels, to becoming a teacher for very young children, as well as a dancer, painter and Guide leader. She seems to have had lots of family in Ashton and surrounding area, and we believe hat her brother's name, Leonard Redmayne, is very common in the area going back centuries.It is wonderful to read an unromanticized account of daily life in Britain for a teenaged girl in the midst of war. There is mention of taking gas masks to school, a plane down near Cadley C, and her father being on Fire Watch regularly, but the majority of entries do not mention the war, and show that even in the midst of tragedy and terror, life goes on. Mary loved going to movies, and mentions many by name, along with her opinion of them, and often seemed to get in trouble with her teachers because she did not mince words. A typical teenager. Some of the places mentioned in this diary include: Haslam Park, Bletchley, Wigan, Bishops Startford, London, Radwinter, Manchester, Great Eccleston, Blackpool, Goosenargh, Inglewhite, Longridge and Grimsargh. Some of the people mentioned in the diary are Stotts, J Loftus, Miss Matthews, Mr Charles, Greehalghs, Mona, Spud and Jean, D Royles, Mrs. Preston, Dorothy Allen, Mrs Bolton and Parkinsons. In addition, as shown in the scans, there is a list at the back of the diary of her friends whom she mentioned in the diary regularly, using their initials. The best way to give you a sense of what this girl's life was like is to quote from the diary: Went back to school. B.B. was awfully pleased about Pre. Got bulls-eye. Had teeth outh. Dad made vow. Teeth started to bleed. Bled all night. Bit a cork. Went in taxi to dentists. He plugged tooth which was bleeding. Had a sleep. Borrowed books from Pat which I read all night. Fire in room. Bought stuff for patrol bag. Began to make it. Mother stuffed curtains. Began to knit socks out of RAF scarf. Had blancmange for tea. Stood on Harris steps to see King and Queen. Did not speak. Got new Sonata. Swotted Geog. New Dress. June Kalina talked about her engagement to a "Yank". Braitch in bad temper because late. Got to report. went to see "Madonna of the Seven Moons." VG. Knitted. Settled about second-hand books. Had lecture on "dangerous objects" Began to make a frock. Went to see "This is the Army." (Dec. 24) Sirens went 5:30-6:30. Fly bombs. Thud. Went to church and SS. Edyth wearing new blue coat. Went to Grays. Mum made row about Uncle Albert. Went to Joyces. Relations there. Went to our classifying houses. Announcement at 3pm that hostilities had ceased. Went errands. Went bike ride round Ribbleton, through town. Watched tennis. Watched victory procession of show people. Went on Humpty bikes. Played tennis on Stanley Park. Went to Ice Show. Watched celebrations near town hall. What is striking to me is how matter-of-fact she is talking about the bombs and lectures on "dangerous objects" which suggests mines and unexploded ordnance, and then carries on in the next sentence talking about new dresses, going to church and the mundane daily routines. It is clear that war was a part of life for her, and that she was accustomed to it, having grown up with it. Her brother Leonard was in France (and wrote home about a French girl near the end of the war), but came home a couple of times during the course of the war, so I am not sure what he was up to. She mentions the death of Roosevelt, and sees Mr Churchill on his visit to Preston in June. She takes piano lessons, and we believe that she is also teaching piano by the end of the diary. The diary is in good condition, though the first few pages of January are taped in, and the binding of the book has separated from the spine. However, the binding is attached firmly to the diary pages, and all the pages are accounted for and apart from the taped pages are firmly attached to each other. The binding strap is attached, and the clasp to hold the diary closed still works. Every page is full so this is a treasure trove of information about daily life in Lancashire in the 1940's.