Kissing it Better

Great Granny Remembers: How people survived separation, isolation and quarantine 80 years ago

April 2020

At KiB, we are all about conversations between young and old. Now we’d like you to talk to your older relatives and family friends about how people survived the homesickness and isolation caused by wartime separation and diseases like scarlet fever and tuberculosis. Help us to gather their wisdom and experience, to help us all through this current crisis.

Evacuation: During WW2, millions of children were sent away from home to live with strangers in the British the countryside. The plan was to protect children from the dangers of Nazi bombs. Nobody talked much about psychological dangers back then. So, what was it like to be sent away from home as a young child or teenager?

Quarantine: Before the widespread introduction of antibiotics in 1945, diseases like diphtheria and scarlet fever were a real danger to children’s lives. Infected children were bundled off to a fever hospital for up to six weeks. Visitors were banned from the building. The best that families could hope for was a snatched conversation through the glass of the ward window. If you caught TB, you might be sent away to a sanatorium for over a year. How did young people get through this kind of experience?

Land Army: Many older women remember being sent away as teenagers to work in the Land Army. They could be directed to anywhere in the country, to work on farms. Living conditions were basic, and the ‘land girls’ were often lonely. How did they cope?

The best of these pieces will be included in our ‘Great Granny Remembers’ publication. Your contributions can be named, or anonymous.  Send them to [email protected]. And enjoy the conversations!