TV documentary sparks Pat’s Stevenage VE Day memories

People celebrating VE Day in Albert Street, Stevenage in 1945. Photos belong to Patricia Smith,

People celebrating VE Day in Albert Street, Stevenage in 1945. Photos belong to Patricia Smith, - Credit: Archant

It was the middle of the night when the news broke in Stevenage, and 14-year-old Patricia Smith heard the noise rising up from Albert Street through her open window.

Celebrations for VE Day went on for two days in Albert Street, Stevenage in 1945. Photos belong to P

Celebrations for VE Day went on for two days in Albert Street, Stevenage in 1945. Photos belong to Patricia Smith. - Credit: Archant

The date was May 8, 1945, and, although she didn’t know it at the time, the Second World War had just come to an abrupt end.

For the next two days everyone in the street celebrated victory in Europe, falling in and out of pubs and dancing in the roads – with Patricia’s father entertaining the revellers with his accordion.

Someone on the street captured these jubilant scenes with a camera, and over the years the pictures found their way into Patricia’s collection, which she has now shared with the Comet.

Now 85, she said: “It was lovely, everyone came out and it was such fun, everyone was dancing and drinking.

Revellers danced and sang in the streets after the war came to an end. Photos belong to Patricia Smi

Revellers danced and sang in the streets after the war came to an end. Photos belong to Patricia Smith. - Credit: Archant


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“I was looking at the pictures and it just made me wonder how many of the people in these pictures are still alive, only the children I should think.”

Patricia’s memory was jogged after reading in the Comet about iconic 60s model Twiggy presenting a new BBC One documentary about the building of Stevenage’s new town after the Second World War to mark the 70th anniversary of VE Day.

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“I thought, if I don’t share the pictures now I will forget about them and the event will just pass by,” she said.

Patricia, who was born on Christmas Day in 1929 above what is now Kink’s hair salon, said: “During the blackouts we used to stand at the top of Letchmore Road and look down to London and see it all burning from the German bombs. We had to hide under the desks at school when the sirens went, which was quite often, and we just had to get on with it.”

People celebrating VE Day in Albert Street, Stevenage in 1945. Photos belong to Patricia Smith,

People celebrating VE Day in Albert Street, Stevenage in 1945. Photos belong to Patricia Smith, - Credit: Archant

One war time event she remembers well was when a German plane flew over the High Street, tracing the train tracks down to the de Havilland factory in Hatfield.

“It was a Monday afternoon and I was walking back from school with a friend,” she said.

“And the plane just came out of nowhere, flying low above the High Street. We looked up and it had swastikas painted on the wings.

“And it flew along and bombed de Havilland, everyone remembers that – we nearly died of fright.”

The BBC documentary is currently being filmed and will be shown on TV next month.

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