RATION books and air-raid sirens, Land Girls and swing music revived the sights and sounds of the Second World War.
Visitors to Chesterfield’s cultural quarter stepped into a time warp as the Winding Wheel, museum and Pomegranate Theatre joined forces for a 1940s weekend.
Military uniforms and civilian outfits were the dress code for members of the living history group UK Front who manned exhibitions and stalls.
Vintage clothing and homeware did a roaring trade at a themed market and displays of wartime memorabilia attracted interest from all ages.
James Barnett, 10, a pupil at Barrow Hill Primary School, said: “I enjoyed looking at the gas masks and guns.”
His mum Lesley, said: “This has been great for James because he is doing work on World War Two at school. My father-in-law, Trevor Barnett, who lives in Staveley, was a paratrooper in the war and talks to us a lot about it.”
The family splashed out at the market in the Winding Wheel, where daughter Becky, 22, snapped up a 40s dress for £20. Lesley, of Romford Way, Barrow Hill, said: “The quality is good which is why it has lasted so long, much better than some of the clothes today.”
At the museum, Marion Thurgood, of High Street, New Whittington, and her friend, Irene Palmer, took a trip down memory lane as they looked at vintage vehicles, cookery paraphernalia and a desk containing writing slate and pen nibs from Mrs Cotton’s class at the Brushes School, Sheepbridge.
Now 83 years old, the pals were working during the Forties. ““I was working in Sheffield making aircraft shells,” she Irene. “And I was working in an office at E. Woodhead and Sons grocers on High Street, Chesterfield,” said Marion.
Irene, who lives at Greenhill, near Meadowhead, said: “During the Blitz, Sheffield was hit far worse than Chesterfield. I remember us all having to go into a shed in the garden to shelter. You got used to the different noises outside so you knew when it was safe to go out. I remember my mum making a Christmas cake which she had to leave in the oven and she kept nipping back to check on it.”
She also recalled how her family’s two-bedroomed home had to accommodate an influx of relatives whose property was damaged by bombing.
Her friend Marion added: “There was community spirit during the war - everyone helped each other out.”
The weekend of nostalgia helped to swell visitors to the town.
Cllr Nick Stringer, executive member for Leisure, Culture and Tourism said: “We had a fantastic response to our Forties Weekend with over 2,600 people attending the events at the Winding Wheel, Museum and Pomegranate Theatre over the two days. People enjoyed all the events on offer so we will definitely look at staging it again next year.”