This morning, my Aunt Selina and I went to a Reminiscing Morning at Bedford’s Bunyan Meeting Rooms. This adjoins the John Bunyan Museum in Mill Street. It was our first visit and came about from the Bedford Tweet-Up when the lovely Gemma and Kristian were telling us all about what was happening while the Museum was bring renovated. We walked into the Bunyan Meeting Room and were greeted by a room full of smiling faces, simply delightful. The group co-ordinator was Carmela from Bedford Museum.
I can’t remember all the names I’m afraid but it was fascinating to sit there and listen to people being recorded whilst talking about their memories. They spoke of the times when bombs fell on Bedford and seeing the bomb doors open as they were dropped. Next to Bedford is Cardington, where the kite balloons were manufactured in the huge airship hangars and also, where the RAF was based. They spoke of playing in the ruins of the houses in Albert Street, where there was a direct hit. They spoke of the hardships and the fun, but most of all, they spoke of the community spirit, each helping, and looking out for, the other.
Aunt Selina spoke of the Morris shelter they had in the house and then they asked whether she remembered anything of World War I, and she did – she was born in 1912! Her Dad, Edward Turney, went off to war and came back, like so many, a changed man, who never mentioned the horrors he had witnessed. He had contracted TB in the trenches and Auntie was only 15 when her beloved father died. There is so much more to the story, but that’s for another time. What she spoke about is now taped and will be put into the living history section of the Bedford Museum. Fabulous project. The next meeting is on 1st December and we’ll be there again.