85-year-old author near Harborough pens book about what life was like for children in the 1940s

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Mike HuttonMike Hutton
Mike Hutton

An 85-year-old author near Harborough has written a book about what life was like for children in the 1940s.

Mike Hutton from Great Oxendon is a social historian and one of the oldest authors in the UK.

Despite being registered blind he has penned a novel cataloguing the real-life stories of the generation growing up in the 1940s.

Some of the tales include children being dragged from bombed homes or evacuated to the country where Mike says there were culture clashes between city and country kids. They also underwent strict discipline at school and food shortages due to rationing.

Mike said: “Bombsites provided a readymade adventure playground – there was no helicopter parenting back then. Kids had to make their own entertainment - there were not endless toys and gadgets, even clothes were in short supply. Pleasures were simple, a weekly pilgrimage to the local cinema for the Saturday matinee. Sales of comic books boomed; Enid Blyton churned out countless books which were generally loved by the young.

“The arrival of the Americans caused a flutter of excitement for children and for some of their elder sisters and mums too. US forces left behind babies born to unmarried mothers, the truth of people’s lineage buried for decades with heart rendering ramifications. Just when it appeared it was all over there was the new threat as the buzz bombs brought unbridled fear and devastation.

“There was a happy hiatus with the VE Day celebrations followed by the massive victory parade. This was short lived as the Age of Austerity continued to gnaw at the resolve, not helped by cold winters with ice lining the inside of windows. Fathers returned with their own emotional scars and were often unwanted strangers and some were confronted with babies fathered by other men. There was so much to be sorted out.

“The skinny army of the 1940s is old now, but their stories live on and have something to teach all of us today. Some are desperately sad, all warmly nostalgic whilst others are hilarious.”

The book is available to buy for £22.

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