Traditionally held on a Monday, this year the May Day bank holiday has been moved back to Friday 8th May, but for a very special reason. This year marks 75 years since the end of the Second World War, and in 1945 the 8th May was celebrated as ‘Victory in Europe Day’. On this day, fighting against Nazi Germany came to an end in Europe, and the war for European countries, including Great Britain, was over.
In 1945, VE Day was celebrated widely across the country, with red, white and blue bunting covering houses, street parties on every road offering special ‘victory’ menus, and plenty of dancing and singing in the street to mark the occasion. This year, to commemorate this significant anniversary and celebrate our British war heroes, we are all being encouraged to host our own celebrations from the comfort of our own homes.
Whilst public commemorations may have been cancelled, there are still plenty of ways you and your families can get involved. If you enjoy arts and crafts, why not have a go at making your own red, white and blue bunting and Union Jack flags, then decorating the outside of your house with them? This is sure to brighten up your street, and may encourage your neighbours to take part too. The traditionally British afternoon tea is another perfect way to celebrate, with finger sandwiches and scones, and you could also try making your own wartime recipes with rationed ingredients. Of course, no party is complete without a glass of bubbly, so why not raise a glass and make a toast to victory from your doorstep to end the day!
At Inland, a number of our current sites are rich with history, with some dating right back to 1945 and VE Day itself. Newly-launched Venue, in Maidenhead, Berkshire, was originally an art-deco nightclub named ‘The Showboat’. Unveiled in 1933, by day the popular club had a swimming pool and outdoor area for families and children to enjoy, whilst by night a range of variety acts from across the country performed in the ballroom for guests. During the war in 1942, the club had to be shut down and contribute to the war effort, turning into a factory that built the wings of Spitfire planes.
Just down the road in Uxbridge, our upcoming development Randalls also has a strong historical background. Founded in 1888 by Philip and William Randall, Randalls was a popular department store selling household goods, furniture, lighting and ironware. During the 1920s, renowned architect William Lionel Eves gave the store’s interiors a ‘modern’ renovation, styling it in the popular Art Deco style of the time. During the war, the store stayed open and provided Uxbridge residents with all the household goods they needed to get by.
Another one of our sites that has a historical past is Meridian Waterside in Southampton. Whilst not open in 1945, the development is on the site of the former Meridian Television Centre which opened in 1969. The site housed two large production studios for Meridian, and was the base for Southern’s news programmes too. Plenty of well-known programmes were recorded there in its time a television centre, including Worzel Gummidge, Art Attack and Fraggle Rock. To keep a part of its history alive, the apartment blocks in phases 3 and 4 at Meridian Waterside have been named after the studios at the television centre, including Television House and Grenada House.
From everyone at Inland, we wish you a fantastic VE Day and hope you enjoy the celebrations.