Islington Museum is delighted to present the photographic exhibition, We’ll Meet Again: Islington on the Home Front in Photographs (1939-45).
Over the coming months, we will be sharing a series of captivating images of the people and places in Islington and Finsbury during the Second World War; shedding light on the hardships endured and perseverance demonstrated by those that lived through this historic time. Each week, We’ll Meet Again will explore a key theme from topics such as evacuations, shelters, bomb damage, the Home Front and Victory in Europe. This post we introduce this exhibition and provide context to to situation faced on the Home Front between 1939-1945.
The Second World War was a conflict fought on several fronts. Not only was victory secured by the forces fighting on the front line, but also by the daily sacrifice and determination of the people they left behind on the ‘Home Front’.
The experience between 1939 and 1945 was unique in British history. Twelve Million British families fought their own battle, including those in Islington and Finsbury, who went without all but the most basic necessities. Civilians, alongside men and women in the armed forces not posted abroad, all endured the hardships and sudden dangers in what also became know as the ‘people’s war’.
Aspects of the Home Front were common to all: rationing, the blackout and, more terrifyingly, enemy air raids and the threat of untimely death. It was to prove a long period of regulation and shortage, uncertainty, boredom, fear and anxiety, and also a time of dramatic change. Children were evacuated, men and women conscripted into the forces or directed into essential war work, homes disrupted and lives were put on hold for an indefinite duration. Those not called to the armed forces helped the country in many ways: Civil Defence, the Women’s Voluntary Service, working in munitions factories, digging for victory, raising money for the ‘war effort’, or simply making a contribution by remaining cheerful and ‘making do’.
With its title taken from one of the most famous songs of the war, and sung by Vera Lynn, We’ll Meet Again portrays Islington and Finsbury’s home-front experience during these six historic years. Like many parts of inner London, the area suffered badly from bombings during the Blitz from 1940-41, and as part of the V1 and V2 rocket attacks on the capital from the summer of 1944. However, in spite of increasing fatalities and an uncertain future and hardship, Islingtonians and Finsburyites on the Home Front kept ‘calm and carried on’.
Upon the 75th anniversary of the end of the Second World War in Europe, Islington Museum presents a photographic exhibition to commemorate all who bravely endured life on the Home Front in Islington, Finsbury and beyond.
We’ll Meet Again is dedicated to the memory of Islington historian and resident Mary Cosh (1919-2020).
Over the coming weeks, we will be sharing images from the exhibition We’ll Meet Again: Islington on the Home Front in Photographs 1939-45. Next week we’ll be looking at the evacuations that took place from Islington and Finsbury during the Second World War.