In October we took in a series of cookery scrapbooks beautifully compiled by Ann Sargent from the 1950s to 1980s. They are cram-full of cuttings containing recipes and cookery advice from magazines and newspapers. Some of the recipes are snipped out from the boxes of food stuffs or advertisements. They give the manufacturers’ recommendations of how to use products such as flour, margarine and cheese.
One of my favourite creations is the ingenious Hickory Dickory Dock cake topped with mice made out of halved pears with whiskers made of angelica and currant eyes. Ann had wide ranging culinary interests as her cuttings cover topics such as preparing game and fish and cooking French, Greek and Indian food. Her scrapbooks are an invaluable record of the types of food and meals eaten by families in the mid-twentieth century.
We have also received an addition to our Liddle archives. Father and son Harry and John Downs served in the First and Second World Wars respectively. Harry Downs was in the Connaught Rangers nicknamed ‘The Devil’s Own’. As one of the 5th (Service) Battalion he served in Salonika, Egypt and the Western Front. Harry’s collection includes a photograph of the Connaught Rangers, his cap and buttons and brass souvenirs.
Harry’s son, John Downs had a fascinating career in the army during World War Two and beyond. Serving with the 86th Anti-Tank Regiment, Royal Artillery he saw action in Normandy. In October 1944 he took part in the liberation of the Dutch town ‘s-Hertogenbosch in ‘Operation Pheasant’. After the war John continued his career in the forces working for the Intelligence Corp in Bad Driberg from 1946-47.
‘s-Hertogenbosch in the Netherlands was an important strategic point for the allies. By 1944 the town had been occupied by the Nazis for 4 years. Its successful liberation was led by the 53rd Welsh Division with the support of 86th Anti-Tank Regiment. In later life John attended thanksgiving reunions hosted by the citizens of ‘s-Hertogenbosch and his collection contains related archives.
During the war John may have been billeted in Gompel, Belgium with Denise Mayeur’s family, as his archives include letters and postcards from Denise who signs herself ‘votre amie belge’. Writing in 1944-45 she frequently asks for more letters from John, suggesting Denise may have been keener on the correspondence than he was! John’s collection also contains military documents, maps, badges and further letters.