Rich memories of growing up poor in Sheffield

91 yr oldHarry Talbot talked to pupils at Southey Green Primary school.''Harrys wedding picture

91 yr oldHarry Talbot talked to pupils at Southey Green Primary school.''Harrys wedding picture

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Bread and dripping, penny sweets and outdoor toilets - pupils got a shock at how times have changed when a war veteran dropped by to share tales of Sheffield.

Harry Talbot, aged 91, has been working with Year 6 at Southey Green primary school to give the youngsters a first-hand account of what life was like during the Second World War.

The stories of his struggles were a real eye-opener for the children.

When his father was involved in the 1920s miners’ strikes, he had to go to the nearby school for a cup of cocoa and bread and dripping because they could not afford food. Soup kitchens would regularly feed him and his five siblings.

Harry, who now lives in Ecclesfield, said: “People don’t realise today what the word poverty means.”

When his wife died in August last year after 68 years of marriage, Police Community Support Officer Jennifer Liversidge helped Harry to deal with the loss of his wife.

She gave him a dictaphone and encouraged him to record his memoirs on CD.

He approached the school because part of his memoirs were of the school being built and he was one of the first pupils in 1931.

Headteacher Katie Stringfellow, said: “To meet somebody first hand who experienced what they’re learning about is an invaluable resource.”

Children learnt about some of the key events that Harry experienced, from the D-Day landings to personal tragedies like the death of his only son, Geoffrey, at 14-months-old.

Pupils recently studied World War Two and during the Jubilee learnt about all the decades of the Queen’s reign.

Harry was born in Attercliffe but moved to Northlands Road just a few feet away from the school, aged seven.