Wartime evacuees reunited 70 years on

Some of the evacuees are pictured at Michelham Priory in days gone by
Some of the evacuees are pictured at Michelham Priory in days gone by

PEOPLE who were evacuated to Michelham Priory during the Second World War took a trip down Memory Lane this week when they were invited back to the historic landmark for a visit.

The Priory housed a number of evacuees during the Second World War and they, together with local residents, shared their memories at the get-together on Monday.

Some of the evacuees at Michelham Priory

Some of the evacuees at Michelham Priory

The Wright family lived at the Priory at Upper Dicker in 1939. They took in 13 children from Rotherhithe where they were provided a happy and safe home. them.

Among them were Cyril Ashley and John Young, who met up with each other for the first time in 70 years.

They were joined by historian Les Smith and local resident Jean Page.

Michelham Priory now has a World War Two gallery and an evacuee’s bedroom, which features pictures of the evacuees taken by the Wright family.

Improvements to the museum made over the closed winter period now allows visitors to experience what life may have been like for the evacuees, by playing with their toys and taking part in hands-on tasks in the new activity kitchen.

Michelham Priory was initially home to evacuated children from London during the Second World War, then to British and Canadian troops and finally the Home Guard.

In 1959 the priory was bought by Stella Hotblack, in order to preserve the house for posterity, and in 1960 she made a gift of it to the Sussex Archaeological Society which since that time has looked after the site and opened it to the public.

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