19th December 1944 - Wisbech
Thick fog all day. Spent the whole time in the Museum. Among other things, there is a manuscript account, apparently by an eye-witness, of the trial of the Earl of Essex, found among rubbish in a Wisbech lawyers’ office.
This evening got talking to a very pleasant girl called Flood, (Veronica) a
London school teacher evacuated here, and
took her to the cinema. She talked a
good deal about her life here. She is a Catholic, and told me of the incredible insults she had to put
up with on that account. Catholic
children from South London were treated
badly when they came here in 1939. A strong type of Calvinism is rampant here,
which makes life very
hard for strangers.
All this was said while we walked along the river bank after the cinema, and we did not get back to the “Lion” until 11.15, to find the whole place shut up and in darkness – the streets were also in almost complete darkness by this time, too. Had some trouble to get in, being at last admitted by a surly bad-tempered boot-boy. Among other things Veronica talked of was the degree of illiteracy in Wisbech. She says hundreds of children can neither read nor write. This wants a lot of believing, but may well be true.