10th January 1945

Up very late – 9 o’clock.  Felt quite guilty, but managed to get to office by quarter to 10.  Letter from Letchworth Museum, to say there will be a meeting of the South East Museums Federation at Aylesbury in March.  Think I might go, and perhaps stay a couple of nights at Shurlock Row.

Old Warby from Friday Bridge came in this morning.  He apparently has a large collection of Roman pottery from the Fens between Elm and March.  It seems that the stuff comes from rubbish pits, and the ruins of wattle and daub huts, particularly in the Needham Hall area.  Must confess that I have never heard of the places, and have so far failed to find any reference to the finds in the Cambridge Antiquarian Transactions.

Heavy snow at times all day, and quite 4” on the ground now.  Still no heat at the Museum.  Bitterly cold.  Throat a little queer today but may pass off.

This morning watched some men unload a lorry with scenery for the Upwell Players show in St. Peter’s Church Hall tonight.  (Had half a mind to go but even this weather is not an absolute assurance against a diver raid).  Very quiet all afternoon.  Nobody came in the Museum, and there was no sound of traffic on the snow-covered streets.  Only an occasional ‘plane, flying between snow showers.  Faint shouts of children snow-balling at the far end of the churchyard.

Walked round to old Edwards’ to tea.  He is a little better, and had come downstairs.

More snow this evening, big fat flakes swirling down in the lamplight.

Went to the cinema for a couple of hours – quite a good show.  Very interesting film of Selbourne, showing Gilbert White’s house and gardens, and the woods were he walked, the animals and birds he knew so well.  A few Wisbech hooligans ki-yiked the whole time.  A proportion of the public should be permanently excluded from all cinemas, theatres, etc. and they should be clearly marked with the letter “H” in bright yellow, standing for “Hooligan”.

Walked through the Market just before 10, snow hard and crisp.  Dark figures passing under the lamps in twos and threes, on their way home.  Lights in the bedroom windows in the Crescent and Ely Place, and the church a black mass picked out in white.  At No. 3 found that old Doble had come back from London.  Quite a pleasant old chap, but most talkative.  Had been down to Beckenham, and says that rockets are falling in South London every day, 10 or 12 most days.  He was in a bank there this morning when one fell sufficiently near to shake plaster from the ceilings.  He said: “It was most amusing to see all the girls dive under their desks like a lot of rabbits.”

Bed at 10.30, in all my clothes, with coats piled on top of the bed.  Cold simply frightful.  Lay reading till one, listening to the clocks on the church and the institute chiming and striking.


Anonymous said...


I was interested to read ER's comments about people in the cinema and their behaviour - I have to say I agree with him and that's why I haven't been to the cinemas for nearly 20 years!
Though reading on I was somewhat surprised - marking the banned with a yellow 'H' - Later in the year he will of course know more about the use of coloured shapes etc by the Nazis to identify those in the camps for the spurious reasons the regime followed.
To be fair to ER perhaps he had more in mind the red 'A' of Hawthorne's 'The Scarlet Letter'.

Mike Dennis

E J Rudsdale said...

Hi Mike,
Interesting to know that it was impossible to enjoy a film in peace in the cinema even in 1944! But yes, I agree with you, Eric's overreaction is a bit extreme. I hadn't thought of 'The Scarlet Letter' connection - that's a useful insight - thank you.
Best wishes, Catherine