This week [August 2015] it was seventy years since the Japanese finally surrendered to the Allies, marking the end of the Second World War that had begun nearly six years before in September 1939. The picture shows one scene in Ventnor on that memorable day, Wednesday 15th August 1945. Some of the residents of Pound Lane and nearby Market Street and Albert Street have organised a party in the roadway. They seem to have procured several long benches from the Albert Street School, found some flags and then assembled for a group photograph. The camera is facing east, so Market Street would be some yards beyond the flags, running down from left to right.
Mike and Sandra Wood, both stewards at Ventnor Heritage Museum, have managed to identify many of the families present. Mike, himself, is in the picture: the small dark-haired boy in the second row slightly off-centre, his face partly obscured by the hat belonging to the boy in front. The children are nearly all wearing red, white and blue crepe paper hats, except for one in the front row who sports a union jack design instead. You may ask why you cannot see a trestle table laden with sandwiches and cakes, the obligatory accompaniment to such street parties up and down the country. Mike recalls that it was set up in the archway that ran off on the left, presumably to offer shelter if it rained, or perhaps also to save blocking the road for too long.
The families represented in the picture are as follows: Arminger, Cooper, Corby, Cotton, Dennis, Farrant, Kettel, Mills, Mursell, Pressey and White. The man on the far right with the dark tousled hair holding the toddler in his arms is one of the White family. The two girls in the front in dark skirts, just left of centre, are Corbys. Vic Corby is in the back row just left of the right-hand flag, his face turned slightly sideways. Jean Corby is the lady with glasses eight from the left. Diana Farrant is the girl in the second row just left of centre, wearing a distinctive light-coloured top with buttons down the front. Most of the children in the photograph are of primary school age and so many may be alive today, perhaps still living in or around Ventnor. If you are one of them, please let us know by emailing us on firstname.lastname@example.org so we can add more names to faces.
Michael Freeman – Ventnor & District Local History Society. This article was first published in the South Wight Chronicle in August 2015.