Children on the Move
Children on the Move is a project working to document the county's experience of evacuation during World War II.
Over 70 years ago, the people of Staffordshire played their part in the biggest domestic mass movement of the population in the history of the United Kingdom. The early months of the Second World War saw 3,000,000 people evacuated from vulnerable towns and cities to parts of the country considered to be safer. Many of these were children and a number came to the towns and rural villages of Staffordshire, from Kent and from cities such as London, Manchester and Liverpool. Before Children on the Move we knew very little about how this momentous event affected people personally and how it impacted upon Staffordshire's communities.
Since summer 2010 we have been really busy collecting the memories of former Staffordshire evacuees and those that knew and lived with them in their billet homes. We have now visited a number of libraries across both Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent to spread the word of our hunt, and have visited over 50 people in the West Midlands to record their stories. In a first for us, we have also been recording the oral histories of those now living outside of the Midlands using Skype.
We now have a total of 92 in-depth oral history interviews from people living as far away as Manchester, Devon and Kent, which together form a major element in the Children on the Move archive. In addition to firts-hand testimonies, Dr. Maggie Andrews researched the wider aspects of evacuation which feed into the project archive. With the use of volunteers we have also collated research from newspapers and school log books to add to the record of evacuation in Staffordshire.
News and Events
On Thursday 29 March 2012 the Children on the Move project team, together with Patrick Corfield (Cabinet Member for Culture, Communities and Customers) and Janene Cox (Commissioner for Tourism and the Cultural County) to say a big thank you to over 50 of the project participants who travelled from as far as Bournemouth and Margate to attend on the day.
Image caption: County Councillor Patrick Corfield (right) presents Mr. Tony Atkinson with his copy of the Children on the Move book. Mr. Atkinson was evacuated from Westgate-on-Sea, Kent, to Colton.
The event was held at the National Memorial Arboretum. There were talks from Councillor Corfield and the Head of Archives and Heritage before Dr. Maggie Andrews spoke about her enlightening research. Copies of the project book were then handed out to those who had been interviewed for the project.
Image caption : Sydney Cox (left) was evacuated from Bethnal Green, London, to Swythamley, where George Cooke (right) grew up. Children on the Move reunited the two, who were friendly as boys during WWII.
Now that the interviews are complete, the project team has started to update the website www.childrenonthemove.org.uk with the memories and photographs that now form part of the project archive. Each of the project's interviewees will have their own page, and you will be able to listen to some of each one's interview as adio clips on each page. We are developing educational materials from the project archive to be used by schools, and once all 92 of the evacuation stories have been uploaded to the website, you will be able to upload yours.