Stepping back in time in Lowestoft as hundreds of people enjoy 1940s festival weekend
PUBLISHED: 19:29 28 May 2017 | UPDATED: 19:29 28 May 2017
Hundreds of people took a step back in time and enjoyed a vintage festival as Lowestoft was transported to the 1940s.
Fun activities for all the family transformed Lowestoft town centre as the town’s history was celebrated over the weekend.
The event, hosted by Lowestoft Vision, attracted young and old as dozens of visitors flocked to catch a glimpse of a range of 1940s displays, re-enactments, games, entertainment and exhibitions – which were showcased from Station Square up to the Triangle Market.
With live bands, history talks, makeovers, vintage vehicles and dancing, there was something for everyone to enjoy – with retailers creating special window displays and staff dressed up for the occasion.
A number of café’s – such as Kerrys – were “very busy” serving vintage afternoon tea with a 1940s theme, and they hosted a successful performance from swing, jazz and vintage singer Jayne Darling.
The Jive Bunnies performed in Be-Bop Avenue, as they taught the crowds how to swing and jive. There was also music with DJ Flying Fortress and performances from Betty Bluebird and the popular King size papas band.
Aviation historian Bob Collis gave a talk and slideshow around Target Lowestoft 1939-1945 - the ordeal of Britain’s most easterly town in the Second World War. With Second World War characters walking throughout the town centre there were displays and re-enactments from Black Knight Historical, while a range of glistening vintage vehicles – including a Plymouth Cambridge, Austin Sherborne and Wolseley Tourer – attracted the crowds.
Visitors also got into the spirit of the occasion by dressing up in their best 1940s gear, while shop owners enjoyed a very busy weekend.
Claire and Daniel Bogan, at Oregano Health Foods, donned their best 40s outfits. Mrs Bogan said: “It has been really nice. So many people have been enthusiastic about it and what is great is the shops have joined in - its what the town needs.”
The window display at F W Knights & Co in London Road North said it all. The soft furnishings store had the message “Shut those curtains there’s a war on” displayed across the shop’s front windows. Owner Wendy Moore said: “We’re really pleased to be part of it all.”
WHAT THEY SAID
Danny Steel, chairman of Lowestoft Vision, said: “The 1940s weekend is another great project put on by Lowestoft Vision. The great weather encouraged a fantastic turnout as people came to see what Lowestoft has got to offer.”
Lowestoft historian Ian Robb was showcasing photos and displays of Lowestoft during the war in Waterstones book store, which also featured displays from Lowestoft Maritime Museum and other activities.
Mr Robb said: “I am really appreciative of Waterstones allowing me to display here. Its about promoting the town, promoting the heritage.”
On her first public duties as the new mayor of Lowestoft, Ian Graham, was a keen observer as he walked throughout the packed town centre at the weekend.
Mr Graham said: “Its all about getting the town to where we want. We want it to be thriving and these sort of events helps. To have most of the businesses take part and contributing is brilliant and it helps to boost footfall, which is great for the town and businesses.”
With Suffolk Record Office displaying 1940s archive material, outside Lowestoft Library, Public Service Manager at Lowestoft Record Office, Dr Helen Band, was delighted with how the weekend had gone.
“It has been brilliant,” Dr Band said. “We have been really busy and it is really nice to be outside meeting lots of people – young and old – as they reminisce and tell lots of stories of what life was like during the war.”