30 July 2021
Housing scheme manager wins colleague award for publishing book of residents’ memories
A housing scheme Estate Manager in Amersham has won a colleague award for creating a book filled with residents’ personal stories and memories of World War II.
Josie Northover, Estate Manager at Anchor Hanover’s Tudor, Windsor and Stuart Courts on King George V Road in Amersham came up with the idea for the book as a way to maintain residents’ mental health and general wellbeing through lockdown restrictions during the winter months. While living through the challenges of the coronavirus pandemic, the book has united residents in shared memories of WWII experiences.
Josie spoke to residents individually to see if they would like to share their memories of the time. Twenty-three residents, all of whom were children during the war and lived through its immediate after-effects, shared their life stories and experiences during WWII.
Once residents started their trip down memory lane, they quickly got to work writing down their memories and reminiscing while looking through old photographs. Josie was on hand to type up all the individual stories and, working with a publishing company, she compiled them along with corresponding imagery to create a book.
It was wonderful to see residents engaging with their past and sharing personal stories. It’s been lovely to hear all their different experiences and I’m very proud of the book we’ve created together. I hope the book gives future generations a peak into what life was like during that time.
Once the book was published, each resident received their own copy to keep and enjoy. Spare copies of the book were sold to families and the public raising over £100 for the Alzheimer’s Society. Copies of the book were also donated to local schools and Amersham’s library to encourage intergenerational relationships and to facilitate conversation.
The process of creating the book has uncovered some amazing WWII experiences.
Paul McCreath, 84, was a young child when the war broke out and his father was called back into service. Paul still vividly remembers the day when the postman brought a telegram with news that his father’s ship, the Laconia, was torpedoed.
Shortly after, Paul moved to his grandparents’ house in Shepherd’s Bush with his mother and brother. To this day, he remembers the loud bangs and fires of the air raids and climbing into a steel Morrison shelter when the air raid sirens sounded.
I recall one particular night when we looked out of our front door, the sky was bright red, that was the night when Shepherd’s Bush Empire was bombed.
Paul started his primary education at St Benedict’s in Ealing where every day before lessons he would scour the playground for shrapnel from the previous night’s air raid. He went to a boarding school in Ipswich after the war ended and enrolled at Regent Street Polytechnic in London to become a quantity surveyor.
For more information on Anchor Hanover’s Tudor, Windsor and Stuart Courts call: 0800 731 2020.