Monday, 26 May 2014

Back to the '40s - Dover Castle WW2 Event

The following post was meant to be uploaded last night but with intermittent internet access I gave up trying to attach all the pictures before bedtime. I don't want to rewrite the whole thing so when I talk about 'today' I mean yesterday (Sunday).

We had a wonderful time at the WW2 event at the castle today. As English Heritage members we only paid a £1 each entry. There was plenty to keep us both entertained - military stuff for DH and homefront stuff for me. Plus a wonderful singing duo performing 1940s tunes. Oh, and bread pudding and strong tea in enamel mugs for £1 each. Naughty Helen had to have the bread pudding, of course. I never make it at home as no one but me likes it. The programme was printed as a ration book with a wartime bread pud recipe in that I'll reproduce here.

I have a not-so mild obsession with the WW2 homefront and own a large collection of original magazines, knitting patterns and cookery books, plus a veritable library of books and dvds about the period. So, I was in my element with the reproduction shop and post office, village hall being used as a maternity clinic, WI jam making and canning centre, laundry demonstration and Ministry of Food demonstration wagon. I snapped loads of photos and it would take ages to explain them all so I'm just going to upload as many as I can, including a few of the medieval interior of the castle keep, and a couple of views of Dover harbour and town taken from the castle walls, to let you have a good look. If, like me, you love looking at all the little details then you can click on each picture and it will load as a larger view.

So, here we go, and I hope I don't bore you all.

The castle exterior
 The exterior of the Keep

The chapel inside the Keep

The Throne Room



View of Dover from the castle walls

 View of Dover Harbour from the castle walls

 The 1940s Event


Mobile Canteen - Tea in an enamel mug and chunks of bread pudding

DH discussing the workings of German weaponry

The following pictures are of the shop exterior and interior, the living area, the village hall used as a maternity clinic and by the WI for jam making etc, a laundry display, a display of make do and mend and couponed clothing,  a mobile kitchen etc.

I was also going to post some video footage of the sensational Swingtime Sweethearts but since my internet access is playing up so badly I'll leave that for another time.
And now for the wartime Bread Pudding recipe, made under rationing restrictions and using up all those bits of stale bread as it was against the law to waste any food.

Bread Pudding (Almost as Good as Chocolate!)

5-6 Bread slices (stale is fine)
2 tablespoons fat or margarine
2 tablespoons sugar
3 tablespoons dried fruit
1 large carrot
1 teaspoon mixed spice or cinnamon
1 flat teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
4 teaspoons milk

Soak the stale bread in a little cold water and then squeeze the water out until as dry as possible. Beat out any lumps with a fork. Grate the carrot. Add the fat or margarine, sugar, dried fruit, grated carrot and the mixed spice or cinnamon. Stir the bicarb into the milk to dissolve and then blend well into the other ingredients. Spread evenly into a well greased tart tin or pie dish and cook in a moderate oven for 30-40 minutes.

I believe a moderate oven is about Gas 4-5, and of course as we're not on rations right now you could always add a bit more fruit and fatand sugar if you like your bread pud richer. The 'almost as good as chocolate' was actually a part of the recipe...who were they trying to kid? The piece I had at the castle was yummy though.

So, that was my eventful day, how did you spend your Sunday?


  1. Agree: chocolate has no imitators and certainly nothing with bread! Sounds like you had a fab day out and it was a really well organised event.

    1. I agree...chocolate is chocolate is chocolate. There's no substitute. This event has been hosted at the castle for a few years now over this bank holiday weekend, so they've got it very well organised, weather permitting. I'm glad we went yesterday as its been dull and drizzly today.

  2. Lovely pictures, and a nice recipe to keep.
    Unfortunately, I spent my Sunday mainly sitting in front of the computer as a slipped disc prevented me from doing much else. I`m slowly on the mend and hope to be able to go for some longish walks again, soon.

    1. Sorry to hear about your back, Sarina; I hope it improves soon. I haven't had anything as serious as a slipped disc, but I do have a slight muscle weakness at the base of my back that gives me trouble from time to time. I also have weak muscles around my ribs and those kind of 'pop' every now and then and that takes a few weeks of taking it easy for them to heal up. It's really frustrating not to be able to do everything you usually do, isn't it?

  3. I ADORE castles and geeky days out such as yours! I confess to not liking bread n butter pudding in anyway shape or form!

    1. We have a lot of castles around here. There's Dover castle and 2 castles within a couple of miles of each other in Deal (Deal Castle and Walmer Castle) and there was originally a third (Sandown Castle) that got eroded away by the sea. There's also a ruined castle at Rochester but it really is just a shell. I love both bread pudding and bread and butter pudding but most of my family don't care for anything with dried fruit in so I never made it, but I do remember the yummy ones my mum used to make.

  4. Bread pudding is Malcs favorite. Your day looked great, I love visiting places that have "real" things to see, set out as things would have been. How spoilt we are nowadays when you see the way we use to do things!