War Years

The First Bomb

The first bomb to hit Leicester was not too far from the Saffron Lane Estate; Cavendish Road in Aylestone. The main Air Raid Precautions (A.R.P) depot was also in Aylestone, at the gas works. Much closer to home was an A.R.P. post on the roof of Southfields Library. From this high vantage point there was no chance of anyone in Saffron lane missing the sound of the air raid siren.

Trenches were dug for air raid shelters in the playgrounds of most of the local schools – some by the students themselves. Boys from Linwood Lane School were bought in to dig some trenches at Marriott School.

Locals assessing the damage caused by the first bomb to hit Leicester during WWII. On the corner of Cavendish Road and Oliver Street in Aylestone

Locals assessing the damage caused by the first bomb to hit Leicester during WWII. On the corner of Cavendish Road and Oliver Street in Aylestone

Street party on Saffron Lane to celebrate VE Day in 1945

Street party on Saffron Lane to celebrate VE Day in 1945

There was a real sense of community and spirit in the Estate during the war year with entertainment being laid on at Tick-Tock Park. There would be a stage erected and injured British soldiers as well as Americans and Canadians would come along to enjoy the entertainment.

The camaraderie and celebrations continued with large bonfires across the estate to mark Victory Europe day in May 1945 and again to mark Victory Japan day in August 1945. It took a long time for all of the soldiers to return from overseas but eventually they returned and life slowly got back to normal.

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Then and Now