Catharine Hind was born in 1932 and grew up in Ealing, West London. She remembers Ealing as “the queen of the suburbs”, with tree-lined streets and shops selling beautiful fresh fish and vegetables. She lived in a large house with her parents, Edie their live-in maid and her nanny. Her mother, Mrs. Brough was a career woman, so Catharine spent a lot of time with her nanny, who used to take her around the area showing her the places that she grew up and where her ancestors had worked
At the outbreak of war, Catharine was evacuated to Princes Risborough to live with a banker and his family. However, they didn’t really want her and she was unhappy there. So, her father came to fetch her home. She was going to Haberdasher’s House Girls’ School, which was two bus rides away when their home was bombed. The family moved to her father’s factory and slept underneath the factory in the Underground.
Her father realised that this wasn’t the best place for his daughter, and so asked his brother-in-law Fred in Leek if he could send Catharine and her nanny. In the following clip Catharine explains her feelings about arriving in Leek:
Catharine fell in love with her new home Finney Lane and her only problem was getting used to the outside toilet, which the family shared:
It was easy for her to get on because she was living with family, who made her very welcome and she wrote home and sometimes phoned from the phone box beside Leek cattle market. She didn’t start school straight away in Leek because the family were unsure how long she was going to stop, but she helped around the farm and after a few weeks started at Westwood School wearing her Haberdasher’s uniform. For half-term holidays she often visited home, but had mixed feelings about being there.
One of her most vivid memories is of a bus trip with her two older cousins. They were sitting on the bus when some American soldiers got on and tried to arrange a date with them. Her older cousin told her to look straight ahead and not to smile in case everybody on the bus thought they were dating the soldiers.