Audrey Hemming

Audrey Hemming nee Berrington was born in 1929 and lived in Acocks Green, Birmingham with her parents and younger sister. Acocks Green was extremely close to the centre of Birmingham, and so when Audrey heard about Pipewood Boarding Camp for Girls she was very keen to go. Her sister was too young to join her and stayed with her aunty in Cannock for the duration of the war.

After leaving on a bus from the centre of Birmingham, they arrived at Pipewood and were gathered in the hall to listen to one of the teachers speak about the camp. The cropped haircut of one of the adults speaking made Audrey think it was a boy, but it turned out to be one of their teachers!

She missed home for the first week or so, but in her interview Audrey explains that both her and her sister were, in her own words, not tied to her mother’s apron strings, and so were used to being away from home. She also saw her parents when they visited. She really appreciated the opportunity to be at Pipewood and the practical teaching that they received there. Click on the link below to hear her talking about this:

audrey hemming routine

Transcript of Audrey’s audio clip

Upon turning 14 in the Easter, she stopped for one more term before leaving in the then left in the summer, feeling ready to grow up and begin work. It was only after she left that she wished she could have stayed a bit longer and she believes the age of 14 would be a very young age for children to leave school today! Until very recently the ‘Pipewood Girls’ kept in touch with reunions, and she remains close friends with several of them.