May bank holiday move to mark VE Day

VEDay celebrations in Brixton with the Mayor, Alderman W. Lockyer, and other officials addressing the crowd from the steps of Lambeth Town Hall - 8th May 1945
VE Day celebrations in Brixton with the Mayor, Alderman W. Lockyer, and other officials addressing the crowd from the steps of Lambeth Town Hall – 8th May 1945

Today (8 May) is the 75th anniversary of VE-Day (Victory in Europe), marking the end of the Second World War in Europe. Although physical commemorations are cancelled Lambeth Archives are showcasing historical images and you can download an English Heritage guide to celebrating in your own home.

This year, the government has moved the May Bank Holiday to VE Day on the 8th to remember the sacrifice so many made in the fight against fascism.

Lambeth council has announced that “It had been hoping to join its communities in running commemorative events but, given the restrictions due to Covid-19, sadly these have had to be cancelled.”

West Indian servicemen, including Allan Wilmot, at an RAF training camp in Finley Yorkshire taken in 1944
Credit: Lambeth Archives. West Indian servicemen, including Allan Wilmot, at an RAF training camp in Finley Yorkshire taken in 1944

Over the Bank Holiday weekend, Lambeth Archives will be showcasing a series of historical images from its collections on Twitter. The photographs capture the lives of ordinary people in Lambeth in the lead-up to the celebrations of May 1945, and also commemorate the contribution of the servicemen and women from the West Indies, many of whom then went on to live in Lambeth after the war.

Cover for English Heritage pamphlet to celebrate VE Day at home
Celebrate VE Day at home

English Heritage has created a guide for people wanting to celebrate VE Day in their own homes which features recipes, a Spotify playlist ‘40s favourites and the words to The Lambeth Walk, a classic showtune which takes its name from our local streets.

To download the brochure visit www.english-heritage.org.uk

Cllr Sonia Winifred, cabinet member for equalities & culture, said: “The 75th anniversary of VE Day marks a huge milestone for our country and for the borough of Lambeth.

“The Windrush Generation is one element of that legacy, with former servicemen and women from the Caribbean who fought alongside British troops among the first to settle here. They would go on to contribute hugely to our borough’s vibrancy and enduring success.

“Today we face a new fight, the coronavirus pandemic is affecting all our lives, in a multitude of ways, including how we mark this important VE-Day anniversary. Although the current situation is not as we would wish it to be, we remain resolute and I’m sure we will all take our time to commemorate VE-Day in our way.”

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