V. E. Day Tea Party

Take a look below to see the children of St. Charles Borromeo’s imaginative and varied interpretations of this photograph!

Image of VE day street celebrations in Greenways, Hinchley Wood


This black and white photograph of a tea party was taken at Greenways, Hinchley Road on V.E. Day 1945. A group is shown seated around a long table in the street and a man in military uniform stands on the right. 

An image of Harry's speech

Harry, age 9

Harry has creatively written a Victory Celebration Speech for his commemoration of 75 years since the war ended. In his excellent speech, he has described how the family in the tea party photo may have been feeling and reflected on how this makes him feel, while also remembering those who bravely fought for us.

“Victory Celebration Speech

Seeing a family together again after six years is really just wonderful, and if that was me I would be so happy to go back and live our normal lives. I have noticed that in this picture there are only four men, as in the other picture there are no men because they had all died for our country.

I would like to thank the brave, courageous men and women who helped out in the war. They are the true reason how we won the war!”

Daniel, age 10

Daniel has interviewed his Grandparents to mark the 75th anniversary of VE Day. He has written down their very interesting answers to his questions, which reveal a lot about different people’s experiences of the same day. His Grandmother remembers a party similar to the one in the photograph of Greenways, and sheds light on the history behind the photo. It is a very useful piece of work! 


Me: How old were you?

Granny: 11

Grandad: 12

Me: Where were you?

Granny: London

Grandad: Burma

Me: How did you find out that Germany surrendered?

Granny: I can’t really remember but I already knew we were winning. I lived near Northolt Aerodrome and saw waves of bombers going over to Europe. Our progress was on the news every night. And we had been looking forward to a Peace Treaty being signed for a few weeks.

Grandad: I can’t remember exactly.

Me: How did you celebrate?

Granny: We had a big street part with our neighbours. We borrowed long tables from church halls or schools and everyone brought out chairs, knives and forks and food they’d kept for special occasions. The mums made cakes and jellies and sandwiches with things like fish paste which wasn’t rationed. We also had banana jam which was actually made with parsnips or turnips and banana flavouring. The children ate first and then the adults later.

Grandad: We didn’t really celebrate because I was on board a ship anchored in the river in Burma. We just had the same food as usual, lots of bananas and rice as there wasn’t much choice aboard the ship. We had to carry on working as the war with Japan was still going on. We did celebrate VJ Day months later.

Me: What entertainment was there?

Granny: We had an old piano out in the street, and we sang songs like Roll Out The Barrel and We’ll Meet Again which everyone knew. We also had a wind up gramophone and some people danced and I remember one man playing the spoons.”

An image of Alicia's drawing

Alicia, age 4

Alicia has drawn a beautiful picture of the VE Day tea party. She has used very bright, vivid colours to bring the scene to life and show what a happy, sunny day the 8th of May was. Little girls look very happy to be celebrating with balloons in their hands, and there are many different treats on the table in front of the house.

“Party, Peace, Victory”

Image of a VE Day street party

Lara, age 7

Lara has written a brilliant poem about the families in this photograph. She imagines how they might have felt on the day while also adding historical details about the sorts of food they would have eaten.

 “Family Tea Party on VE Day

The Family is happy and full of joy, their happiness the war is over,

Potato and Cheese pie, Scones, Toad in the Hole, Trifle and Victoria Sponges they had on their table,

They ate until their bellies were full,

Their houses were full of laughter after the war,

They danced around until it was night,

They were so tired they put a bonfire on and got out their marshmallows.

An image of Luca's drawing

Luca, age 6

Luca has drawn his own poster to commemorate V.E Day, which is a large Union Jack flag. He has used red, white and blue pencils to colour it in. Symbols like this were commonly used to promote unity and togetherness and would have been seen at VE Day street parties like the one in the picture.

An image of Luca and family's drawing

Luca, age 6, and family

Luca and his family have created a lovely poster to mark 75 years since VE Day this year. The whole piece is in the red, white and blue colours of the British flag, and they have drawn two Union Jacks and a detailed picture of the George Medal awarded to Tony Firminger in 1943. Luca and his family have come together to create this lovely image, just as families celebrated and decorated their houses together at VE Day parties like the one pictured.

“VE day
8 May 2020
75 years”

Jack, age 10

For his piece, Jack has written a poem which looks back on the upheaval caused by the war from 1939-45 both on the battlefield and at the home front. He encourages the remembrance of the sacrifice of brave soldiers when we have our VE Day parties, as well as celebrating the end of the war.

VE Day Poem

Valiant soldiers marched into war

Inconceivable of the war that awaits them

Civilisation lost, changing Europe forever

Tug, battle that we will never forget

Outbreak of war, Blitz of London

Regiments of war risking their lives for others

Youthful soldiers losing their childhood

Evacuees leaving their loved ones and possessions behind

Underneath bombed skies left families lost

Rounds of ammunition shooting uncontrollably

Officers commanding, led by Churchill

Peace keeping everyone form conflict

Europe wins WW2, celebrations begin, we will never forget.”

An image of Maya's drawing

Maya, age 8

In her piece, Maya has done a drawing of the scene in the tea party photo and added bright colours to recreate what it might have been like at the time.  There are many balloons to celebrate the end of the war, and the children sitting around the table look very happy.  Maya has imagined how they might have felt by adding speech bubbles saying ‘the war is finally over’ and ‘party!’ 

An image of Marcel's drawing

Marcel, age 8

Marcel has taken inspiration from all of the images in Elmbridge Museum’s VE Day Exhibition Challenge. He has made a fantastic montage of drawings, each one based on one of the objects or photos.  There is a drawing of the Unexploded Bomb sign in use; a drawing of the Union Jack on the handkerchief; a big ‘Victory’ sign with colourful bunting based on the ‘Victory’ party photo; a drawing of Jimmy Starret on his pony; and houses which have been bombed.

Image of street party on Grange Road, West Molesey

Eva, age 8

Eva has created a brilliant piece after interviewing her Grandpa about his role in the Second World War. She has created a valuable piece of information which would be useful in a museum and brings the war and VE Day celebrations to life. Eva has asked very important questions based on the photograph and her own knowledge of the war, and her Grandpa’s answers are fascinating snippets of local and family history! Eva has also creatively used images of artefacts throughout her final piece.

VE Day and my Grandpa

When I looked at the pictures it made me think what it would have been like to be there. My Grandpa was 11 years old on VE Day so I interviewed him to see what it was like being a child during the war and on VE Day.

Q. What did you do on VE Day?

A. I lived in Shepperton and went on the train up to London with my Mother and Aunt. I remember there being huge crowds everywhere and we went to Whitehall and saw Winston Churchill walking around and shaking peoples hands.

Later we went to Buckingham Palace where we chanted We Want The King” and then the King, Queen, Princess Elizabeth (who is now the Queen ), Princess Margaret and Winston Churchill all came out onto the balcony.

Q. Did you have a street party?

A. Not on VE Day but we had one a few days later which I remember being a lot of fun.

Q. What were you feeling on VE Day?

A. Even though we knew it was coming it still felt sudden and a surprise when it did happen. Everyone was very excited and the crowds up in London were all shouting and singing and dancing.

Q. How long did it take for life to get back to normal?

A. As the war had ended all of the men who had been away started to come back, my father did not come home until a few months after the war ended, he had been away for over three years. However for 15 years after the war all young men still had to National Service, this was where they joined the armed forces for two years and so when I was an adult I was in the air force like my father had been.

Then it took a long time for all of the buildings that were bombed to be cleared and rebuilt, especially in London. There are still bombs that the Germans dropped which have not exploded being found now 75 years later.

Also rationing continued for several years after the war and did not completely stop until the 1950s so we still did not get to eat all the nice things we have today and I still do not like to see food go to waste!

Q. Was the war scary with the bombs and things like that?

A. The Vickers factory was in Weybridge where they made weapons for the war and this was bombed a lot but they were not accurate so they would fall elsewhere. Some fell on Burhill Golf Club where I play golf and you can still see the craters and others hit houses but luckily nobody I knew. I remember the sound of Doodlebug bombs as they flew over and that was frightening. Air raid shelters were not very nice as they were damp and horrible and I also remember when we would go to London and there would be people sheltering in the Underground. After the bombs fell me and my friends would go out and look for bits of shrapnel.

Q. What was it like being a child during the war?

A. My father was away serving in the air force and so I lived with just my mother, we could write letters but we did not have a phone and there was no facetime or anything like that so we did not see or speak to my father for over three years.

I went to school at St Georges College and I remember life there being fairly normal, there were no air raid shelters so if there was an air raid we just carried on.

Food was rationed during and for a few years after the war so we did get to eat lots of nice things that we have today and there was no chocolate. When my father came back home he brought chocolate bars with him and I took some into school and was the most popular boy that day! “

Emily, age 11

Emily has used the photos of VE Day street parties to write a rhyming poem about the day. She describes the street party scene and the various activities that people were doing to celebrate. In the poem, the mood is cheerful and looks forward to the future.

“7th May

Yesterday we heard of news so great,

The war is over, it’s time to celebrate.

Singing, laughing, chatting with friends,

I wish this day would never end.

We’re all sitting at the tables on the street,

Happy the was is finally beat.

Singing songs so sweet,

This day is definitely complete.


The war was long, cruel and vicious,

Now we celebrate with cakes so delicious.

Bunting all around the colour of blue, white and red.

Now the war is over we look forward to the world ahead.”

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