Investigate a Wartime Family Teachers

Second World War: Investigate a
Wartime Family session
pre and post visit resource
Learning Department
IWM London
This PowerPoint is designed to help students and teachers learn about the Allpress family, a
typical family living through the extraordinary experience of the London Blitz. The PowerPoint
identifies the six different Home Front themes in the exhibition. It can be used in conjunction
with the Investigate a Wartime Family Teachers’ Guidance Notes.pdf
Images and information in this PowerPoint can be used in this format to give a short briefing
before the visit to IWM London A Family in Wartime exhibition, the Second World War:
Investigate a Wartime Family session or can be used as a resource to make your own learning
The red slides contain contextual historical information for teachers.
The images in this resource can be freely used for non-commercial use in your classroom
subject to the terms of the IWM’s Non Commercial Licence:
In the Investigate a Wartime Family session students will work in groups to devise their own enquiry
question based on a Home Front theme. Each theme is linked to an artefact and members of the
Allpress family.
Preparation for the session should cover these points, in appropriate depth for the age and
ability of the students:
• Look at the Allpress family tree - discuss how many children there were, the relationships between
them (spot the twins) and whether any of the family are still alive
• Divide the class into 6 groups and give each group a different worksheet on a Home Front theme
e.g. rationing, evacuation. Each group should discuss what they think the artefact is, how it links to
their theme and how the family member/s might have used it
• Each group should write down possible enquiry questions for their theme. These should be openended questions. Please bring these to the museum on your visit.
The house at 69 Priory Grove,
Stockwell as it looks now
The model of the house
Key Facts
• Alice Allpress was a housewife and the mother
of 10 children
• She had to shop each day and this meant
queuing at the shops for hours
• Many food were rationed and each member of
the family had a ration book
Key Facts
William Allpress was a train
driver for Southern Railways
He was too old to fight in the
Second World War
Driving trains was a very
important wartime job and he
worked long hours
Make Do and
Nellie, Eva and
Betty Allpress
Key Facts
Eva, Nellie and Betty Allpress made their
own clothes during the Second World
War and liked to look smart
Everyone had a clothing ration book
Clothes were re-used and never thrown
Key Facts
John Allpress was evacuated to
Wokingham in September 1939
Parents were encouraged to send
their children out of London to keep
them safe
Each child could only take one small
suitcase or bag
Parents were encouraged to send their children out of the cities and into the
countryside to keep them safe. However, it was their choice. Some children
were even evacuated abroad to countries such as the USA and Canada. The
Government split the country into three zones, evacuation, neutral and
reception. It was called Operation Pied Piper and run by the Ministry of
Parents were given a list of items that their children should take. Most
children were evacuated with their schools and teachers.
John Allpress was evacuated with his school on 1 September 1939, by bus to
Wokingham 40 miles away. He did not enjoy being separated from his family
and was brought home after a few months. John stayed at home in Stockwell
during the Blitz.
The Blitz
The Allpress
Key Facts
London was bombed very heavily between
September 1940 and May 1941
The Allpress family spent many nights in their
Anderson shelter
Bombs fell very close to their house in
Stockwell, London
The Blitz, the bombing of Britain’s major towns and cities, began in September 1940
and ended in May 1941. Many children who had been brought home were reevacuated. People kept safe by sheltering in Morrison, Anderson and public
shelters. In London they also sheltered in the underground.
On 16 April 1941 houses opposite the Allpress’s received a direct hit. This made the
family decide to leave Stockwell and move further out to Wimbledon.
Firebombs could cause a lot of damage, as they were dropped in large numbers.
On 29 December 1940, known as the Second Great Fire of London, eight of Wren’s
London City churches were destroyed. St Paul’s Cathedral was saved when a
firebomb lodged in the dome fell out.
Women Helping the
War Effort
Nellie, Eva and
Betty Allpress
Key Facts
Nellie, Eva and Betty Allpress all had
jobs. Eva worked in a clothes shop,
Nellie worked in a bakery and Betty
worked in a factory making seats for
Lancaster bombers
They also did voluntary (unpaid) war
They worked very long hours
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