Search

‘I remember the end of the war being announced over the tannoy’ recalls 80-year-old after visit to Stratford’s Theatre Royal

10:37 18 June 2014

Lilly Cashman returns to the theatre royal in Stratford on her 80th birthday

Lilly Cashman returns to the theatre royal in Stratford on her 80th birthday

Archant

On May 8, 1945, Lillian Cashman sat in “the gods” of Stratford’s Theatre Royal with tears streaming down her cheeks as a voice came across the tannoy to announce the end of the Second World War.

Lillian Cashman surrounded by her family at the Theatre RoyalLillian Cashman surrounded by her family at the Theatre Royal

On May 8, 1945, Lillian Cashman sat in “the gods” of Stratford’s Theatre Royal with tears streaming down her cheeks as a voice came across the tannoy to 
announce the end of the Second World War.

On Sunday, 69 years later, she sat in that very auditorium with her children, grandchildren and a great- grandchild by her side.

She was there to celebrate her 80th birthday, but as she watched Fings Ain’t What They Used To Be nostalgia set in.

“I was 11 when the war ended and I remember sitting in that theatre and hearing the news,” said Lillian, of Dorothy Gardens, Dagenham.

“A man came over the tannoy and said, ‘we’re interrupting the show because we have good news. The war has ended’. Everyone jumped up and starting crying and cheering. It was such relief, but I remember my mum crying because she had lost her son, my brother, in the war. He was 21 when he was killed by a tank.

“I remember people celebrating, it was amazing to know you could go out again without a bloody bomb dropping on your head.”

Lillian’s family planned the outing as a surprise knowing the poignant trip would make the perfect present.

The show is about Cockney low-life characters in the 1950s and features Jessie Wallace, who plays Kat Slater in EastEnders.

“The show was magnificent, I knew all the songs and the girl from EastEnders was even better than what she is on telly,” said Lillian.

“I can still remember the theatre from years ago, and it’s the same now, it hasn’t altered at all.

“Back then there wasn’t really a planned show, or there wasn’t that day anyway. It was just all different people coming onto the stage, some telling jokes, some singing.” Although the theatre was closed for mainstream productions between March and July 1945, it was occasionally opened for community shows.

Lillian’s trip not only triggered memories about her last theatre visit, but also struck a chord about wartime days growing up in Newham.

She remembers bombs dropping around the corner from her house on Forest Lane and recalls her windows being blown through and boards being put in their place.

Going to school in Stratford she was rushed into shelters when air-raid 
sirens sounded, singing Ten Green Bottles with her schoolmates on their way down.

“We got used to the bombs and sirens,” said Lillian, “It never stopped us going to school.

“It was the doodlebugs that were scariest though. I remember watching them in the sky and as soon as they stopped above you, that’s when you dived for cover.”

Although it was tinged with nostalgia for Lillian, the theatre trip is one she’ll never forget. She said it was the “perfect present from all of my family” and that she is keen not to leave it so long before going back for another show.

Latest Newham News Stories

12:00

Tucked away in a Victorian church, 200 metres from the runway of a busy international airport, first-time visitors to the Brick Lane Music Hall would be forgiven for thinking they’ve come to the wrong place.

09:00

Double Rio Paralympic medallist Andy Lapthorne will return to Lee Valley Hockey and Tennis Centre today in a bid to find the next generation of wheelchair tennis stars.

Yesterday, 09:00

A boxing wordsmith is bringing his tales of life inside and outside of the ring to the borough.

London
Fri, 15:15

Upton Park is set to host one more match day before it is knocked down to make way for new housing.

Newsletter Sign Up

Most read news

HOT JOBS

Show Job Lists

Competitions

If you’re obsessed with Apple or just love a good gadget, this is a prize that will blow you away! An incredible £3,333 to spend on Apple goodies! How would you like to be the proud new owner of the Apple Watch?

Read more

As we grow older it becomes more and more important to have means to travel about safely and quickly. Our friendship groups and families grow and the need to have a car that is not only safe but also fast and big enough for all our needs is ever more important. There are many cars on the market for such needs but none deals with them as efficiently or as neatly as a VW Golf Estate. These cars are build strong, long lasting and spacious for a reason. They cater to the needs of many and are some of the most popular cars currently on the market.

Read more

Digital Edition

cover

Enjoy the
Newham Recorder
e-edition today

Subscribe

Education and Training

cover

Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now