Sheffield retro: 9 heartbreaking photos from the year no church bells rang on Christmas Day

"At this point, it felt like nothing could stop Hitler"

It's hard to imagine waking up on Christmas Day having no idea what your future will be, writes Neil Anderson.

But that was the case for thousands of homeless Sheffielders on December 25th, 1940.

With their houses destroyed in the blitz just days earlier, they were either staying in temporary rest shelters like High Storrs Rest Centre/School or lodging with relatives.

There was no ringing of church bells on Christmas Day – they were banned, only to be rung as a signal that enemy forces were landing. The threat of a German invasion was still very, very real.

Christmas 1940 was also the first one 'on the ration' for the citizens of Sheffield.

That meant per week you got 4oz bacon and/or ham; 6oz butter and/or margarine; 2 oz tea, 8 oz sugar, and 2 oz cooking fats; meat, which was rationed by value, had been reduced from 2s 2d to 1s 10d from December 16.

Fir Vale resident Dorothy Glover remembers: "At this point, it felt like nothing could stop Hitler. Many people were amazed we got to Christmas in 1940 with Britain surviving as a nation at all. The weather was grey, and so was the mood. It was an awful time, but I remember my parents doing all they could to lighten the mood."

Many were told to stop using tap water for fear of disease breaking out through contamination.

Despite all this, Sheffielders did everything they could to celebrate.

High Storrs Rest Centre/School provided festivities for scores of children who survived the Blitz.

The Blitz might have disrupted preparations for Sheffield's two Christmas pantomimes, Cinderella and Mother Goose, but it didn't stop them, despite some of the actors being bombed out of their lodgings, and some rehearsals having to take place in Manchester.

Football also soldiered on. A total of 6,757 spent Christmas morning at Hillsborough watching a goalless draw between Wednesday and United.

Taken from the newly republished 'Sheffield's Date With Hitler':

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