Thursday 13th February marks World Radio Day. So, we caught up with a few of the lovely people living here at Huntington and Langham to learn about some historical moments, broadcast through the airwaves. The importance of recalling memories, as well as making new ones, is something we value immensely at our beautiful care home in Surrey.
The radio has been a fundamental means of communication, with many of the octogenarians and nonagenarians living here at Huntington and Langham relying upon the wireless for important news broadcasts, especially in the 1940s when radio was the timeliest means of delivering key war updates. Alongside the more necessary requirements, the radio also provided entertainment, with storytelling and music being shared with ease to the masses for the first time.
From the declaration of war between England and Germany in 1939, to the interview with Marilyn Monroe in 1955, there have been many iconic radio moments throughout history. Many of which the lovely people of Huntington and Langham recall vividly.
The death of George V
The lovely Eileen, aged 90 years young, recalled the death of George V as we discussed the power of radio over the decades. Eileen shared with us the fond memories of her as a young girl, her father gathering the family around their old radio as they all listened intently to the news of the death of the King, “I remember my father gathering us all to the radio to listen to it, because the King was failing fast,” Eileen recounted as she looked off, fondly into the distance. The power of the memory drawing her back to times of old.
Churchill’s infamous speech
Winston Churchill, former Prime Minister, had an appearance of quite some note, as he outlined the seriousness of the ramifications of the fall of France in his Finest Hour broadcast.
Bronwyn, who lives with us at Huntington House, shared with us her memories of Churchill, and alongside the radio broadcasts of the time, Bronwyn tells us how people took to the streets to dance and sing for the VE day celebrations. Being a young 20 year old lady at the time of Germany’s surrender, Bronwyn’s memories of the time are so important, as is continuing to share these stories through generations.
The abdication of Edward VIII
Another memory recalled with ease, and a key moment for broadcast, was the abdication of King Edward VIII.
The abdication took place in December of 1936, and Bronwyn shared with us, “I do remember when he abdicated, yes. It was not a very happy time, people were down in the dumps, as you say; despondent.”
The power of radio and the importance of it as a means of communication, all too apparent.
Jack Jackson’s Radio Programme
The entertainment that radio provided brought joy and laughter to the homes of many prior to the introduction of the television. And still, many of those living here have the iconic Roberts Radio proudly placed within their rooms, listening to favourites such as BBC’s The Archers and Radio 4.
In 1946 – 1967, the programme of choice for many of us here was Jack Jackson’s feature on the BBC Light Programme. A mainstream light entertainment show, Jack played “all sorts of records”, our dear Bronwyn told us. The Record Roundup show being a favourite, which Jackson hosted, and later inspired household radio names such as Kenny Everett and Noel Edmonds.
One of the beauties of living in a care home is being able to share stories and memories of those from a similar era. Reminiscing about times gone by provides everyone with such a wonderful opportunity to share their story.
Understanding the past
Understanding the past also really helps younger generations. And capturing these memories whilst we can is crucial if we’re to learn anything from history. Actively seeking to provide everyone who lives here with the opportunity to discover new things is crucial also, such as our darling Barbara who ventured out on a Harley Davidson, and the lovely Leslie who relived her days as a model.
Today, many of those around the home still opt for the radio over the TV, be it for nostalgia or as a means of comfort. And for those living alone, it certainly does help to relieve feelings of loneliness and isolation, adding a familiar voice when there isn’t anyone around to share stories with.
At Huntington & Langham we encourage the people who live here to open up about their previous life experiences, and those that we are yet to make come true. Doing both can really help everyone learn and grow, and days such as #WorldRadioDay provides the perfect platform for us to do so.