Peace at Wood Green

Bowes Park Weekly News, Saturday 16 November, 1918

“Peace” at Wood Green was celebrated with a good deal of noise and jollity.  

Commerce-road had its flags out very early, for whispers of the Sign-up had gone round about breakfast time, and they were only waiting for the official confirmation. The news did not reach the “masses” till the guns were fired at 11 o’clock, and some time elapsed before people allowed themselves to be convinced that Peace had really arrived.

The first service was held at St Michael’s, Wood Green. Rev. C.G.A Midwinter descended upon St Michael’s School as soon as the news was published and took all the children to church, where a most affecting service was held. The Vicar gave a short resume of the war in the form of a story, concluding with the “Terms of Peace.”

All the schools were given a holiday in the afternoon, and at once began a raid on the shops where flags were to be had – at a price.

Our reporter was cycling along White Hart-Lane to Wood Green when the guns banged out the joyful news. The first to “celebrate” was a ploughman, who lept over the hedge and insisted upon shaking hands with the writer,

Every lady seemed anxious to describe the exact spot on which she stood, and the exact duty she was engaged upon when the fact of Peace dawned upon her. It took about twenty minutes for the new phase to impress itself upon minds so long habituated to the slow and painful progress of the war.

All agree that Peace came very suddenly. Thought soon began to express itself in patriotic hat-bands and breast plates. The trams and ‘buses were crammed with people anxious to get to the City or to Buckingham Palace.

Equally packed were the homeward trams, ‘buses and trains for nearly all City business places closed when the bells began to ring and the people began to get excited. In the trams stern visages were relaxed and everybody exchanged confidences with somebody else. Some sang and stamped their feet, and even the worried conductresses smiled.

Home-coming folk, during the afternoon, told wondrous tales of free meals at City tea-shops and free rides in City taxis. They found, however, that their wives and children had gone to the Mansion House to jubilate, and set off to find them, to rejoice together.

Miserable weather set in and spoilt the evening, but very few people remained in-doors. Fireworks were let off from first floor windows on Jolly Butchers’ Hill, and flag-covered passengers, waiting at the Lordship-lane “stop” found the dye run out of their hat-bands on to their faces. Thousands set off for the cinemas and Wood Green Empire, and the trams brought hundreds more. Only a percentage were able to get inside the places of amusement.

Public houses which had been doing a roaring business, found themselves sold out, but people still pushed inside and contented themselves with singing and dancing. It was the first public celebration ever known at which there was not sufficient beer for all.

In spite of police injunctions against outside lights, the places of amusement were lit up brilliantly, and the dark shades were torn from the tram and ‘bus lamps and flung into the road. There were but few ‘buses, however, for the girls seemed to have taken the time off.

Many people had to walk long distances home, and as night drew on towards morning family groups were formed round the rationed firesides and the “situation” in all its bearings, was once more thoroughly discussed.

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