Meet Preston student Hattie Bee who lives and breathes the forties
Hattie Bee is not your average student.
And her house in Preston is not your average student’s house.
Her life is steeped in the forties - she lives and breathes the era.
“Every aspect of my life is about the 1940s,” says 21-year-old Hattie, a screenwriting student at The University of Central Lancashire (UCLan).
“I just absolutely love it.
“I dress up every single day. I pin curl my hair three times a week and I walk around with a head scarf on.
“I make a few of my own clothes but my friend is a seamstress and she makes loads of my clothes.
“Funnily enough I feel more confident dressed like that than if I was in modern day clothes.”
Describing her house and her lifestyle Hattie continues: “In my house I’ve got a picture of King George on the wall and a picture of the Queen.
“I’m also a singer and I go round the local care homes and sing songs from the 1940s.
“Singing in the care homes for the residents, that’s my favourite thing to do.
“Some of them are veterans. I’ve met a few Dam Busters and ex-land girls. It’s about keeping the memories alive.
“I sing Vera Lynn and Gracie Fields songs.
“I’ve done lots of re-enacting and I also dress up as the young Queen. She was in the Auxiliary Territorial Service (ATS) and I just go round saluting people.”
Hattie, who has just won a competition to take over Cahoots, a stylised 1940s bar in London, says that the only items she has from today’s world is a TV, a cooker and Internet access.
“I had tried living on rations but McDonald's was round the corner, it was too tempting,” she adds.
Hattie’s love of all things 1940s started during a festival to a nostalgia festival a decade ago.
“The story is that my Grandma’s friend, it must have been nearly 10 years ago now, her friend said to her, ‘have you been to the Lytham 1940s weekend’?
“Me and my sister were going to visit and she told us so we put together our best 1940s outfits.”
That was when Hattie was about 12 or 13-years-old and the rest is history.
Hattie says she and her sister Amelia look back at it now and laugh.
She says: “My Grandma says she always feels under dressed when I’m with her now.
“There’s no point in half doing it. My family have learned to embrace it.”
Hattie is so immersed in the 1940s lifestyle that she is the lucky winner of a competition to host the launch party for the opening of a new 1940s station-themed venue in Soho, The Ticket Hall and Control Room.
Aspiring owners were asked to submit their reasoning for wanting to run the night, as well as completing a cockney rhyming slang quiz, which was then scrutinised by a secret panel of judges.
Among the 1,500 applications sent in from across the country, ranging from quirky poems to lengthy love letters, Hattie’s heart-warming story stood out.
Hattie’s first order of duty will be to sample tantalising Tanqueray No. TEN tipples, to help choose the venue’s signature cocktail, which she will then enjoy on the house forever, as well as a personal masterclass with one of the world’s leading cocktail connoisseurs, Jack Sotti.
She will also be privy to behind-the-scenes food tastings, live entertainment auditions and receive a personally designed 1940s outfit to wear at the launch party she will throw for 50 friends, completely on the house.
To cap it off, she will reap the rewards from her hard work, and take home the entire opening week’s profits in cash.
Her legacy as owner will live on forever, as a permanent plaque, engraved with her name, will be erected in her honour at the end her week in charge.
Hattie says: “I never dreamt that I would actually win, although I did think they would struggle to find someone more obsessed with the forties than me.
“I’m going down to London this weekend and what they’ve said is that I get to sample gin cocktails.
“I take part in planning a launch party and I get to invite 50 of my friends and family. Apparently I’m also going to have my own plaque somewhere. You get to take home the first week’s profits as well.
“It will help with my student loan I think.”
Hattie has a bit of a knack of entering and winning competitions. This is by no means her first.
She says: “When I was 16 I entered a competition on a whim.
“It was to go to New York. I entered it and completely forgot about it and then got a phone call saying ‘you have won the competition, you’re going to New York for three nights’.
“I went with my dad and we saw Broadway shows. It was fantastic. I’d like to go back and do some more sightseeing.
“I’ve gone on to compete in Miss Vintage UK as well and I’ve come second before.
“It was a really, really fun weekend. I had just turned 18 at the time.
“It was incredible.”