The time was right for dancing in the street while pubs called time on war

Tuesday, 5th May 2020, 11:53 am
Updated Tuesday, 5th May 2020, 11:53 am

People gave way to wild celebration

On Friday May 8 people across the country will raise a glass to Second World War heroes from the comfort of their own homes.

But what was it like on home soil as celebrations began in Blighty in 1945 as VE Day was announced.

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It was very different as people gave abandon to wartime convention, as they parked austerity and the release valve of a VE Day Europe-wide party allowed them revelries that beforehand were frowned on.

Surrender in Europe

On May 7 1945 the formal act of military surrender was signed by Germany, ending the war in Europe.The next day celebrations went well beyond Europe’s borders as they broke out all over the world to mark Victory in Europe or VE Day.

In Britain, Churchill marked the occasion by declaring May 8 a public holiday.People held parties, danced and sang in the streets.

But spontaneous celebrations across the country turned Blighty into one big party.For many though, the celebrations were bitter-sweet.

People mourned their lost friends and loved ones, while others were still engaged in combat, as the war in the Far East continued.

The VE Day celebrations continued well into the night.

Huge crowds gathered

The largest crowds in Britain were in the capital, but people all around the country took part in the parties, singing and dancing.

Many bonfires and fireworks were lit to mark the occasion.

An estimated 50,000 people were crowded around Piccadilly Circus by midnight.

The joy of the day broke down normal social conventions, and people spoke to and embraced those whom they had never met before.

Music was provided by gramophones, accordions and barrel organs.Revellers sang and danced to the popular tunes of the day.

Licensing hours were extended so that people could toast the end of the war with a drink (or two) while dance halls stayed open until midnight.