1940s brought back to life

At Spirit of the '40s, demonstrations will include a battle within the ramparts at Explosion Museum.
At Spirit of the '40s, demonstrations will include a battle within the ramparts at Explosion Museum.
Dr John Steadman, archivist of Portsmouth History Centre based at Portsmouth Central Library     Picture:  Malcolm Wells

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This spirit of the 1940s is alive and well more than 70 years later.

Whether it be the fashion, the music, the dances or pastimes, much of what was popular then is enjoying a resurgence today.

Thousands flock to festivals like Goodwood Revival and Victorious Vintage, which offer the chance to step back in time.

One such event is Gosport’s own Spirit of the ’40s weekend, which takes place at Explosion Museum of Naval Firepower tomorrow and Sunday.

It will include dancing, activities, displays, traders and an impressive array of weaponry that will bring back memories of a momentous time in history for those who experienced it and create some new memories in a fun family day out.

The museum’s historic buildings will be brought back to life by nearly 200 re-enactors with demonstrations including an ‘Operation Market Garden’ battle within the ramparts which will see Allied troops fight the Germans for control of Hell’s Highway.

Naval gunners will give a dramatic demonstration of firepower and visitors should head for the shelters when the sirens sound for an air raid.

There will also be a display of military vehicles, demonstrations of 1940s life, dance displays, a jazz band performing and a wartime-themed café.

In the Kids’ Zone, there will be hands-on history with a paintball range and drop-in family activities.

Children can also get up close to a Sexton self-propelled gun on loan from the Royal Armouries.

And they should be on their best behaviour for the arrival of prime minister Winston Churchill and his entourage of actors.

This is all in addition to seeing Explosion’s award-winning museum galleries.

Day tickets cost £12 for adults, £7 for concessions or £25 for family from explosion.org.uk, (023) 9250 5600, or in person from the museum at Priddy’s Hard.

There is also the option of a joint ticket that includes entry to one day of the event, plus unlimited entry for one year to all the attractions of Portsmouth Historic Dockyard and the Explosion Museum, and waterbus transport door-to-door.

These tickets cost £31 for adults, £24.75 for children, £29.25 for concessions or £87 for a family ticket from the dockyard visitor centre or

historicdockyard.co.uk.