The magic of VE Day celebrations which took place in North Staffordshire during 1945 will be recreated in a city centre street party to mark the 75th anniversary.
During the public holiday that was declared on May 8, 1945, people of all ages joined together to celebrate VE Day – short for Victory in Europe – at hundreds of street parties in North Staffordshire.
Despite the rationing which was still in place, families ate their fill and danced for joy to wind-up gramophones.
Pubs were granted licence to stay open until 11pm and town hall dances went on until midnight.
At one party in Hanley there were donkey rides for children, while at another, in John Street, Hanley, an effigy of Adolf Hitler was burned.
The most visible sign of victory was at Norton Colliery, where a huge V-shape lit up the pithead.
To commemorate the 75th anniversary of that momentous day, Stoke-on-Trent City Centre BID (Business Improvement District) will host a free family-friendly street party at Piccadilly on Friday, May 8.
It is hoped some of the joyous scenes of 75 years ago will be recreated, as 200 invited guests, including schoolchildren and their parents and grandparents, will sit down together at tables up and down the entire street to enjoy traditional street party food like finger sandwiches, scones and Victoria sponge, washed down by tea and squash.
There will be 1940s music performed live on stage, plus other entertainment including an assortment of authentic war vehicles from the era, historical re-enactors, themed traders and outdoor games as well as bunting and flags to help turn the clock back to 1945.
Normandy veteran Roy Vickerman who had been wounded in the Allied advance into Germany during the closing stages of the war, was recovering at Sandon Hall when the Nazi surrender was announced.
But he managed to escape into the city on leave to enjoy the occasion with his fiancée, Nora. Roy, aged 93, of Hartshill, said: “It was a wonderful night. You felt free.
“I managed to get two days out on leave at that time. I didn’t go to any of the street parties, but I took Nora out to a pub in Bucknall called the Traveller’s Rest where we had a drink of watery beer. Then we went back to the Red Lion.
“I think all the beer had been watered down because it didn’t taste as it should.
“The pubs were very busy and everyone was singing and dancing. It was all the war songs, like The White Cliffs Of Dover and Coming Home on a Wing and a Prayer. They were lovely songs.”
He added: “this is a wonderful way to celebrate VE Day.”
Stoke-on-Trent BID manager Richard Buxton said: “The 75th anniversary of VE Day is an incredibly important date and one that we’re excited to be celebrating by bringing communities together with our street party.
“We hope to welcome as many people as possible to Piccadilly, the more the merrier, to enjoy a fantastic day of 1940s-style entertainment.”
Although food will only be provided for invited guests, everyone is welcome to take in the music, sights and sounds of the celebration.
The event begins at 11am and draws to a close at 5pm.