Joining Portslade WVS in the 1950s

Iris Harding's tale of a life of service

By Nicola Benge

Photo:Iris's husband in WRVS garb

Iris's husband in WRVS garb

Photo from the WRVS Heritage Plus Archive

Photo:Iris at Hove town hall

Iris at Hove town hall

Photo from the WRVS Heritage Plus Archive


I was brought up in Portsmouth, and moved to Portslade in 1954. We were married in a church in Portsmouth... it's been pulled down now, and there are shops where it was.

My husband was moved to the Shoreham ShellMex depot from Portsmouth. He worked there for years, mainly in the office. He was routing tankers for their deliveries and things like that.

Joining the WVS

When he first moved up, he lodged here with a Mr and Mrs Bailey, and when I moved up too, we lived with them at first. They were the only people I knew here, for a while. Mrs Bailey was a WVS member, and she got me a voluntary job in the WVS Head Office in Station Road. I did general office work. Nothing too exciting. It was all voluntary, as has been everything I have done with the WVS since.

Most of the people I worked with there were older than me, with older children, but they were all nice. That's the things about me, you see. Get on with anyone, whether they are a road sweeper or royalty.

I signed up for WVS membership myself in October 1954. Joining WVS was initially a way of getting out and meeting people, and finding out what was going on in the area. I eventually also helped at the Darby and Joan Club.  I had my first daughter in May 1955.

This page was added by Nicola Benge on 16/01/2008.

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