Carla Remembers

Image accompanying MP3 audio clip: Carla talks about wartime Soho and her Italian family ( KB)

Carla talks about wartime Soho and her Italian family

Photo:Carla's mother

Carla's mother

Carla Ferris

Photo:Carla's mother's shelter pass for Leicester Square tube station

Carla's mother's shelter pass for Leicester Square tube station

Carla Ferris

Photo:Bombed flats where Carla's family lived

Bombed flats where Carla's family lived

Copyright Westminster City Archives

Photo:Bomb incident report

Bomb incident report

Copyright Westminster City Archives

Growing up in Soho

By Rebecca Mason-Bond

Carla Ferris lived in Soho for 28 years. Born to an Italian immigrant family, the bombed out landscape of the West End was her childhood playground. You can listen to her memories of growing up in the area, including the following incident, by playing the audio file on this page.

‘My mother had the ration book and me next to her (two years old). She was in Leicester Square and went up to the store man – the barrel boy – and said, “can I please have a banana, I’ve got my coupon”.  He answered, “not for sale”. My mother said, “why not? I’ve got my child, I’ve got my coupon”. He said, “not for sale” and covered them over. Now my mother knew they were all being sold blackmarket and the local women … were all paying more. My mother was furious, but she couldn’t do anything about it.

She was walking back home, at the back of Leicester Square, and she saw a policeman and told him, “look I want the banana, I don’t care what he says … I want the banana”. He said, “will you come with me back to him and are you prepared to go to Bow Street Court in Covent Garden? Look, he keeps doing this and we can’t do anything about it unless someone is willing to come to Bow Street”. So my mum plucked up the courage and she said yes.

When she got to Bow Street she said to the policeman, “what about the kiddie?”. He said “don’t worry, at the back of Bow Street there are the horse stables”. So someone was looking after me, with the horses, and my mum’s in court! And my mum told me that he was telling so many lies … [so she shouted] out across the court “you liar!”. And the judge said “please … you’ll have your time to speak”. And she did, and he got a fine.

This page was added by Rebecca Mason-Bond on 15/11/2010.

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