Interview with Pam Preedy
Interviewed by In Life Magazine
At the age of 74, local historian Pam Preedy has published her first book, Living through the Great War at Home: How the People of Bromley Faced the Challenges of War. Pam has always been interested in history, but the trigger to enter into print was a course she took with the Oxford Continuing Education department on local history.
Pam said: “I had come to believe that as far as history went, Bromley was one of the most boring towns in Britain, as little of any historical significance happened here. I was wrong. The people of Bromley, as the ‘little people’ everywhere react to the great events of the time.
When the Tudors were dabbling in religion and making great changes, people in Bromley were making their own decisions about what to do: stand up for their own religion and suffer the consequences, or ‘go with the flow’.”
Pam first became interested in Bromley and the Great War through reading historical copies of her local newspaper, the Bromley & District Times. Whilst intending to use this resource as a means to research the men who gave their lives in the 1914-18 war, and who appeared on the Bromley War Memorial, Pam began noting down all the names that appeared in the local newspaper. “I started looking through the paper and found references to lots of men volunteering to join up an fight. Instead of looking for the dead heroes, I created Excel spreadsheets of all the military men mentioned in the paper” explained Pam.
Her lists included references to weddings, deaths, awards of gallantry, letters from the front line and more. Her research has taken Pam from the beginnings of war in 1914 right the way through to the end of World War 2, and is available to other researchers for free on her website www.militaryancestors.co.uk.
Naturally during this research Pam ended up reading the papers whilst finding these references, and in the process became engrossed in the wonderful stories and information published throughout the era.
Always eager to share this fountain of information, Pam has shared a number of these interesting stories and features on her website Bromley Historical Times website; from advertisements, home advice tips and recipes using rations, to important local news, letters sent in from soldiers on the front line, and personal notices of marriages, deaths and references of those missing in action.
These stories and features soon became the basis of Pam’s book, which tells the story of how the people of Bromley (and no doubt countless other towns around the UK) were dealing with the challenges of war at home and across the channel.
Living through the Great War at Home: How the People of Bromley Faced the Challenges of War is available in both hardback and via kindle on Amazon.
Originally interviewed for Life in Bromley magazine (Issue 1, March 2022)