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Tweets from a time gone by

Twitter is awash with modern-day musings about life and news from around the world – but one Walthamstow woman is standing out on the social media website for harkening back to days gone by.

Ivy, who has dementia and lives in supported housing in Waltham Forest, lived and worked in Walthamstow during the Second World War. As part of a multimedia project run by the Council for older and vulnerable adults, she has been given support using computers and tablet devices – and her latest foray into the digital world is seeing her connect with a new generation on Twitter.

The diary Ivy kept as a youngster to record daily events throughout the war is currently being digitally reprinted on the website. Since January, the @diaryivy Twitter feed has broadcast regular tweets summing up Ivy’s daily diary entries from 1944 – giving people today a glimpse into the life of an 18-year-old girl growing up in the East End while the war in Europe raged on. It also features YouTube clips of old movies that Ivy – an avid cinema-goer – watched back then.

Now 88 years old, Ivy said she often finds herself laughing when she reads back the things she wrote as a teenager, adding: “It’s lovely to read and see the old films – like a story book about yourself.”

Ivy’s diary was uncovered when a support worker from the Waltham Forest Dementia Outreach Team was helping her sort through some of her belongings. With permission from Ivy and her family, it was agreed her diary would make an interesting focus for the Council’s multimedia project, which helps teach people with learning disabilities, older people and people living with dementia about digital forms of communication.

As Ivy’s diary entries were very succinct, her support workers thought Twitter would be a fitting channel through which to tell her story.

Waltham Forest Council’s Cabinet Member for Adult Services, Cllr Angie Bean, said: “What really strikes you about Ivy’s diary is her matter-of-fact reporting of dramatic and devastating local events, such as air raids and bomb blasts. They’re often intertwined with comments about trips to the cinema or what she did at work that day – just going to show you how the horror of war really did just become part of everyday life.

“Ivy has told us she’s really enjoyed getting an opportunity to re-read things she said at the time, and is fascinated and amazed to find that so many people online have taken an interest in her story.

“This particular project is a wonderful example of how our multimedia education programme is introducing older residents to new forms of communication, while also highlighting the reality of life during WWII for new generations.”

When asked about her matter-of-fact tone, Ivy said: “We were all the same I suppose, we all had to stick together and get on with it. I hope there won’t be a Third World War, let’s just keep it to two shall we?”

Tweets from Ivy’s diary about air raids, damage caused around the borough and even her regular trips to the cinema have already seen the @diaryivy Twitter feed attract 305 followers.

To catch up with the story being told through her diary follow @diaryivy on Twitter or visit

For more information about services in Waltham Forest for adults and older people visit

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