The 1st Twinning Visit to Braunschweig from Bath, 1951 by Barbara Brain (Phillips)

By on Jul 23, 2014

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In August 1951 a group of young people took an adventure to Germany.  It was organized by the Youth Officer for Bath, Mr Angus.  My friend Pat Davis worked in the Youth Office as a secretary and it was through that I heard about the exchange.  I was a member of Central Girls Club in Bath. Our leader was Kay Clark.  There was a group of boys and girls from various youth clubs in the Bath area.  We met on Bath Spa railway station not knowing each other, Kay Clark was our group leader.  I was the youngest at 15 years.  We travelled by train to Harwich and across by boat to the Hook of Holland.

We then caught a train which was very busy with British Military as part of Western Germany was still in the hands of the British Army.  The train had compartments with wooden slatted seats.  It was very difficult to sleep on such hard seats I cannot remember how long it took, I do remember stopping in Cologne (Koln) for refreshments.  Having a good view of the city we saw that the only building standing was the Roman Catholic cathedral.  By 1951 the Germans had already started rebuilding.

When we arrived at Braunschweig we were allocated the young people that we were staying with.  We caught the tram to the area of the house.  My host name was called Kathe.  By this time I was very tired.  The next morning we all met in town by the lion.  We then went on a tour of the city and went inside the Dom.  For lunch, we were taken to an army officers club.

We were taken out every day to places of interest, Volkswagon factory, Bussing factory, Wolffenbüttel, where I saw for the first time a stork nesting on the church tower.  We had a lovely tour of the Harz Mountains, Goslar, Hamlyn and to the Russian border area.  There were soldiers in the watch towers and we were told, if we walked into the area called no mans land, we would be shot at!  There were many social events and we had a  reception in the Rathouse.  We were welcomed by the Burgermeister. There was a lot of dancing and singing during the evenings we all spent together.  (The main song at the time was – ‘I love to go a wandering along the mountain track’, which I think was a German song?  The time passed very quickly, by then I was in love with Braunschweig and Germany.  After a sad goodbye we travelled the same way back home as going.

I have visited many times and very much enjoyed the 25th anniversary visit.  Cllr. Mary Rawlings was the Mayor of Bath at the time and they held a wonderful reception party in honour of the Bath-Braunschweig Twinning 1951 – 1976.

The Lion Monument near the cathedral.

The Lion Monument near the cathedral.