Yesterday’s Children

  • Yesterday’s Children –  Bunty:  #1605 (15 Oct 1988) – #1614 (17 Dec 1988)
  • Artist: Dudley Wynne

Plot

Two girls, Sally and Heidi, are on their way to a school camp when they get lost in some fog. They decide to camp out until the fog clears and soon fall asleep. When they wake up they find a sign for a village Little Swaydon, that isn’t on their maps. They find a very quaint village and everyone dressed up in old fashioned clothes . At first they assume some sort of pageant is going on, but then the villagers start getting aggressive and end up  locking them in stocks. They are helped by a young girl Mary who believes they are witches.

They in turn help her with her sick brother. They discover he has an earache and Heidi uses her hot-water bottle, to help ease the pain.  Soon the rest of the villagers come for help from the girls and their “magic” bag of tricks. The girls stay at Mary’s house and get jobs with the local squire. They use their bag of equipment to help out. They are quite shocked at some of the hardships of the time; particularly the way women and children are treated. They try to bring some modern thinking to the people. Including encouraging the Squire’s daughter, Jane, to go to art college. But unfortunately the Squire wants to marry off to an unpleasant man, Lord Boshley, to settle his debts.

Jane actually has her eye on someone else and on the day of her wedding plans to elope with an inventor, James. The squire catches her but the girls interrupt the wedding by setting off stink bombs. An even bigger interruption happens when the dam breaks. The girls help get a lot of people to safety but are swept away themselves. When they get to dry land they find themselves back in the present. They are eager to find out what happened to the village. They learn that it was flooded but most got out safely thanks to some witches, and Jane ended up marrying James, having a museum dedicated to them. Their friend Mary went to work for them and they all went to America. Even the squire managed to get their debts paid off.

Thoughts

The art is done by Dudley Wynne probably most famous for the strips ‘Valda’ and ‘Angel’ Mandy.  Although he has drawn modern stories, his style seems to particularly suit historical stories, he captures the dark and grimy look of the past.

Its actually a few issues in before the girls actually realise they are in the past. While at first they think the village is doing some pageant, when it becomes evident they aren’t playing about, they think the villagers have decided to opt out of the modern world. It is a slow realisation that they are actually back in the past.

Most of the story-lines involve the girls helping around the village. Because of their modern gadgets they are considered witches. This is nothing new for stories involving time travel to the past, new inventions  seem like magic.  Despite some hardships and the girls objecting to some standards particularly how women and children being treated, it balances these with some humorous situations, such as stealing the neighbours cockerel so he doesn’t disturb the Tench family.  The neighbours son lose their jobs as they aren’t woken up in the morning. They solve this by giving them an alarm clock and get them new jobs as well.

There is a good variety of characters in the village. The girls main friends though  are Mary Trench and Jane. They try to help Jane escape a marriage to Boshley which they consider a fate worse than any prison sentence. Luckily they manage to disrupt the wedding and the dam bursting puts off any chances of repercussions. The girls help get most people to safety, though they get caught up in the water themselves along with another villager. While they end up back in the present, he is not so lucky.

The story while dark at times, it has it light moments too. The girls spend their time in the past trying to help people, and particularly get better treatment for the women of the time. They are accepting of their circumstances. That’s not to say it is an immediate acceptance, they are frightened at the thought of never getting back to present but they don’t dwell on it.  Its nice to see them concentrate on their relationships with the people around them. While the girls get back to the present as suddenly as they left, the story is still  nicely wrapped up, all the important characters get their ending.

 

4 thoughts on “Yesterday’s Children

  1. Yes, Dudley Wynne (it’s spelt with an ‘e’ according to credits expert David Roach) was a very popular choice for Victorian settings. I wonder if some of these Victorian stories were written with him in mind. Other artists who were brilliant at historical settings included Bert Hill, Mario Capaldi, Douglas Perry, John Armstrong and Paddy Brennan.

  2. I have been reading girls comics for over 50 years I prefer the prewar girl’s literature like Morcove and Cliff House but I have read the odd Girls Crystal and School Friend Regard John Hamer

  3. I have read little of the pre-war period, a bit before my time! But what I have read was interesting, eventually I may do some posts on earlier comics too.

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