A FORMER Northern Echo journalist has turned his grandmother’s diary documenting life in wartime London into a book.

Life of a Teenager in Wartime London is based on the diary kept by Glennis Leatherdale, known as Bunty, when she was a 17-year-old living in south London during the Second World War.

It has been written by her grandson Duncan Leatherdale, who covered Crook and Weardale for the Northern Echo before joining the BBC in Middlesbrough.

Mr Leatherdale, who lives in Bishop Auckland, said: “I was visiting Gran one day when she produced this small, green leather book from her bureau. It was the diary she kept from January to June in 1943.

“I offered to type it up for her so she could re-read what she had written some 70 years before. As I did that I became fascinated with her life at that time.

“What intrigued me most was how, in between the bombings and constant threat of invasion, her biggest concerns were those of a teenager in any age – exams, how she looked and the other sex.”

As well as featuring Mrs Leatherdale’s 1943 diary in its entirety, Life of a Teenager in Wartime London also looks at various topics which might have been of interest to teens at the time.

Mr Leatherdale said: “I just wondered what it would have been like, where would you have gone to enjoy yourself, how would you have got there and what you would have worn and eaten.

“I basically wanted to recreate the world Bunty’s diary was written in.”

The book also includes first-hand accounts of several other teenagers and young people which the 32-year-old found at the Imperial War Museum.

His research also took him to the British Library and National Archive.

He said: “Although the book is very London centric as that is where Bunty was living, I hope it will be of interest to anyone who lived through the war or who is more interested generally in what life on the Home Front was like.”

Mrs Leatherdale, who turned 93 this year and lives in Bradford-on-Avon near Bath,said: “I’m very pleased my diaries have been of interest to somebody. Although it was obviously a scary time it was also quite exciting.

“I could have been evacuated but I refused to go, I wanted to stay with my family in London and I’m glad I did. I wouldn’t have wanted to miss it.”

Mr Leatherdale will be giving a talk and selling copies of the book, which is being published by Pen and Sword, at a launch at Durham Town Hall from 6pm to 8pm on Thursday, October 5.

Tickets to the event are free but places need to be registered at eventbrite.co.uk/e/life-as-a-teenager-in-wartime-london-book-launch-tickets-37692344818

The book is also available on Amazon or the Pen and Sword website.