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During the Blitz, Elsie took her daughters Hilda and Shelagh to Blackpool until the bombs stopped. Hilda helped out at the shop until she left school at fourteen, whereupon she took a job in Elliston's Raincoat Factory's canteen. In 1957, Hilda and Shelagh, who also now worked in the kitchens, left home to work at a girls' boarding school in Surrey.