Directed by Andy Naylor and Issy HuckleBased on true accounts.
A revealing, funny, moving portrait of four women who sign up to join the Women’s Land Army during World War II.
9, 10, 16, 17, 23, 24, 30, 31 March, 7.30pm. Tickets £16 (£12 for under 21s)
The first editions of The Land Girl magazine included an illustration which occupied a significant proportion of the front page. These illustrations were larger than later editions, where the illustrations were to incorporate The Land Girl title. For February, we have two title pages from 1941 and in 1947. Unfortunately, I’m not aware who illustrated the 1941 edition, but regular contributor Audrey Wakeford (40839) drew the 1947 image. The 1941 silhouette is particularly striking in highlighting the Land Girl’s body, drawing on tropes from the period to indicate femininity, such as the wasp-waist. Wakeford’s 1947 illustration shows a Land Girl using a scythe, possibly on a flax plant (which was later manufactured into linen) or weeds. Whereas the 1941 illustration is somewhat posed, Wakeford’s drawing focuses on the physicality required of Land Girls in farming.
I am honoured and delighted to announce that I have received the first Royal Historical Society Undergraduate Public History Prize for my work on the Women’s Land Army and Women’s Timber Corps. The prize, supported by the Institute for Historical Research and the Historical Association, recognises work by undergraduate students that responds in creative and innovative ways to the interpretation and exploration of the past in the present.
Following the encouragement of my supervisor, Dr Lucy Delap, I submitted an entry under the title of ‘Democratic and Critical Commemoration of the Women’s Land Army in Twentieth-Century Britain’. This 3,000 word essay charted the history of the website, www.womenslandarmy.co.uk from its birth as an Extended Project Qualification at Dereham Sixth Form College, to now being the national online hub for information on the WLA in the First and Second World war, alongside the Women’s Timber Corps.
I have strived to place public outreach, whether online, on air, or in person, at the heart of my work as an undergraduate at Lucy Cavendish College, Cambridge, and now as an MPhil student at Churchill College. I have aimed for the website to offer critical, accessible, and engaging histories to a range of audiences both online and offline. Collaboration has been fundamental to capturing the diversity of women’s experiences and to provide an inclusive space for the democratic commemoration of the WLA and WTC. I have wanted to move away from romanticising women’s agriculture work and offer more critical perspectives on women’s wartime experiences, which becomes ever more pertinent as Land Girls and Lumber Jill veterans pass away.
In this vein, I would like to extend a few thank you’s to:
- The judges on the panel for recognising my work; it is an honour to be the first recipient of a prize. I look forward to encouraging other undergraduates to apply for the prize into the future.
- Lucy Delap, for telling me about the prize, encouraging my application, and for her continued inspiration as a supervisor. Many congratulations also go to Lucy for winning the Public Debate and Policy Public History Prize with Adrian Bingham, and Louise Jackson, for their work historicizing “historical child sex abuse”.
- Stuart Antrobus, similarly for supporting my application, but also for his sustained guidance and contributions – some of which website visitors will see in the pages of this site, but much of which goes on behind the scenes. I also greatly value the friendship between Stuart and his partner Ros, which has naturally evolved from our work together.
- Land Girl and Lumber Jill veterans and their families. It has been a privilege to record you and your family’s varied wartime experiences and to share them with audiences across the world. I look forward to continuing to commemorate your valuable work.
- My mother, Helen, father, Paul, and sister, Skye who have accompanied me on my journey from the very beginning. They have never tired of hearing yet one more interesting experience about Land Girls or Lumber Jills. They have wholeheartedly supported my personal and professional endeavours, and for that I am forever grateful.
- Website visitors, whether directly, via Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, or other avenues. This website would not be here without your continued interest and engagement in women’s wartime work in the fields and forests of Britain.
In being the first winner of the award, I hope it highlights the valuable part which undergraduates can play in offering critical, accessible, and engaging histories to a range of audiences both online and in person.
When sisters Joyce, Beryl and Vera Linnet arrive at Nott’s Farm in Kent to join the Women’s Land Army, they hope to find some respite from the danger and chaos of wartime London. But when their fellow Land Girl Mabel goes missing, leaving behind only a series of coded clues, it’s clear that all is not as it seems in the sleepy village of Witherington. Led by Joyce, with her insatiable appetite for mystery novels, the sisters vow to dig for the truth. But can they solve the code in time? And as they investigate the inhabitants of Nott’s Farm, what secrets of their own will be brought to light?
This brand new play will be brought to life by the 31 members of The Watermill’s Senior Youth Theatre, all aged between 11 – 16 years. The Sackler Trust are Principal Supporter of the Senior Youth Theatre.
Wednesday 7 – Saturday 10 March 2018
Find out more and book tickets
(Click here on the image below to see flyer.)
This photograph album, kindly shared by Catherine Procter, charts the journey of Land Girls in Retford, Nottinghamshire. Alongside photographs of women out on the farm, the album also includes postcards from a visit to Brighton, where they went for a break away from tiring farm work. The album shows women also enjoying a visit to Picton Castle in Pembrokeshire, as well as participation in the Retford Operatic Society. Such groups provided a way for women to meet local people in the area, whilst providing an important source of fun. Retford’s proximity to Nottingham provided the opportunity for women to presumably visit the castle, with a potential visit likely commemorated with the inclusion of a postcard in the album. Have a look through the photographs below and see what they can tell us about how women wished to remember and document their wartime service.
First Name(s): Teresea
Unmarried Surname: Hooley
Married Surname: Butler
Place of Birth: Derbyshire (?)
Life After War
Information from Philip Dalling in the Derby Telegraph.
- “After the First World War, Teresa found the housing and working conditions of the agricultural workers in West Somerset to be, in her own words, “medieval”. She was genuinely shocked by the conditions she found behind the “chocolate box” facades of many of the thatched, white-washed cottages of the region. She campaigned vigorously for better housing and wages, infuriating local landowners. On one occasion, a local worthy, formerly a colonel in the Indian army, accused her of being a “class traitor” and threatened to horsewhip her.
- After a “disastrous” marriage to Frank Butler, she returned to Derbyshire with her only son. She established an independent life, becoming well known as a best-selling poet, making her name with a poetry column in the Daily Mirror, which she shared with fellow Derbyshire woman Edith Sitwell.”
For more information on Teresa’s life after her time in the WLA, please click here to read a longer article on the family.
To mark the first day of every month in 2018, we will be looking at a range of illustrations which Land Girls themselves drew and sent in for The Land Girl magazine. Not only were Land Girls and Lumber Jills working hard on the land and in the forests, but some also found the time to put pen to paper and draw!
In 1942, the front page of The Land Girl contained the following about the rotation of illustrations for The Land Girl covers:
Not only are these illustrations interesting to look at, but they are are useful for considering how Land Girls came to represent their experiences – sometimes humorously, sometimes seriously. As you can see from the selection of images below, some were simple sketches such as the one used for January 1942. Others were more detailed, as seen with the effective use of shading by Audrey Wakeford and Anthea Shelmerdine for January 1946 and 1947 respectively. These illustrations portray Land Girls undertaking several jobs such as feeding lambs, milking cows, delivering milk, clearing, and picking potatoes.