Across this website, you’ll see lots of WLA material which is credited to the Catherine Procter collection. Catherine has been incredibly generous with her collection, by allowing me to digitalise it and share with website visitors. Catherine’s collection is now held by the Museum of English Rural Life at Reading University where it can be accessed and researched
For those who are keen to find out more about the background to this extensive collection, I share some thoughts from Catherine below.
After my mother died in 1994, we found in her papers, letters regarding her time in the WLA in Kent and Sussex during the Second World War. Some months later we were at an antiques’ fair and came across a copy of Vita Sackville-West’s book on the WLA which I purchased. This is what really prompted me to look out for further books and information. We also started to find postcards of Land Girls, from both world wars, at postcard fairs.
It became very exciting as the collection grew and I began to find all sorts of ephemera and memorabilia showing how the women of Britain took such a great part in helping to feed the nation during both world wars. I found articles and photos on the WLA in many magazines, periodicals and books on farming published during the first and second world wars. I also have some papers from the WLA County Offices and the War Agricultural Committees working in the counties at the time.
Looking for WLA items I also came across information about horticultural training colleges for women which were being opened during the late 19th century and I have now extended my collection to include this aspect of women’s involvement in farming and horticulture.Catherine Procter
Here are some highlights from Catherine’s collection