The forgotten army of the land girls tell their story in this new exhibition at Brighton and Hove museum until 14 March 2010. During World War II, over 75,000 women joined the Women’s Land Army [including my mother – Ed]. The heroic image of the land girl standing tall in her corduroy breeches, green jumper and brown felt hat, fork resting over her shoulder, has become an iconic symbol of the triumph of wartime agriculture.
The exhibition highlights personal stories, propaganda, paintings, posters and photographs. It reveals the experiences of women as they leave their pre-war lives to learn milking, rat catching, threshing and tractor driving. At the heart of this story are the surviving items of their distinctive uniform – where it was made, who wore it, what they did, how women felt about wearing it and the reactions they encountered.
The Land Girls also focuses on the contribution in Sussex. Their headquarters was at Balcombe Place; land girls were trained at Plumpton Agricultural College, and lived and worked on the Sussex Downs.
On Saturday 31 October, drop in for free and meet some land girls and enjoy wartime entertainments. Bring along a piece of clothing to alter in our ‘make do and mend’ workshop. 1-1.45pm, 1.45-2.30pm, 2.30-3.15pm, 3.15-4pm. All ages
The Land Girls events programme
The War at Home Saturday 10 October – one day seminar 10.30am-4.30pm The Old Courtroom, 118 Church Street
£40 (£25 concessions) includes tea/coffee. To book call 03000 290902
Marguerite Patten OBE home economist and author of over 170 cookery books, best known for her wartime work as an adviser for the Ministry of Food. In conversation with Sarah Tobias, social and cultural historian.
Professor Dorothy Sheridan MBE from Mass Observation Archive at Sussex University discusses a unique collection of diaries written by women recording their lives during World War II.
Films from wartime Sussex – Frank Gray presents archive film clips from Screen Archive South East.
‘Make do and mend’ clothing workshops at Brighton Museum
Inspired by wartime thrift, dressmaker Theresa Parker revives timeless tricks for today’s fashionable look.
£20 per workshop. To book, and for more information (eg about materials to bring) call 03000 290902
Decorative mending Saturday 3 October 10.30am-1.30pm
Learn how to rework existing garments using simple decoration techniques like stitch, appliqué, button work and jabots
New for old Saturday 17 October 10.30am-1.30pm
Simple ways of converting one garment into another.
Revamping hats and shoes Saturday 14 November 2-5pm
Customise your accessories using simple techniques for a stunning finish.
Study sessions Thursdays 15, 22 & 29 October & 5 November
Keep Calm and Carry On: the Home Front in wartime Britain 10.30am-1pm Course fee £65 (£55 concessions)
A series of illustrated talks with opportunities to handle authentic objects and ephemera from the museum’s collections.
Tutor: Sarah Tobias social & cultural historian. To book call 03000 290902
Wartime Christmas Saturday 14 November 10.30am-1pm £12
Find out how people celebrated Christmas when money and luxuries were in short supply and food was rationed. Includes ideas for thrifty retro gifts and decorations.
Sarah Tobias social & cultural historian. To book call 03000 290902