In the Second World War, though under the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries, the Women’s Land Army was given an honorary head – Lady Denman. At first it asked for volunteers. This was supplemented by conscription, so that by 1944 it had over 80,000 members. The WLA lasted until it was officially disbanded on 21 October 1949. The Women’s Timber Corps worked in the forestry industry. Its members were colloquially known as "Lumber Jills". It was a branch of the Women's Land Army that operated 1942–46. Our project, beginning when the WLA restarted in 1939, will seek out reminiscences; these may come from those who, as local country children, encountered the Land Girls, or descendants of Land Girls who settled in the area. This research will generate podcasts and inspire creative activity (writing, art, photography) for an exhibition and booklet.
The project is due to start in Spring 2020 however the Covid 19 situation will affect the timetable.
The Aims will be:
1. To preserve the personal histories in Leek/North Staffordshire of the Women’s Land Army.
2. To rediscover and record the stories of the women’s roles.
3. To enable local communities in North Staffordshire to participate in a heritage project based on these stories and memories, together with war time art, local historical documents, personal artefacts and photographs.
4. To enable local communities and a wider audience to learn about the heritage of their local Land Army personnel by creating a publication, as well as exhibitions, an updated website and podcasts.
5. To enable Leek High School students to learn about the history of women who served during WW2 in their communities and how the landscape altered.
6. To create a public archive of the information.
7. To manage other professionals to train volunteers in local history research, interpretation and IT skills and organise sessions for participants.
8. To organise delivery of creative workshops (writing and art) inspired by this heritage, for Borderland Voices participants and the public.