event details / Pershore Heritage & History Society / Pershore WI

Food, Family & Home in WW1: conference report

Representatives from the WW1 in the Vale project headed over to Avoncroft Museum of Historic Buildings last Saturday to attend the Food, Family & Home in World War One conference organised by the Women’s History Network (Midlands).

Professor Karen Hunt from Keele University starts the conference

Professor Karen Hunt from Keele University starts the conference

We found ourselves amongst over 90 delegates who had come from universities, community groups, schools and heritage organisations all over England.

The aim of the day was to explore how housewives, children and the home played a part in producing, preserving and preparing food during World War One.  We all know how the Dig for Victory campaigns of WW2 have a firm place within popular consciousness, but very little is really known about the similar activities engaged in by people on Britain’s Home Front in the Great War, when food became a weapon of war.

Our programme of talks by academic researchers was complemented by displays and exhibitions from community history groups and heritage organisations.  There was plenty of time to mingle as well, and find out what everyone was up to.  We took a display showing some of our latest discoveries, and during the community panel in the afternoon, we joined in the ‘shout-out’ and told everyone about our project too!

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Our display had pride of place at the front of the hall

The whole event was filmed and so we look forward to being able to share the presentations with you once the editing is complete.


The speakers were:

  • Professor Karen Hunt – University of Keele: ‘The Kitchen is the Key to Victory’: Women, Food and the Great War
  • Jennifer Doyle – Kings College, University of London: Everybody’s talking about food: food and women’s magazines in the First World War
  • Dr Stella Hockenhull- University of Wolverhampton: Everybody’s Business: Film, Food and Victory in the First World War
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Prof Maggie Andrews has her close-up!

You can read the abstracts of their talks here: Home Food Family WHN PROGRAMME revised (4)

At the end of a day there was a panel discussion and Q&A: Researching Home, Food and Family, which featured: 

  • Dr Janis Lomas – Independent Researcher
  • Julia Letts – Oral Historian and project co-ordinatorfor The Great Blackberry Pick (HLF-funded project)
  • Susanne Atkin – volunteer researcher participating in WW1 in the Vale, focussing on the experience of the 9th Earl of Coventry and his tenants on the Croome Estate, Pershore (HLF-funded project)
  • Professor Maggie Andrews -University of Worcester and Voices of War andPeace Community Engagement Centre lead on Gender and the Home Front. Academic lead on WW1 in the Vale (HLF-funded project)
  • Chaired by Jenni Waugh – Community History consultant and project co-ordinator for WW1 in the Vale (HLF-funded project)

Community heritage exhibitions and contributions were provided by the following projects:

  • Bishampton World War One Remembered,Worcestershire (HLF-funded)
  • Croome 100: The Croome Estate during the Great War, an independent research project by Susanne Atkin, in association with WW1 in the Vale and NT Croome.
  • Droitwich Library and Ombersley, Wychbold,Hindlip & Tibberton First Schools: The Great Blackberry Pick (HLF-funded)
  • Feckenham Remembers, Worcestershire (HLF-funded)
  • Hempstead Primary School, Gloucestershire: TheSchools Blackberry Pick (HLF-funded)
  • Herefordshire Archives & Museums Service:Herefordshire's Home Front
  • Derby: Six Streets WW1 Project (HLF-funded)
  • Museum of Cannock Chase, Staffs: schoolsactivity looking at how the War came to the Chase (WW1 training camps and PoWcentres)
  • NT Croome Plumlines project, Worcestershire (HLF-funded)
  • Pershore WI and Pershore Heritage &History Society: WW1 in the Vale (HLF-funded)
  • Rotherwas Munitionettes project, Herefordshire (HLF-funded)
  • Staffordshire Archives: Digitisation of theWW1 Tribunal papers
  • Worcestershire Archives & ArchaeologyService: Worcestershire WW100 (HLF-funded)
  • Worcestershire Poets: Life after the War and the Spanish Flu

TWITTER & INSTAGRAM MESSAGES throughout the day and after:

For full report of tweets on the day, see Storify: https://storify.com/JenniWaugh/food-family-home-in-ww1-5-march-2016

The Great Blackberry Pick project from Droitwich Library

The Great Blackberry Pick project from Droitwich Library


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