Local BBC Sites

Neighbouring Sites

Page last updated at 16:51 GMT, Wednesday, 10 March 2010
Women's Land Army exhibition to open at Gressenhall
Yvonne Gollop and Eve Attridge served who Women's Land Army and Timber Corps
Former Land Girl Yvonne Gollop with former 'Lumber Jill' Eve Attridge

Gressenhall Farm and Workhouse plans to create a permanent tribute commemorating Women's Land Army and Timber Corps.

The 80,000 Land Girls and 'Lumber Jills' were credited with keeping the country fed during two world wars.

The museum needs to raise £80,000 to fund the project, expected to open in spring 2011.

"We need to save the Land Army's stories for future generations," said museum curator Megan Dennis.

"Unless we act now it will be too late," she added.

Vital role

The Land Army and Timber Corps played vital roles in wartime replacing the men who were away fighting.

The women were called up to work on farms to produce the food needed to keep the country going.

Despite their importance their role is still often overlooked.

It is hoped that the new exhibition at Gressenhall will redress this balance and recognise the work they did.

Former Land Girl Yvonne Gollop

"It is actually telling a really important story about Britain's forgotten army - the women who actually looked after the land while the men folk were at war during World War I and World War II," said Vanessa Trevelyan, head of Norfolk Museum and Archaeology Service.

"This is a story that really hasn't been told in any detail," she added.

Important exhibit

Lord Hastings, patron of the fundraising campaign, agrees that it is an important exhibit for the museum.

"I think it's going to be a great addition to this museum which is already so interesting and evocative of the rural past here," he said.

"It fills in a gap in our knowledge, that period during the war when women came to work on the land. It's part of agricultural history," he added.

The women who joined the Land Army faced a tough task as farming differed greatly from today.

There was no mechanised digging and no heated cabs to offer protection from the weather.

Former Lumber Jill Eve Attridge

The Timber Corps had an equally tough job learning how to fell trees.

Not only was the work arduous, but many women called up had no previous experience of the jobs they would be carrying out.

Extremely pleased

"We worked so hard and at the end of the war we didn't have the recognition that other groups did," said Freida Feetham, a veteran Land Girl.

"It is a real pleasure that our efforts are now being recognised.

"The girls are all extremely pleased that their stories are going to be told in this gallery."

The exhibition will cost £80,000 and so far half of the money has been raised.

"We owe these people so much. The work that they did, the circumstances that they did it in and the stories that they tell - it's wonderful and it's something that we cannot and should not let go," said fundraiser David Ashcroft.

Easton College currently has a memorial garden as a tribute to the Land Army and Timber Corps.

The fruit and vegetable garden opened in 2005.

The college also houses an archive of stories, audio recordings and video interviews charting the memory of former Land Girls.

The archive is in book form and was funded by charity money. It was collated by BBC Voices with the help of former Land Girls.

Copies of the book are also stored in the Norfolk Record Office and the Memorial Library in The Forum, Norwich.


Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific