A new series of Home Fires starts on the 3rd April, and I’m looking forward to seeing it. Not just because of the story lines, but also the clothes.
WWII still evokes a nostalgia, even if you weren’t around then, of a time when people pulled together and made do to help the war effort. Of course not all the rose tinted glasses in the world can make war seem a grand time to be in. Home Fires shows more than the vintage appreciation that we have today for the clothes and the general lifestyle. It highlights the personal and economic struggles that our country was plunged into and which became part of day-to-day life. My own Mum lost her dad in 1941, and her mum had to struggle to bring up five children on her own. My Dad lived out in the country and bred rabbits to sell when he was a boy. He worked on a farm during the latter part of the war, and received his call up papers when he was about 17 years old. Fortunately, as a farm worker (a reserved occupation), he was exempt from joining up.
The pressure for ‘doing your bit’ steadily increased as the war continued. Food rationing worsened as portions per person became smaller, and more land was ploughed for growing food which put pressure on the farmers. No one felt they had a lot of sleep during the war. If you had a regular job during the day, you would be doing some voluntary war work in the evening/night as well. Add to that the night time air raids, and it becomes little wonder that the health of the nation was a priority for the government. But nobody wanted to complain, as they knew everyone was in the same boat.
A great way of learning more about how the war effected those out in the country is Wartime Farm – a historical experiment by three historians and archaeologists about life on a farm during WWII. Someone has uploaded them to YouTube too.
If you’d like to try some wartime knitting, take a look at my post about some of the knitting patterns I sell.