Rationing of petrol, paper, batteries, food, cigarettes, hairpins, coal, clothing: that and much more meant ordinary life in World War Two Britain was anything but ordinary. Ordinary people, as well, found themselves doing extraordinary things. ARP Wardens in the Blackout shouted at their neighbours to “Put out that light!”, W.V.S. ladies held the hands of thousands of evacuee children, cottage dwellers dug up their roses to make room for pigs,
golfers collected shrapnel on the greens to prevent damage to mowers, and girls who had never held a spanner assembled bombs in factories. Winston Churchill’s ringing 1940 pronouncement that “we shall never surrender” was addressed not to government, not to the Forces, but to the average men and women of the Empire. The weight of victory – as history confirms – rested upon their shoulders.
Spirit of the Homefront is a living history group that honours and depicts that burden and the working class people who bore it in the years between 1939 and 1945. Through displays, demonstrations, interactive talks, and website content, the group brings history to life in ways that no book, lecture, or film can do. Spirit’s members portray the range of people and personalities that writer Margery Allingham called “the oaken heart” of Britain in wartime. Whether a neatly uniformed Bobby on his beat or a housewife in a pinny and curlers pushing a pram, each depiction is based on years of careful research and is accurate in both detail and essence.
Spirit of the Homefront is available to enliven your 1940s or WWII event. Enjoy the photos and information here, and then contact the group
Visit Spirit of the Homefront on Facebook, too!