Homefront Heroines looked at the lives and stories of the women of Oswestry during the First World War to ensure the extraordinary stories of local women are not lost forever, and the impact the war had on women’s lives – which is still felt today, is recognised. Funded by Heritage Lottery Fund and led by project researcher, Sarah Gathercole the project uncovered real local stories, bringing them alive. It looked at what roles Oswestry women played on the home front and how they contributed to the war effort.
The project culminated in two mixed media exhibitions at Qube composed of the stories, photos and artefacts uncovered during the project research. Both had a launch event, inviting the local community to come and find out more about these hidden women from Oswestry’s history. The research uncovered is also available to view online at www.homefrontheroines.org.uk, creating a resource for the wider community to access and learn more about their heritage. A booklet has also been produced for those without online access.
The project was generously supported by over 40 volunteers. As well as researching in local and national archives, libraries, museums and online resources, the volunteers have learned digital storytelling skills, using these to capture the memories of local residents with stories to share of family members who lived 100 years ago. Others have been knitting, sewing, re-creating uniforms, making cakes, reading and exploring women’s poetry and discussing women’s art, all in the context of the Great War.
The project has worked in partnership with many groups – including Oswestry and Borders U3A Art Appreciation Society and Crafty Knitters – and Sarah continues to give talks to groups who are interested in the stories of the local women.