The campaigns of the Women’s Institute

Work experience student, Amelie Roome, delves into the archives of the Women’s Institute to examine the Institute’s role in the historical and contemporary English countryside.

Time to take CARE

Learn about our focus for 2022: highlighting how we take care of rural heritage, the countryside’s future, and each other.

Biscuit Tin

Biscuit tin, Huntley & Palmers, 1951–1952 (REDMG 1992.2.384)

Biscuit tin, Huntley and Palmers, 1951–1952 This biscuit tin is part of the Huntley & Palmer Collection at Reading Museum. It features a watercolour of the historic Yarn Market at Dunster, Somerset. This slice of ‘olde England’ was much visited by holiday makers to the nearby seaside resort of Minehead prior to the Second World […]

Ration Book

1950-1951 ration book and coupons belonging to Barbara Wood (MERL 2019/55)

Ministry of Food, Ration book and coupons, 1950–1951 The early-1950s date of this ration book helps show the longevity of rationing during and after the Second World War. This policy began in 1940 and continued in some form for 14 years. Inside the book can be found coupons and further papers linked to food, clothes, tea, soap, […]

Death to Pests

Detail from Death to pests poster showing military figure (MERL 2010/149)

Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries, Death to Pests poster, 1951 This poster was issued by the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries. It was printed for H. M. Stationary Office by J. Howitt and Son Ltd, Nottingham, and released in 1951. It was intended to encourage British growers to combat common vegetable pests. This postwar period was still […]

Man Trap

Man trap (MERL 62/403)

This is a trap designed to catch people. Landowners sometimes resorted to man traps in order to catch people trespassing on their land. People trespassed for a variety of reasons; sometimes for poaching – the illegal killing of animals on private land – or sometimes simply for hunting and gathering food to feed their families. […]

Womens Land Army Uniform

The Women’s Land Army (WLA) was created in 1915 to help farmers cope with the shortage of male labour as a result of the First World War. It was brought back into action for the Second World War, at first as voluntary service and then as a form of conscription. Sceptics did not believe that […]

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