Do any of you remember watching the wonderful Victoria Wood TV Programme "Housewife 49"? Based on the true life story taken from the wartime diary of Nella Last? Drawn from Nella Last's wartime experiences, it not only showed personal aspects of Nella's life but many shared experiences of life at home during 1940s, Making Do and Mending, eking out rations, her experiences of Women's Voluntary Service. She had applied to the Mass Observation Service at the start of the war who had requested ordinary people's accounts of daily life during the war to be kept as a record. If you haven't seen it, it's well worth watching and so too are her books, Nella Last's War and Nella Last's Peace. Both offer a fascinating and very personal insight into the hard lives faced by those at home during the War.
One of the very popular magazines of the time was "Housewife" magazine, maybe Nella may have read some herself. Here at The Emporium we are delighted to have our many 1940s versions of "Housewife" magazines for sale. Ranging from the beginning of the war to 1949 we have been happily reading them in the Stockroom and have somewhat reluctantly started to add them to the Boudoir shelves to share with you.
These magazines offer a real insight into the lives of women at home and working in the Forces, Land Army and Voluntary Services during the 1940s.
Full of advertisements reflecting national shortages in provisions and the necessity of "making do" and being thrify.
Hints on recycling old and worn clothing into new items - turning two old blouses into one new one for the summer when the clothing coupons are running low for example. Making Juliet Caps from string, dressing gowns from dance frocks, children's clothes from adults. The most gorgeous knitting patterns too.
Recipes to eke out the rations and liven up the supper table, from breakfast to lunches to take out to work. Cakes, puddings to ring the changes. Tips on bottling fruit to use in the long winter months. Being inventive and resourceful is the key.
So slowly, very slowly, we are parting with them. Reluctantly saying 'goodbye' to a slice of social history and certainly making many a note about all the tips and hints they offer. Who knows, Nella Last may well have got a few from them herself!