The WEA has received a National Lottery Heritage Fund grant of £97,500 for an exciting heritage project, Women on the Land. As a result, the people of South Yorkshire now have the chance to collect, record and enjoy memories of the work and lives of members of the Women’s Land Army (the ‘Land Girls’) and Women’s Timber Corps (or ‘Lumber Jills’) in the area, during and after the second world war, and the impact they had in local communities.  

Those who remember them will work with the WEA to create an archive of memories to share with local communities and record for future generations. Participants will work with experts in heritage to develop video, audio and written recording, developing a wide range of skills including research, oral recording and digital skills. The project will bring people together online initially before establishing local learning groups across South Yorkshire.  

The Land Girls / Lumber Jills were instrumental in supporting landowners and farmers to provide food and produce timber for Britain throughout the war and the post-war period. Of the 80,000 veterans, very few still survive.  

Commenting on the award from the National Lottery, the WEA’s Rob Hindle said: 

We are thrilled to have received this support thanks to National Lottery players. As a society, we are losing our custodians of direct memories of life during the Second World War and with them an understanding of how our communities responded to the great social disruption of that period.  

Our recent experience of the pandemic will help us connect with these trail-blazing women and the communities they lived and worked in, and the project will enable a wide range of people to develop a valuable insight into this important chapter in South Yorkshire’s history.  

We are confident that everyone who will be involved in the project, either as a contributor or enjoying the archive once complete, will develop skills and confidence, and enjoy exploring the Land Girls’ and Lumber Jills’ experiences.” 

Residents of South Yorkshire can show an interest in participating in the project by contacting the Project Organiser, Richard Godley (07854 646742 / rgodley@wea.org.uk – Mon / Tue), or Project Manager, Clare Farmer (07966 254 322 / cfarmer@wea.org.uk – Mon – Fri) at the WEA. 

All contributions, however small or large are welcomed, from photos, to diaries, letters, written up interviews with relatives, or just verbal sharing. Please get in touch.

Notes to Editors 

About the WEA 

Founded in 1903, the WEA is the UK’s largest voluntary sector provider of adult education, delivering over 6,000 part-time courses for around 40,000 people each year in England and Scotland. 

With the active support of around 200 local branches, 2,000 volunteers, 3,000 part-time tutors and 5,000 members, the WEA provides high quality, student-centered and tutor-led education for adults from all walks of life. We also maintain our special mission to provide educational opportunities to adults facing social and economic disadvantage. 

The WEA provides courses across four curriculum themes: 

  • Employability: to develop confidence, understanding and skills to help adults, at all stages of their lives, participate more fully in the world of work 

  • Health & Wellbeing: to combat inequalities and promote a social and preventative model of health and well-being 

  • Community Engagement: to combat social exclusion and promote active citizenship 

  • Culture: to broaden horizons through understanding cultures, identities and environments embodying our commitment to social purpose   

For further information on the charity, please visit https://www.wea.org.uk 
 

About The National Lottery Heritage Fund 

Using money raised by the National Lottery, we Inspire, lead and resource the UK’s heritage to create positive and lasting change for people and communities, now and in the future. www.heritagefund.org.uk.  

Follow @HeritageFundUK on TwitterFacebook and Instagram and use #NationalLotteryHeritageFund  
 

Further information 

For further information, images and interviews please contact the Project Organiser, Richard Godley (07854 646742 / rgodley@wea.org.uk – Mon / Tue), or Project Manager, Clare Farmer (07966 254 322 / cfarmer@wea.org.uk – Mon – Fri) at the WEA.