Uncovering & sharing local womens stories during WW1 with military wives.
Women in Work was a project led by current army wives and children at the Cavalry Barracks Hounslow. The project investigated the role of women during the Great War. Participants looked at how their work not only became about looking after their home, but also the roles they took on to replace men who went to serve in the war. In turn, they uncovered how this shaped the community in Hounslow through their contribution on the homefront to the war effort.
“I have very happy memories of being involved with Bounce Theatre. My favourite project was being involved with creating a children’s book about women in the war. The sessions we had were fun and informative and involved lots of cake! (Always a great way to get a group of woman working well) these sessions gave me something to focus on and also give me something to do/a reason to get out of the house while my husband was away with work.” Project Participant
The research was translated into a cartoon book for the wider community. A fictional character ‘Grace’ travelled back in time to learn about Hounslow during the war. The book was launched in a celebratory event which helped bridge the gap between civilian and non civilian families.
The Army Welfare Hub was decorated and hosted a celebratory event for 50 families from military and civilian backgrounds. They came together to hear live readings to access local heritage of the Great War. They where also able to see its impact today as the barracks sits in the heart of their community. This in turn led to families hold conversation about the project and their community.
The project was a catalyst for Bounce to work with the Army Welfare Team to obtain more funding to make the transformation permanent and offer an ongoing space for these conversations to happen. 15 women went on to work with artists to turn the Welfare Space into a place for families to be creative. It now currently houses our Happy to Chat project two years later, where Grace still continues to hang in the main community space and copies of the cartoon are available for kids and local residents to see and re-visit.
Made possible thanks to funding from The Heritage Lottery Fund