A FARM at a North-East museum has been transformed to provide a snapshot of life on the Home Front during the Second World War.
Home Farm at Beamish Museum near Stanley, County Durham, has been recast as 1940s Farm and furnished in the style of the time with period decor and an Aga cooker, supplementing the black-leaded fire range for cooking and warmth.
The radio, a lifeline for news and entertainment, broadcasts news bulletins from the Home Service and popular light entertainment programmes such as Music While You Work, It’s that man again and Vera Lynn’s Sincerely Yours.
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The new-look farm, set from 1942 to 1944, will open doors at half-term, from Saturday February 15 to Sunday 23.
North-East farmers played a large part in helping Britain to win the war, with intensive farming saving the nation from starvation. The 1940s Farm tells the everyday story of the family who live there and the people brought in to supplement the workforce.
Farms were under great pressure to increase productivity and mechanisation was vital.
Though horses are still very much in evidence at the 1940s Farm, the farmer increasingly relies on tractors and petrol engines for a variety of farmyard tasks.
When not busy in the fields, he has joined the Home Guard and he and his colleagues often practise drill in the farmyard. In the kitchen, the farmer’s wife works out how to feed the family and workers, with almost everything rationed and in short supply, recipes are inventive and not necessarily to everyone’s taste – mock apricot pie, carrot fudge and rabbit pie.
Across the lane are two farm cottages – one the billet of the Land Girls, who live independently from the farmer’s family and cook and clean for themselves.
The Land Girls spend their spare time “make do and mending” – essentials like homemade clothes, shampoo and lip stain. The second cottage is occupied by a family evacuated to the safety of the country from a nearby town.
Schools and community groups from Brandon, Langley Park and Ushaw Moor, near Durham City, have investigated the Bevin Boys and Land Girls and the role of the Boy Scouts and Girl Guides in the war effort.
Their work will be displayed in the Regional Resource Centre.