This film is part of Free

Women Work While Men Fight

British women didn't sit idly at home while their men fought in WWI – they got stuck in to useful work

Non-Fiction 1915 1 mins Silent


Digging beds and potting seeds - vital skills for the women of a nation at war. These smartly dressed women are learning how to grow crops at the Glynde School for Lady Gardeners near Lewes in East Sussex. The school was founded by Frances Garnet Wolseley in 1905, and the lessons may appear very genteel, but the skills imparted there became of national importance after the outbreak of WWI. As increasing numbers of men went to fight, farm labour was in short supply.

The Women's Land Army was founded by the Board of Agriculture in 1915 to make up for the labour lost when men were sent to the front, and the government put a lot of effort into recruiting land girls. During WWI, as with the Dig for Victory campaign of WWII, householders were also encouraged to grow food crops in their private gardens to combat the wartime food shortages.