University of Worcester Worcester Research and Publications

Rent Arrears, Food Shortages and Evacuees: How War Enters the Worcester Home in Two World Wars

Andrews, Maggie (2023) Rent Arrears, Food Shortages and Evacuees: How War Enters the Worcester Home in Two World Wars. Midland History, 48 (3). pp. 369-386. ISSN Print: 0047-729X Online: 1756-381X

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The strong military traditions of Worcester may mean the city’s engagement in two world wars is often thought about in terms of the soldiers or even the ammunition produced at Blackpole Munitions Works. The ways in which both wars impacted the more mundane lives of the majority of women who were housewives have received less attention. As housewives, daughters, sisters or domestic servants, women undertook the lion’s share of the domestic and emotional labours needed to maintain homes, communities and neighbourhoods. This was played out at a local level, shaped by the geographical, economic and cultural specificity of not only regions but towns and cities. There were as many different home fronts as there were battle fronts; thus, Worcester residents experienced the privations and problems of twentieth-century large-scale international warfare, through their local home front. This contextualized case study of Worcester explores the financial challenges housewives faced, their problems with food provisioning and the care of evacuees to argue that both wars entered the home in a multitude of ways. It provides evidence of how, the boundary between public and private spheres was blurred, as in wartime the state interfered in the domestic life to an unprecedented degree.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Discrete Keywords: World wars, home front, women, children, consumption, Worcester
Divisions: College of Arts, Humanities and Education > School of Humanities
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Copyright Info: Open Access article, distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives License (, Permits non-commercial re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium provided the original work is properly cited, and is not altered, transformed, or built upon in any way, © 2023 The Author(s). Published by Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.
Depositing User: Maggie Andrews
Date Deposited: 27 Mar 2024 11:06
Last Modified: 05 Apr 2024 14:39

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