Tyneside Women’s Health to explore women's role in WW1 thanks to lottery cash

The role of North East women in the First World War will be examined thanks to new heritage funding

Female road sweepers, 21st March 1916
Female road sweepers, 21st March 1916

Tyneside Women’s Health has received £9,900 from the Heritage Lottery Fund for the project Wor Women on the Home Front .

Awarded through the HLF’s First World War: Then and Now programme, the project will focus on helping users of Tyneside Women’s Health to explore the impact of the First World War on women and their families in the region.

Culture Secretary Maria Miller, who is leading the Government’s First World War programme, said: “Women rose to the challenge during the First World War, often defying cultural and social barriers to achieve quite incredible things at the front and back at home.

“With the First World War generation all but gone, it is vital that we capture the memories of local people so their stories are not lost. This project is a fitting way to pay tribute to the bravery and sacrifice of the North East’s women in this centenary year.”

Participants will delve into local archives with heritage experts and be shown how to carry out their own research.

They will collect personal stories from older people whose parents and other family members lived and served during the First World War. Participants will then record their own personal stories through researching their family history and taking part in storytelling sessions and creative workshops.

The project will explore how family life in the North East changed as women went out to work and were left to bring up families on their own while men were away fighting or were killed in action.

All research and stories will be digitally archived as a permanent record of the project, as well as forming part of an exhibition at the end of the project to coincide with International Women’s Day in 2015.

Elaine Slater, project manager at Tyneside Women’s Health said: ‘This is a fantastic opportunity to learn about local history.

“Our aim is to help women improve their mental health and emotional wellbeing and this project enables this by helping women learn new skills, visit new places and introduce them to digital technology, all of which will help reduce isolation.”

Tyneside Women’s Health serves women across Tyneside via centres in Gateshead and east Newcastle.

Letters from the First World War front line written to a woman living in Simpson Street, Crookhill, Ryton in Gateshead, will be sold by Whitley Bay auctioneers Featonbys today.

The letters are addressed to Margaret Noble, with some coming from her brother.

In one, dated 1917, he writes: “It is a hell of a war. We had our annual bath today. Some are almost good looking after the dirt is off. Fritz won’t be over tonight. We can stand the rain as long as it keeps him away.

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