World War II was dubbed "the people's war". In the words of Winston Churchill it was "a war of unknown warriors (in which) the whole of the warring nations are engaged, not only soldiers, but the entire population, men, women and children". From children to great-grandparents, everyone was expected to muck in and make do. How then would a modern-day family cope with the hardships and inconveniences forced upon people in Britain between 1939 and 1945? That was the idea behind the Channel 4 series The 1940s House. Having volunteered to swap home comforts for the home front, the Hymers were evacuated to a property of the period and exposed to the harsh realities of wartime living: a bygone world of powdered eggs, gas masks, ration books, blackouts and air raids.
"There were many occasions when I thought, 'I can't do this, too much is being expected of me'," wrote Lynn Hymer in her diary. "But then I'd stop and say, 'Hang on a minute, I am here for a wartime experience'. In the war the women didn't say they couldn't do it, they just got on with it".
Far from being a lightweight behind-the-scenes TV companion The 1940s House offers a serious insight into what day-to-day family life was really like during wartime. By featuring photographs from the Imperial War Museum and including correspondence of home-front veterans, historian and author Juliet Gardiner documents the reality along with the reconstruction. A beautifully produced book that pays tribute to the millions of ordinary people who lived through extraordinary times. --Christopher Kelly [via]