The future of the Collection

Hidden Histories of a Million Wartime Women

Within two years of the outbreak of the Second World War, 1 in 10 women had set aside their own lives to volunteer and help others as members of the WVS. They held the country together working tirelessly on the Home Front, but now they have been forgotten. They modestly refused recognition in their own time and their voices, those of ordinary women from our shared past, have now fallen silent; but donors to our Kickstarter campaign are helping us to re-tell their stories of everyday heroism.

Find out more about the Kickstarter campaign

The future of the Archive & Heritage Collection

What's happening?

We have 300,000 fragile pieces of paper in our safekeeping which make up a vast diary of women’s lives covering almost every city, town and village across Great Britain for over 50 years. Thanks to our donors, we are currently working on bringing the very beginning and the most evocative period of this hidden history to life for everyone to explore.

Kind donations have helped us to capture the almost 74,000 pages of our wartime narrative reports from 1938-1945.

The WVS is still helping people in communities around Great Britain today, as Royal Voluntary Service and we’re still relying on the understanding and compassion of volunteers in local communities. Like Stella Reading during the Second World War, the Kickstarter project relied on the faithfulness of many to achieve their goals.

Our history is a fascinating story and you can become a part of it, by supporting us to reveal the hidden histories of over a million wartime women.