The Heritage Bulletin Blog ran from July 2012 to January 2020, covering a huge range of subjects, from a day in the archives, to extracts from the WVS bulletins, and histories of various WVS/WRVS services.
It’s 219 articles have become a valuable resource in themselves, why not search them or just browse to discover something new.
Two years ago I wrote a blog (WVS/WRVS Serves at Wimbledon) looking
at our association with the Wimbledon Tennis Championship and the eventful two
weeks between 1947 and 2004 when a number of volunteers ran information desks. So
the other day I was wondering what were the WVS doing in Wimbledon before they
got involved in Tennis.
We actually know very little about the WVS in Wimbledon
during the War, unfortunately none of their Narrative Reports survived from
1938-1947 but there are two articles written in the Bulletin Magazine in 1942 and 1942. One of them tells us that on 11th October 1942 there was an
invasion defence exercise involving the Housewives Service, the Centre
Organiser and WVS post leaders who controlled the Street Leaders. The exercise assumed
that the South East of England had been invaded and the WVS were involved in
caring for the wounded and evacuating people from their homes. You can read the
full article here.
Another source of information is the statistic books for 1943-1945 they tell us the services WVS were involved in in those years Wimbledon ran the
- Under 5’s Nurseries
- Civil Defence Canteens
- Work for HM Forces
- Hospital Services
- Work Parties
- National Savings
Back to the Bulletin, which reported that in February 1945 Wimbledon
was adopted by Leicestershire as part of the Re-homing Gift Scheme. Donated items
collected by volunteers in Leicestershire were sent to Wimbledon, where they
were distributed by WVS to those setting up new homes after they had been
bombed out in flying bomb attacks. In June 1945 the WVS of Leicester County
Borough sent Wimbledon 16 1/2 tons of household goods including over 60 chairs
which had been re-seated by the Institute for the Blind.
Next week we look at what the volunteers of Wimbledon did after the War