I was saddened last week to hear of the death of one of Britain’s most popular stand-up comediennes and television actresses, Victoria Wood, after a short battle with cancer and I thought I would pay a small tribute.
In 2006 she wrote and stared in Housewife 49, a BAFTA Winning drama, based on the diaries of Nella Last a WVS volunteer in Barrow-in-Furness Lancashire during World War II. It was also adapted for the stage in 2013; Victoria Wood chose the small Old Laundry theatre in Bowness-on-Windermere for the performance.
Nella Last wrote her diaries for the Mass Observation project between 1939 and 1966, their archive is now held at the University of Sussex. In them she commented “I felt such a thrill to think I belonged to WVS.”
Housewife 49 saw Victoria Wood portray Nella last in her role as a member of the WVS, making hospital supplies, working in the local WVS centre and a WVS kitchen. This drama gave the silent history of women a voice and showed how their role on the homefront was vital to the war effort.
Thank you Victoria Wood