Women on the Land, as reported in the Border County Advertizer
8 March 1916
“We notice that the campaign for trying to secure women workers on the land is being carried into our own district. The great difficulty which faces those who are organising this effort is…overcoming the prejudice of many farmers against accepting their services. We read of a Timperley farmer who told his local tribunal last week that he tried a woman at the plough, “ and she took a cushion to sit on and a parasol to hold over her”! That sort of “fine lady” is no use on the land, whether she goes voluntarily or is “compelled,” but there are many girls who have had practical training in some forms of agricultural economy who ought to prove quite capable of discharging the lighter duties of the farm. There are, of course, some forms of farm work which even the most capable women could scarcely undertake, but with this exception, there should be a great opening for “women on the land” in an agricultural district like Shropshire.”
8 March, 1916
“Encouraging accounts are to hand concerning the movement for placing women workers on the land during the absence of men with the Colour. The organising bodies …. have devised a uniform suitable to women engaged in farm work …………a long coat of strong washable linen, to be worn with or without a skirt of the same material, black leather gaiters and strong, black, nailed boots.”
22 March 1916
“The appointment recently by the Board of Agriculture of 10 women organizers, who have already started on their work of seeing that every county is organized to its smallest village, is already bearing fruit.
All over the country women are registering for farmwork. Already 15,000 women are at work under the new scheme and the registered women are forming a big reserve army.
The objects of the Women’s National Land Service Corps, which has been formed to train and organise women for work on the land were stated explicitly at the meetings held at Shrewsbury, Oswestry and Ellesmere last week.
Roland Wilkins, principal organizer of the movement, and a lady well-known in the Border district as daughter of the late Mr A.T Jebb, The Lyth, Ellesmere is emphatic upon the necessity of placing on the land only competent women.
At the Harper Adams Agricultural College, arrangements are being made for special courses for women in the lighter branches of farm work as a preparation for agricultural work in the present emergency. It is hoped that a short course, will provide sufficient insight into the different kinds of work which women can undertake as to make themselves useful helpers on a farm. The instruction will include milking, dairywork and poultry, the rearing and feeding of stock, farm work and poultry. The charge for tuition, board and residence is only 25s per week”.
28 March 1916
“Meetings to discuss the advisability of employing women on the land during the present crisis were held last week at West Felton and Aston.…….. Mrs Kenyon, Mrs Parry and Miss Bickerton, and Messrs. Richards, Cartwright, and J. S. Bickerton were elected members of a committee to canvass the parish with a view to securing female helpers on the farms, several farmers in the parish having expressed their readiness to employ women. It is proposed to institute a women’s ‘Roll of Honour’ to correspond with that of the men on active service.
At Aston there were scarcely more than a dozen present and surprise was expressed that farmers from the district who had been appealing to the local tribunals for their sons and workers for exemption from military service were conspicuous by their absence, in view of the fact that great efforts were being made to make good the labour shortage.”