The Home Front

This course will look at the various ways in which the British public were prepared for total war. The civilian population knew of course that war was possible after the failure of appeasement, but the British government had in fact been preparing for another war since the 1920s. By the end of the 1930's, coffins were being prepared, estimates made for civilian casualties, based on the bombings at Guernica, during the Spanish Civil War. 

We will look at the experiences of evacuees, the formation of the Home Guard, and life for the Land Girls. All of these branches of civilian participation give us tales of heroics and stoicism. However, there are significant areas that are perhaps unfamiliar to some. The role of witchcraft and spiritualism on the Home Front and the extreme censorship which covered up significant and colossal disasters for the allies. We will also investigate propaganda and the existence of the 'silent column'.

Other less known areas we will cover are the occupation of the Channel Islands and life under Nazi rule. We will also look at internment during the war itself, and the work of 'Station X', otherwise known as Bletchley Park.

We will of course, investigate the war's impact on Twickenham, Whitton and Richmond, using local history source material .