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Gretna Girls bedroom display

By January 20th, 2020No Comments
Munition girls bedroom at Devils Porridge Museum

Judith Hewitt, Manager of the Museum writes:

A recent visitor to the Museum posted a photograph they had taken during their website to our Google Business page, this is what it looked like:

Inside one of the cabinets on display in The Devil’s Porridge Museum.

Although I see this display a lot (pretty much every day), seeing it on Google photographed like this reminded me how much I like this area of the Museum.  This is what you can see in the photograph above (from top left):

-A photograph of workers in the Factory.  The Museum has lots of photographs like this, some posed for in Factory sections (I think this is one of those), some with friends or individually in studio portraits and some outside accommodation.  We don’t always know the names of the people in the photographs but each one is precious.

-An autograph book.  Lots of the ‘Grena Girls’ (the 12,000 women who worked at HM Factory Gretna during World War One) kept or compiled autograph books with signatures, poems, jokes, drawings and witticisms from the friends and acquaintances they made during the War.  We have several of these books in the Museum collection and they are amongst my favourite items in the Museum collection.

-Two pieces of Dornock souvenir china.  Small pieces of china such as this were extremely popular collectibles from the nineteenth century onwards (I remember my own grandfather’s collection fondly).  These pieces have heraldic devices on them (the Dornock shield) and the legend ‘Perseverance Overcomes’.  The shield is accompanied by a munition girl and soldier on some designs.  It is nice to think of women in war wanting a keepsake of this place to take with them when the left.

-Perfume bottles and hair brushes for the munition girl’s toilette (as gently mocked in the postcard in the Museum collection below).

munition girls toilette

This case sits next to a bed, the carpeting represents the size of a munitions girls cubicle in one of the hostels built near here in World War One.  There is information about the hostels including hostel names, matrons, living conditions, entertainment and friendships.  You can also find out how the hostels were built and read through digital copies of other autograph books in the Museum collection.

gretna girls bedroom at the devils porridge museum

The re-imagined munition workers bedroom. Cabinet photographed on left.

We have the following booklets for sale from our online shop if you would like to know more about HM Factory Gretna and the female workforce:

Lives of Ten Gretna Girls booklet

The Devil’s Porridge Museum Guidebook

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