Tabulae Ltd

Happening History

WW2 on The Home Front

Contact Information

Contact Name:
Karen Hamilton-Viall





Happening History can provide interactive, fun and educational displays on life on the Home Front during WW2.

Rationing - or 'Yes! we have no bananas': Are you clueless about the new rationing system? Is the points system making you feel pointless? Then let Ivy introduce your visitors to the realities of war time rationing. Ivy explains in simple terms how the rationing system works, what food is rationed and what isn't. The quantities they will be allowed and how their ration book should be used. Younger visitors can learn in a hands-on manner by playing shop and measuring out a week’s rations into a basket and crossing items off in the ration book. They may also look at the 1940s money. From the wonders of dried egg powder to the many uses that potatoes can be put to, Ivy can explain it all. Run to passing trade throughout the day.

For Year 9 - WW2 Crime & Life on the Home Front: This workshop examines wartime crime and encompasses many home front issues such as the black out, rationing, salvaging, gas masks, arp etc. As well as many wartime crimes such as profiteering, fifth columnists, hoarding, wasting resources, looting and entering a restricted area.

Age Group - Year 9s but would work for students of a similar age such as Year 8s or 10s.

Display time - This workshop is approximately one hour long. Can be adapted slightly to suit your timetable. Max number students per workshop - one class (about 30)

Number of workshops per day -Four max, of the one hour version so about 120 students in a day.

Minimum number of teachers - one

Display area - Large classroom, drama room, hall or similar space. If Morrison shelter is booked the space will need to be on the ground floor with easy access (the shelter is very heavy!)

Students are given various nominal roles such as housewife, warden, policeman, home guard etc and an identity card and prop such as a helmet or pinny to match. Students are split into various groups and need to gain victory points in their groups throughout the workshop in order to achieve an overall victory for the allies. They will sit through various trials based on real wartime cases which were tried and convicted. Crime is not something that most people associate with wartime, we tend to think more about Dunkirk and the blitz spirit. However crime was more prevalent during the war than before, partly as so many things were made a crime during the war, which had not been beforehand. From the more obvious crimes such as selling food off ration to simpler ones such as throwing away a bus ticket (wasting paper) the punishments could be quite severe. In the case of throwing a bus ticket away, as much as a £100 fine or 3 months in prison (at a time when £10 was a good weekly wage for a man and many women only received £2 or £3 a week). Many of the crimes & their punishments are suprisng or even shocking. Fred is the local magistrate and will put students on trial for their various war time crimes. Many of the crimes relate to important wartime home front issues such as the blackout, rationing of every kind, salvage, gas masks, 5th columnists, ARP and is a great platform to introduce these topics. We also briefly look at some of the different war time roles such as housewife, fire guard, warden and home guard. Students will decide whether the cases brought before them are actually a crime or whether they are a red herring. They gain points for guessing correctly which will go to the allies and they lose points for guessing incorrectly which go to the axis powers. As with our Year 7 workshop this helps to focus their attention on the subject. Students are then invited to turn detective and work in groups to investigate who the local spiv might be so that he can be brought to trial. Points are again awarded for guessing correctly. Hopefully by the end of this the students have gained enough victory points to win the war and lead their country to victory! The spiv will be different everytime in case the students chat to each other inbetween lessons!

We also bring along many original WW2 artrefacts such as gas masks (certified clean & safe), incendiary bombs, ration books and examples of rations. This is a fun, involving and most importantly, educational workshop. Morrison shelter (table shelter) We own a half size original morrison shelter, the sort that was used in the home and kept in the living room. We can bring the morrison shelter to your school and set it up for students to see and try out. The shelter is placed on wooden blocks to protect your floor. Due to its heavy weight it must be set up in a ground floor room. The shelter was used by a pregnant woman during the war, whilst the rest of her family slept in an Anderson shelter outside. They painted it green to match their sofa. We have also met the family of the man who designed the Morrison shelter who believe ours to be an original and very early model. The morrison shelter is available to hire whilst we are running our WW2 workshop for a cost of £100. There is no further charge for a second consecutive day but will need to be left up overnight.

I Spy! WW2 spying related trials: Based on the same format as our WW2 trials, we put your visitors on trial for various wartime crimes, all with a spying link. Britain was paranoid about being overun by spies and fifth columnists (British people working for the enemy). If you weren't very careful you could find yourself being accused of being a criminal. Nearly all the cases are genuine but with a few red herrings thrown in for the audience to decide which were genuine wartime crimes. It could be as simple as owning maps of Britiain or taking a photograph of a ship on the sea or carelessly mentioning where your boyfriend was flying to on ops that evening. Trials are run 3 or 4 times throughout the day, depending on visitor numbers. Make sure you're not late and don't forget your identity card!