Wanted: stories of women in Newcastle during the Second World War

24 September 2021

“We want to hear as many stories and experiences as possible of women who lived in Tyneside during the Second World War" Kylea Little, Keeper of History

Image: Unknown worker at a Newcastle Shipyard during WWII. By Cecil Beaton (DB67) © Imperial War Museum

History staff at Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums (TWAM) are researching women’s experiences during the Second World War in Newcastle, Gateshead, North and South Tyneside and want to hear your stories, some of which will be featured in an exhibition in 2022 at Discovery Museum.  

 Kylea Little, Keeper of History at TWAM said:  

“This photo was taken by the Ministry of Information wartime photographer Cecil Beaton at a Newcastle shipyard, yet there isn’t any information about the woman in the photograph, who she was or anything about her life. We have so few stories of women’s experiences during this hugely significant time.  

 “We want to hear as many stories and experiences as possible of women who lived in Newcastle during the Second World War. 

 “Did your female relatives or friends work in the shipyards or any of the Tyneside factories? Did they join the Women’s Royal Naval Service (WRNS) or the Auxiliary Territorial Service (ATS), or the Women’s Land Army?  

 “Did the women in your family keep their communities and families going, were their children evacuated?  

 “Please, we urge you to share these stories with us.”  

The research is part of a wider national partnership with Imperial War Museums (IWM), the Second World War and Holocaust Partnership Programme (SWWHPP) which aims to uncover underrepresented local stories to make sure they are recorded for future generations, before they are lost forever.  

Anyone who’d like to get in touch for an informal chat please email history@twmuseums.org.uk with a few details and contact number.  

Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums (TWAM) is one of eight culture heritage groups across the UK who are working with IWM to uncover hidden or lesser-known stories from this time.  

As part of the project, SWWHPP  is funding a Digital Intern role at Discovery Museum to join the research team, and digitise more collections to share a fuller history of what life was like during the war for people on Tyneside.  

The project culminates next year with a touring installation from the partnership; this will be supplemented with an exhibition sharing the new Tyneside stories at Discovery Museum. Over the course of the project TWAM will be working with artists, young people, schools, and care homes too.  

Get in touch

Anyone who’d like to get in touch for an informal chat please email history@twmuseums.org.uk with a few details and contact number.