Page 31. " The letter coincided with the Dig for Victory campaign "
Dig for Victory
Public DomainDig for Victory

One month into the Second World War the Ministry of Agriculture launched a campaign that would provide one of the most memorable slogans of the war: "Dig for Victory."

According to Home Sweet Home Front "The whole of Britain's home front were encouraged to transform their private gardens into mini-allotments. It was believed, quite rightly, that this would not only provide essential crops for families and neighbourhoods alike, but help with the war effort by freeing up valuable space for war materials on the merchant shipping convoys." Until this campaign began, up to 55 million tons of food was being imported to Britain from other countries each year.

By 1943, a million tons of vegetables were being produced in these small gardens - serving the dual purpose of feeding the nation and freeing up cargo space on ships.

During the course of the war, propaganda for the cause was rampant.  In addition to posters and literature, anthems were also introduced, including this one: 


Dig! Dig! Dig! And your muscles will grow big

Keep on pushing the spade

Don't mind the worms

Just ignore their squirms

Abd when your back aches laugh with glee

And keep on diggin'

Will we give our foes a Wiggin'

Dig! Dig! Dig! to Victory!

From Home Sweet Home Front

Page 40. " of all my books that I have dragged down to Devon from London, the grandest is The Genus Rosa. "

Ellen Willmott
Public DomainEllen Willmott
The Genus Rosa is the work of Ellen Willmott (1857-1934). Willmott was a fanatical horticulturist and landscape designer. Luckily, she was very wealthy and thus able to pursue her passion for plants. From the age of 17 she resided at Warley Place and dedicated her life to gardening. She was active in the Royal Horticultural Society and awarded their Medal of Honour in 1907. At one point she employed as many as 100 gardeners, who tended her gardens at Warley Place as well as in France and Italy.

In later life she became penniless and increasingly more eccentric. In 1934 her estate was sold to pay her debts and subsequently demolished. The land is leased to the Essex Wildlife Trust, but her gardens no longer exist.

Willmott's The Genus Rosa was published in parts from 1910-14. With beautiful drawings by Alfred Parsons, (1847-1920) an English landscape artist, The Genus Rosa is considered by many to be one of the definitive books on roses. Over 60 varieties of flowers have been names after Willmott or her estate.

Listen to a BBC Radio Four Show about Willmott

Page 49. " Mozart, he says. The Requiem, even. "

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756-1791) was one of the most prolific and influential composers of the Classical era. He composed over 600 works. He composed from the age of five and performed for royalty by the age of 17.

Mozart's Requiem was composed in Vienna in 1791, during the last year of his life.

More information on Mozart's Requiem

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