Wartime Farm (2012) s01e06 Episode Script

Episode 6

The great British countryside.
The setting for one of the most pivotal battles of the Second World War.
Churchill called it the "frontline of freedom".
It was fought by the farmers of Britain.
When war broke out, the Nazis attacked British shipping, attempting to cut off food imports.
The Government turned to farmers to double home-grown food production.
The plough, really, had become a weapon of war.
If they failed, the nation could be starved into surrender.
Now, archaeologists Alex Langlands and Peter Ginn and historian Ruth Goodman are turning back the clock, working Manor Farm in Hampshire as it would have been during the Second World War.
By 1943, Britain was at breaking point.
In the first few months of the year, there were record losses at sea, depleting imports more than ever.
Although the German army had been defeated at Stalingrad, ultimate victory was not yet in sight.
After four years of war, Britain's farmers were exhausted.
So the team resort to new sources of labour.
We're going to need a lot more than that.
Scavenge crops from every scrap of wasteland.
That looks absolutely lethal.
And find innovative ways to clothe themselves.
As resources are stretched to the limit on the Wartime Farm.
1943 saw imports of food slump to the lowest level of the war and the Government feared a crisis.
Victory in El Alamein created access to supplies of petrol to help the continuing offensive.
But with more ships given over to military use, there were fewer to bring food to Britain.
At home, the Government demanded that an extra one million tonnes of cereals be produced.
But arable land was becoming tired from years of consecutive use.
There's a large excess of straw on the farm, a by-product of all the cereal crops being grown.
Ruth's using this to make a fertiliser.
Of course, if we had a surplus of barley straw, we could use that for animal feed.
But wheat straw really isn't much use.
So all this spare straw I'm just adding to the dung heap to help it rot down.
If it didn't have any dung at all, it wouldn't rot and we'd have to add ammonia or lime or something like that to speed it up.
With a little bit of dung, mix it all together, eventually you get something spreadable on the fields.
And with harvest approaching, we're perhaps paying a bit more attention to the dung heap than we were.
We know that as soon as that crop is in, we've got to get this lot back out on the fields to fertilise and to start that cycle of production all over again.
Alex and Peter have also found a use for the spare straw.
The harvest is on the horizon, but Manor Farm has a significant rodent problem.
Before the war, rats cost British farmers an estimated £25 million a year in damage, eating crops and destroying buildings.
So the boys are determined to stamp them out before the precious wheat is brought in.
But they're going to need a little help.
Now, we've got a rat-catcher in residence.
She's coming down for a week or so, serving our farms and all the other farms in the area.
So we have very chivalrously, Peter, haven't we, decided to give up our room.
We have.
Billeting was at an all-time high, with land girl numbers reaching a peak of almost 90,000.
So farmers needed to create accommodation wherever and with whatever they could.
One of the things we've got a surplus of on the farm at the moment is straw.
So all of this stuff is just knocking round the farm.
We're going to use it to build ourselves a little straw bale house to sleep in for the next week or so.
Now, you keep count of the bales, Henry.
Right, so I think a door here just running down to the path.
- You all right? - Yeah.
Straw buildings were not uncommon during the war and were also used to house tools or even livestock.
Baled straw is absolutely superb for using as a construction material.
Because you've got really good sturdy blocks here.
You know? And it's all locking in beautifully.
And its main benefit, really, is that it's just so fantastic at insulation.
You know, there's no doubt about it.
This is going to keep the wind and the wet out of this sheltered area.
Just going to pop on the end here.
- Think it's big enough? - I think it's going to be absolutely fine, Peter.
It's certainly long enough.
I'll get down there.
Plenty of room there.
- Oh.
- Hello, Henry.
We're missing something, Peter.
I can see the sky, Alex.
Well, if we put a roof on it, which we have to, a couple of beds, a picture of the King, bedside table - Home from home.
- Yeah.
By 1943, there was a real concern that stamina was running out.
Britain's farmers had already been asked to give everything.
And now they were being asked to give even more.
People had endured four years of war.
They had watched everything get worse and worse and harder and harder.
Rationing had started out reasonably OK and got tighter and tighter.
Clothes rationing, food rationing, petrol rationing.
Everything rationing.
And while the early days of the war, there was a sense of adrenaline with the Blitz and so forth, by 1943 people had been slogging for so long.
I think for many people there was just an exhaustion, a weariness: "Oh, God, will it ever be over?" So we've got our walls up but there's been a slight change of plan.
We were sort of half way through the roof when we thought, actually, we're doing ourselves a disservice if we don't include, as an extra architectural feature, a window, which I've managed to salvage.
That looks really good.
- Let's have a proper look.
- A bit of cosmetics.
It looks good.
It looks made-to-measure.
Right, let's get this roof on.
While Peter builds the roof's wooden frame, Alex turns his mind to the best material for wartime thatching.
I'm just hand-pulling nettles here.
Because it's going to be one of the plants that we use for our thatch.
Perfect time of year to pull them as well because they've got all their energy in the plants and the plant's very strong.
And the root is weak.
So when you give it a tug, what happens, it just comes away at the root.
Every time you throw that up, Alex, I get a constant shower of mud coming down on me.
The thing with nettles is they can sting.
But if you get stuck into them and show them who's boss, they tend not to hurt as much.
Now I'm using what's called a gad to secure the thatch to the roof.
A gad is a thin strip of wood.
The nettles rest on the batons of the roof and the gad lies on top of them, pinning them into place.
You know, in the early 20th Century, there were still thatchers who were very much using this style of thatch.
So it wouldn't be entirely alien to Second World War farmers.
It's turning into a sort of semi-permanent buildings, isn't it? It is, yeah.
This thing could last a very, very long time.
With the house complete, the boys can move in.
It's very, very cosy, Alex.
That is extremely comfortable.
It's summer on the farm and there's an important job for the boys.
Making hay.
The team have dairy cows to feed.
Imports of cattle feed were low but milk production remained a priority.
The Government saw it as vital for the nation's health and at least 1.
3 billion gallons were required in 1943.
Before the war, the cows would have been fed through the winter on hay.
But Britain's acreage of meadowland had been hugely reduced.
I suppose all the pasture land has been turned over to arable but there's still grass around and this is a prime example, a churchyard.
This is a great hay crop, isn't it? In desperation, farmers had begun turning to every spare scrap of land to find grass to make hay from verges to orchards and now churchyards.
It's a tricky piece of land.
- It's not flat.
There's gravestones everywhere.
- Yeah.
We're going to have to think of some way of taking it down.
It's just, the weather hasn't been on our side recently.
It's not.
I mean, to be honest, this is just still a bit too wet to cut now.
So we'll have to leave this for a couple of days and just hope we get some sun and some wind.
- Yeah.
- And then come back.
Henry's upset about something.
Let's go and find out what.
It's probably the pigeons and the rats.
While the team wait to bring in the hay, Alex wants to deal with Manor Farm's rodent problem.
With the wheat harvest only a few months away, this is a major threat to their essential crop.
During the war, it was estimated that rat damage to foodstuffs cost Britain £60 million a year, more than twice pre-war levels, destroying over two million tonnes of food.
This represented hundreds of cargo-ships' worth of imports and was a huge blow to the war effort.
Hello, Angela.
Nice to meet you.
So members of the Women's Land Army were trained as specialist rat catchers by county committees and moved from farm to farm in coordinated assaults.
Professional pest control agent Angela Chettle has arrived on the farm to help Alex tackle the rat problem.
Oh, we have got a bit of an infestation here, haven't we? Look at this.
If you have a rummage, you don't need to look far, do you? Oh, look, there's definite rat droppings.
- The common rat? - Definitely.
And obviously you've got a food source as well.
So You're supplying everything they need in here.
- Shelter, food - Everything.
So what we've got to do here, then, is we've got to turn this into an anti-rat zone.
First of all, we've got to look where they're obviously accessing, which is here.
They've gnawed in here.
Rats have to gnaw.
Because of their teeth.
They never stop growing.
It's not because they like to gnaw.
They have to.
Right, so they just gnawing.
It's why they cause so much damage to buildings.
Angela has spotted yet more evidence of the problem.
Look how dark it is here, look.
So this is their feet just running up and down these boards? And their bellies are touching on it.
Look, can you see? We call it smearing.
That's what we call it.
The smearing is worsened by the fact that rats urinate on their surroundings.
So they urinate continuously on their surroundings.
But that is telling us where the rats are coming from.
Alex and Angela are going to lay some bait boxes.
We could probably get one of the tubes underneath the shed.
The bait box consists of a tube which the rat can crawl down and a glass jar full of food at the end.
So what we're doing here, then, is we're pre-baiting.
We're getting the rats familiar with this place as a feeding place.
And then we sweep in, replace all of the food with poison - and we get them in a clean hit.
- Definitely.
It's going to take a while because rats are neophobic.
They don't like new objects at all.
One pair of rats can produce almost 900 offspring a year, capable of consuming nine tonnes of wheat.
Now we need some big bricks to weigh it down because we've got the chickens roaming around the yard here.
Well, that's superb.
Sop they're the kind of baiting stations I need to be setting up.
Now, once they are taking the grain, it's a case of then filling it up with poison.
- Definitely.
- Excellent.
Alex and Peter need to take advantage of the clear weather to get going with the crucial task of making hay.
Peter has found an Allen scythe, a mechanical scythe specifically designed to tackle unusual terrain.
Its motto, "Wherever a man can walk, an Allen can cut.
" Invented in the 1930s, a new model appeared in 1943 and farmers could lease them from the Ministry of Agriculture.
The main thing, Peter, is not to hit any of the headstones.
Good luck.
Let's give it a go.
It's a bit noisier than the hand scythe, though, isn't it? The Allen scythe cuts the grass using a large-toothed cutting blade, which slides back and forth against a knife bed to give a scissor-like action.
This is the boss, basically.
This thing is in charge.
It pulls you forward.
When it's cutting, it's happy.
But then as soon as it comes out of the grass you're fighting.
To get a successful hay crop requires dry conditions, so keeping an eye on the weather was essential.
But this posed a problem for wartime farmers.
The Government banned weather forecasts for fear they could provide critical information to enemy bombers.
For five years, the British public were not officially informed if it was going to rain or shine.
We're going to have to use the old haymaker's art of rushing out here when we see the storm clouds looming and cocking the hay up.
We're going to be fighting our own mini-battle here in the churchyard.
But I have to say, if we can get this hay in, it'll provide an extra bit of nutrition for the livestock on the farm.
It's summer on the farm.
And the team's preparation for the harvest months are going well.
This was especially important in the crisis year of 1943 when increasing productivity was vital.
And the rat problem is being tackled.
They're definitely taking that.
It's almost all gone.
Time for some poison, then.
I did wonder where that vase had gone.
The dairy cows are helping Ruth's dung heap to grow.
Alex and Peter are weeding the wheat field.
This will let a little more light in at this critical period of growth.
And that light, obviously, is going to do the weeds a lot of favours.
But the jobs are mounting up and it's clear they could use some help.
In 1942, there was a huge shortage of manpower on farms.
And by 1943, the Minister of Agriculture anticipated that an extra 20,000 workers would be needed if Britain was to feed itself.
How many children have we got? 20, 30, something like that.
The Ministry of Labour proposed that children be released from school to help farmers at the most critical times of the year.
These children would form harvest camps, living in tents and working on the land by day.
The team have applied for a camp to come and assist on the farm.
It's one thing, isn't it, to work outdoors all day if you know you're going home to a nice hot bath at the end of it.
But to have to do that and be living under canvas is a whole new different thing.
- Some might call it character-building.
- Character-building.
When you read like kids' accounts of what it was like, there were obviously two sorts of farmers locally, those who supported the kids in the harvest camps and those who didn't.
And what type of farmers do you think we are, then, Peter? I think the fact that we're stood here in the rain erecting tents for these children rather than making them do it themselves, we're the type that are going to look after them, give them a good time and get the best out of them.
Normally recruits were required to be over 14 but in special circumstances younger children could also take part.
Almost 70,000 children worked in harvest camps in 1943.
Without them, producing food to feed the nation would have been almost impossible.
- How many have we got? - Looks about 20.
Hello! Have you come for our harvest camp? One of the jobs the harvest camps were involved in was new to farmers.
Collecting herbs for the pharmaceutical industry.
At the start of the war, 90% of medicines were derived from plants, mainly sourced abroad.
With imports cut off and drugs urgently needed, pharmaceutical companies turned to home-grown herbs.
Don't just pick the top.
We want the whole plant.
All right? In conjunction with Kew Gardens, the Government drew up a list of essential plants needed for drug production and paid the British public to collect them.
This was an ideal job for children.
Medical herbalist Linda Harold has come to lend her expertise.
So this was quite a commercial thing.
- We're not talking about herbalism.
- No, totally not.
We're talking about mainstream medicine, pharmaceutical companies using these things as their raw materials - and producing synthesised drugs from them.
- That is it.
So when you see pictures of people in wartime with the aspirin, the little white pill, the main painkiller of the day, it's not synthesised.
They're collecting vast quantities of meadowsweet and white willow bark - to make aspirin.
- Absolutely.
Today, the children are looking for goosegrass.
You've got loads.
What was this used for, the goosegrass? The goosegrass was used very much for treating infections.
It's very good It works on the lymphatic system.
And obviously, at that time, lots more people were ill.
Lots more infections.
But that's a really brilliant one.
- Yeah.
- For infections.
And you've got loads of it.
I'm really pleased to see loads of it.
But we're going to need a lot more than that, aren't we? That's the good thing about child labour.
You can just send them off.
I wish I had that energy.
They were so important during this time.
They picked so many herbs.
They really It was incredible, what they actually achieved.
By 1944, the children of Britain were collecting up to 4,000 tonnes of plants a year.
The hay has been drying in the churchyard.
And Peter is also making use of the harvest camp children to help him gather it up.
Now, watch your points.
We've had a really good spell of weather but I feel that the rain's coming on and we've got to get this hay cocked because otherwise it'll ruin.
It'll go black in the ground.
So the idea is to build it up into piles and the bigger the piles as possible, with a very small surface area, it just means that when the rains comes it will basically run off and it will affect very, very little hay.
We've roped in a bit of help and, well, it's mayhem.
Mind those spikes! To avoid exploitation, the Ministry of Agriculture introduced a minimum wage of sixpence an hour for under-16s.
We've got nine kids here.
They're all very, very enthusiastic.
They've all been armed with a pitchfork.
Each pitchfork has at least two spikes.
All kids have at the moment at least two eyes.
Catering for children was often done by the farmer's wife.
Today, Ruth is doing the cooking.
Government advice was quite determined that despite the difficult conditions, despite the shortness of rations, that the children should be well-fed, that they should be getting a nutritious balanced diet.
But doing that on next to nothing is not easy.
The sorts of rations that were available to those out in a tent feeding children day in, day out, two hot meals and packed lunches, were very thin indeed.
Local people were encouraged to donate supplies of foods such as fruit, vegetables and rabbit to the camps.
But these were far from abundant.
The Government issued a number of leaflets in an attempt to help people who had to do this.
It was all sorts of advice, from how to set up your field kitchen to how to store the food outdoors in these sorts of conditions through to recipes and menu planning.
They even advised how thick to slice the bread for the sandwiches.
So this recipe is a salmon loaf and this comes from one of the Government leaflets, Carried Meals, Snacks And Sandwiches.
The amounts here are either a small recipe for four or scaled up for 100 people at a time.
Ruth has made a white sauce, which she adds to the mashed potatoes before stirring in some tinned salmon.
Fresh fish was in real short supply during the war.
I mean, if you think about it, pretty much everybody who'd made their livings on the sea before the war got called up one way or another, either into the merchant navy or into the Royal Navy, in a large number of cases.
And huge amounts of British waters were out of bounds to those few fishermen who were left.
So tinned salmon coming in from Canada was one of the very few forms of fish available to most people in wartime Britain.
Tinned salmon was so popular in Britain that we became the biggest market for both US and Canadian exports.
Right, all mixed in.
Now, this gets steamed.
This just sits on top of there.
And steams or boils, whichever you want to call it, in a sort of bain-marie, for an hour and a half.
With all the challenges faced in 1943, the help provided by child labour was vital to farmers.
That's a doorstep and a half.
Children often worked an eight-hour day, so dinner was well-earned.
Righto, then.
Take yourselves a sandwich.
Come and get some hot chocolate in a minute.
It makes you hungry, doesn't it, all this hard work out in the cold.
- Who's next? - It's your turn.
Come and get yourself a sandwich.
- So, what are they like? - Yummy.
Yum, yum, yum.
- You like them? - Nice and filling, aren't they? Keep you going.
The best sandwiches.
Herbs were not the only medicinal product to be found on farms.
Honey could be used to dress wounds, due to its antiseptic properties, and help to reduce scarring.
It's still used in medicine today.
But it was also an excellent sugar substitute.
By 1943, the rationing system was really starting to bite.
And morale was suffering.
People were having to do without all of the foodstuffs they'd really enjoyed before the war.
And top of that list was sugar.
So to boost morale here on our wartime farm, I'm going to see if I can't get myself a few jars of honey by the end of the summer.
Alex is looking for a special type of bramble which grows up through bushes, creating a long stem.
I've got a very old-fashioned way of making honey.
And this bramble is going to help me in that process.
Alex is also making use of the surplus straw on the farm to create a skep, a traditional basket beehive.
To stitch it together, he'll be using the bramble.
It needs to be carefully split open and the insides removed to form a strip which is both flexible and strong.
The bramble stem is threaded through the holes in a wooden ring to create a cage for the straw to sit in.
OK? So, the idea is, that is going to thread in here And there we go.
That's the start.
Right, we're getting to the end of the wooden wheel.
So we're going to have to start now stitching into the straw and into the previous bind.
A hollowed out and sharpened turkey bone helps thread the cane through the straw.
He will keep adding layers until the basket is complete.
Ruth is processing the herbs she picked with the harvest camp.
Pharmaceutical companies would pay good money for the herbs.
A handy supplement to the farm's income.
But only if the plants were properly dried and packaged to preserve their active ingredients.
Up to 80% of the herb's weight is lost during drying.
That's how much water you need to drive off.
And of course, to do that effectively, the air needs to get all the way around the herbs.
And you don't want anywhere where things are against each other and moisture can get trapped.
Because if you do, rot'll set in.
And that includes turning things regularly.
Another day or two and they'll be ready to be packed up.
The ideal temperature for drying herbs is around 35 degrees Celsius.
On a damp day like today, then this comes into play.
The stove.
Which is just turning out a little gentle heat.
I don't want too much.
I don't want to cook anything.
I just want to maintain warm airflow through the whole space.
This shed's beautifully ventilated.
So the air in here, which can get As all this moisture comes off the herbs, the damp is driven up by the heat and can make its way out.
So the first things I do when I get them back is to sort of go through the herbs and pick them clean.
Because the pharmaceutical companies will only buy top quality.
This is sage, of course.
Pharmaceutical companies will only pay fivepence a pound for dried sage.
I've got a lot of it.
So it's worth my doing.
Foxglove, however, that was much more lucrative.
All the seed that I'm drying out.
Now, that retailed for seven and six a pound.
That's a lot more than fivepence.
And even the leaves were one shilling and threepence.
Foxglove was so valuable because of its ability to lower blood pressure.
But it must be handled with care, as it's extremely poisonous.
When I've finished here, the last job I will have to do, as I leave the shed, will be to block up all the windows to keep the light out.
Because sunlight, UV light, helps to decay the essential ingredients in the plants.
So they don't only need it warm, they also need it dark.
Alex's skep is complete.
During the war, a colony of honeybees could be purchased for around three pounds.
But beekeeping expert Mike Holloway has brought one along for free.
- Hello, Mike.
- Hello, Alex.
I apologise for my lack of mobility.
- I've turned my ankle over.
- Oh, dear, oh, dear.
But thanks ever so much for coming down.
- Great to see you.
- And you.
Now, first things first, obviously, is the skep inspection.
So tell me what you think of that.
- I think - You can be honest, Mike.
I don't mind.
I think you've done a proper job there, Alex.
Unlike with a wooden hive containing removable frames, Alex won't be able to inspect the bees' progress.
But as it's made from surplus materials, the skep is a good, cheap and disposable wartime alternative.
Now, the other thing I've made as well is a sort of top compartment.
Because my understanding of this is that we can get the queen and the brood in here and her young in here, - but we can deprive her access to this top area.
- Indeed.
But the workers can still get in there and produce comb and honey.
What we will have to do is put a grille across there, which is with spaces in large enough for workers to get through, - too small for the queen to go through.
- Great.
Mike has already prepared a straw and nettle shelter for the skep.
Talk me through the process.
Now, you've brought a colony here.
It was a swarm that we picked up yesterday.
And I've actually got the queen We've got her in a little cage here.
She's in there, then? Indeed she is.
That's a sort of old-school hair curler.
Is that one of your hair curlers, Mike? I wish! Well, we'll just put this on to make sure we don't get any little stings.
You don't want a sting to the face.
And we'll make sure the queen goes into your skep.
And all the other bees will follow.
Mike's swarm contains around 10,000 bees.
He introduces a few into Alex's skep before placing it in the shelter.
Put that down for a moment.
We don't want them all coming out of the top, do we, so I'll put this on - the top.
- Well done.
That should keep them interested in there.
So we'll just shake those out onto there.
When bees are swarming, their honey stomachs are full, making it difficult for them to sting.
In the hands of experts, they're safe to work with, which is why Alex and Mike aren't wearing gloves.
Bees naturally tend to crawl upwards.
So the sheet is placed at a gradient.
Now we're hoping that they find that entrance, yeah? The queen is released near the edge of the skep.
Pop her out.
There she goes.
And the bees will follow her scent inside.
It's almost as if someone's put a call out and all of a sudden they are racing up that sheet to get into that skep.
That's amazing, Mike.
- Isn't it fascinating? - That is absolutely wonderful to watch.
- It's like water running uphill, isn't it? - It is.
If you notice, there are some bees that have got their tails in the air.
- Like that one there.
- Oh, yeah.
And there.
All around the periphery of the slope.
They are actually fanning an attractant pheromone which is bringing down these bees that are flying to go into the skep and join the queen.
It is a happy sound, isn't it, that you can hear? These bees.
- This is a happy sound, yeah? - Yes.
In May 1943, the British people received a much-needed morale boost.
RAF Squadron 617, better known as the Dambusters, had destroyed two major German dams and there was a surge of public interest in RAF bombers.
In desperate need of funds, the Government seized on this enthusiasm by launching the Wings for Victory Fundraising Scheme.
The scheme encouraged people to do yet more for the war effort, by saving money in Government bonds.
- It is quite a difficult moment, isn't it? - Mm.
You know, sort of we've been on the defensive for so long and seeing ourselves as the victims here.
And suddenly we get in a point where, no, no, we're going to become the aggressors.
And at the end of the day, the Germans had been pouring bombs on British cities but how did British people feel about then doing the very same to German women and children? It is always this dilemma with any form of aggression.
The Wings for Victory Scheme relied on local fundraising drives.
Well, I obviously don't think we should set about raising funds to buy bombs to bomb people.
But I do think we should have some kind of party to reflect some of these fundraising activities.
The team are organising a Wings for Victory fundraising dance.
Even with a war on, women still wanted to look good.
And Ruth is after a new dress.
At the outbreak of war, Britain was one of the leading textile manufacturers in the world.
But it relied on raw materials from abroad, and these soon became scarce.
Clothes rationing started in 1941.
And the Board of Trade introduced a scheme of utility fashion, where the Government regulated the cloth, price, quality and even style of the clothes being produced.
Many women started creating their own clothes.
Ruth wants to make a new dress and she's found a novel source of fabric.
We've all heard of parachute silk dresses but that's not the only source of fabric that people turned to.
This is quite an ingenious one.
Look, I've got a flour sack.
They have to be made of cloth one way or another.
The manufacturers had cottoned on that if they made it in an attractive sort of material, people would buy their brand rather than somebody else's brand.
So you get this sort of thing.
It's amazing, isn't it? This is a flour sack.
So the whole of this sort of advertising stuff here can just peel straight off.
It's only held on with flour and water paste.
There's a little bit here.
It says, "To remove Paper Band, Soak in Water.
" They knew that's what people were going to do.
So this is my cunning plan for my summer dress.
A couple of flour sacks.
Alex's bees will take some weeks to start producing honey.
He wants to prepare some as a thank you to the children from the harvest camp.
So Mike has lent him a comb from one of his hives.
These cells on this frame are used by the worker bees to store surplus honey.
And what they do is they then cap it over with wax so that they can come back to it and feed throughout the winter.
To extract the honey, the comb is scraped out of the frame.
And I think those little kids at our dance are just going to be so grateful for this stuff.
They're going to love it.
The next step is to pound the comb, breaking down the wax and honey.
This is quite a workout, this.
Right, I think that is now pounded enough.
It's certainly a lot finer grain than this stuff here.
So that is now ready to go into the muslin sheet.
So I just lay the sheet over this bowl.
Now the theory is that the honey is that much finer grained than the wax.
So it will pour through the weave of this muslin sheet.
And already actually you can see we've got some coming through.
During the war the price of honey was regulated and it could only be sold for around two shillings and sixpence per pound.
About four pounds in today's money.
I think we've got the right temperature in the room to do this.
Of course, I'd love to have been sat outside doing this catching the last few rays of sunshine.
But I would have had every bee in the county breathing down my neck.
Not only is our house bomb-proof, it's also bee-proof.
As the war progressed and the pressure on imports became even greater, clothes rationing grew ever tighter.
In 1941, a year's worth of coupons would have purchased a whole new outfit.
But by 1943, the clothing allowance had almost halved.
As a way of getting round the shortages, women formed communal sewing pools.
Ruth's enlisted the help of Jean Haines to turn her flour sack into a new dress for the fund-raising dance.
Oh, that's not bad, is it? That's quite a reasonable skirt width.
But we haven't got enough fabric to cut the skirt in a one-piece, so we've had to do a bit of asymmetrical lines on it - and we've got it in two.
- Making a virtue of a necessity.
There isn't enough material to go cutting away as we want to do, so we really have to cut tight.
Minimising fabric waste was of vital importance.
And there were strict government rules dictating the number of pockets, seams and even buttons garments could have.
'40s fashion was really dictated by this need for clever cutting, for using the minimum of fabric.
It was all very, very cleverly put together.
There were darts, there were gathers.
Collars were detachable because you could have one blouse, three colours, three outfits.
Sewing pools increased in popularity throughout the war.
They not only provided the equipment for dressmaking but also some much-needed expertise.
The youngsters, and particularly the young townies coming out into the countryside, they just hadn't picked up those skills in quite the same way.
So it was a way of learning as well as sharing equipment.
That's right.
Making do with what you could get.
While Ruth prepares for the fundraising dance, Peter has urgent work to do with the hay.
It's been drying in the churchyard and now he must bring it in before the rain comes.
He's going to take advantage of a baling machine, something that increased in use during the war thanks to Ministry of Agriculture's scheme of lending equipment and experienced operators to farmers.
Mr Evans.
How are you? Not so bad.
- We've brought you some hay.
- Yeah.
- And you've got a baler.
- Yeah.
So this sort of baler would have gone round the farms.
Round different farms on contract.
- What, from the War Ag? - War Ag, yeah.
Farmer Maurice Evans still uses his Massey Harris 701 baler today.
It was one of the first machines that could be moved around a field collecting hay as it went as well as being used as a static baler.
So these spikes here are picking up the hay, taking it in here, and it's going up into the auger.
I can't even get the lid open.
Oh, wow.
Righty, I wasn't expecting that.
So the hay is coming up into here, the Archimedes screw, the auger, is pushing it this way and into that hay box.
Obviously, the bale comes out there, I take it.
And that pushes it down into the chamber.
- Sorry, what is this? - That's a knotter.
- A knotter? - Yeah.
- Looks like something out of science fiction.
- Yeah.
I mean, this really is farming being dragged into the modern world.
I mean, a farmer during the Second World War Previously there were ricks.
Ricks are a lot of work.
They used to put it in ricks and then it got to the stage where they could sell the hay but they had to carry it loose and then it would be all up the road.
So then they decided they'd hire a baler in, take the loose hay out of the rick and bale it up and put it on the trailer and it would be easier for transport.
That looks absolutely lethal.
This might look like a lot of hay but it isn't.
Not after this machine's finished with it.
It's going to reduce this down to maybe six bales tops.
So it just emphasises how much easier it must have made it for someone farming during that period in the war to be able to transport the hay, to be able to gauge exactly how much they had and of course to be able to sell any surplus.
This is looking pretty good.
There's certainly a split there.
In fact, that is a hay bale.
That's a really good hay bale, actually.
That's one of the best hay bales I've ever seen.
But it's my hay bale.
It's the hay that I've cut in the churchyard and baled up.
That is awesome.
Beauty products were abundant in Britain during the 1930s but the outbreak of war meant many of the raw ingredients were no longer available.
Although makeup wasn't rationed, cosmetics companies were only making a quarter of pre-war amounts.
But for women it was important to still look their best.
With her dress finished and hair washed, Ruth and her daughter Eve have called upon the services of historic makeup specialists Sharon and Gloria to help them get ready for the Wings for Victory dance.
I've been having a bit of a look in all the women's magazines and there's an enormous number of articles about hair and makeup.
"Beauty Tightens the Belt.
It's our patriotic duty to cut down a bit on cosmetics but you can still stay lovely" But it is a huge issue of morale now when we come into wartime.
- Still trying to look good and look your best - Yeah.
is a sense of actually being defiant.
You know, you would be letting the side down if you let yourself go.
Let's have a little bit of that in there, then, Gloria.
In the absence of factory-made products, women employed home-made methods to enhance their looks, including using sugar water to set their hair.
Some ladies used beer but when we spoke to our great-aunt about it, she said, "If there was any beer around we would have drunk it.
" Beauty was seen as such a morale booster that the Minister of Labour made skilled hairdressers exempt from conscription.
Almost all hair styles in the '40s required the hair to be curled, taking inspiration from the Hollywood movie stars of the day.
So the finger wave technique is to use your comb and fingers to push the hair into flat S-shaped waves.
And when the hair has dried, it does create a beautiful wave.
Ruth's hairstyle requires flat pin-curls at the front, which will add definition, and larger barrel curls at the back for volume.
I feel really weird like this.
- Do I look weird? - Yes.
Glamour in the making.
Glamour in the making.
Female munitions workers also had a special allowance of high-end makeup to wear in the factories, raising their spirits as they laboured in often grimy conditions.
For a period that was very austere, it's still very glamorous.
So a cream rouge just to give a bit of a flush.
You get them starting to use mascaras.
They came in a little block there and a brush.
And you'd mix it with water or a bit of spit.
And brush it on.
And this was something which started off as a little pack of product for men to use on their beards and moustaches.
So from men's vanity came a product which women could use.
Isn't that fantastic? My God! Well, wait till you get the lippy on.
The hay baling is going well.
But to maximise efficiency, it's vital that Peter gets it finished while he still has access to the baler.
When I said that we'd get six bales out of this load, I didn't actually think we'd get six bales.
But we have.
Now you could probably get three times this amount on a trailer.
So that means you can use less fuel in your tractor.
It's just so beneficial having these bales.
But we've got hay all over this farm.
We need to get it in, we need to get it baled.
I'll get another load.
It'll take me into the evening.
So I don't think I'm going to make this dance tonight.
America had entered the war in December 1941 following the attack on Pearl Harbor.
From 1942, US troops poured into Britain, including more than 130,000 African-American servicemen.
They brought with them a new phenomenon.
The jive.
Occasions like this provided an escape from the drudgery of everyday life as well as raising money for the Government's Wings for Victory National Savings Scheme.
Whoa! You certainly scrubbed up.
That's a new dress, isn't it? There may be a war on but some people can still turn out well, can't they? - But you haven't noticed the shoes.
- That's the sign of a hard-working farm girl.
Wow! - It's great, isn't it? - I can tell the Americans are in town.
Joseph Sewell is an expert in jive and swing dancing.
It's an infectious dance.
You can't find a dance for dancing that's not smiling.
It's just impossible.
It's such a vibrant form of dance, isn't it? I mean, what is it officially called? The dance that we're doing is called Lindy Hop.
It's an African-American dance.
When you had the black GIs coming across and brought the real deal, the Lindy Hop, that's when it really started, you know, to take off.
It must have made such an enormous impact in village halls up and down the country.
I guess the white dancing would have been a little bit more subdued.
Once the GIs started chucking the ladies around, it would have blown people's socks off.
But it would have made everyone feel good that was watching.
There is one thing here that wouldn't really have happened during the war and that's black and white GIs being in the same dance.
The Americans brought with them not only their dance but they also brought their social attitudes and their segregation that we weren't used to here.
Yes, the white GIs would not tolerate being in the same building as the black GIs.
African-American troops frequently came over in advance of the white GIs and had established themselves in local communities.
When white GIs arrived and tried to impose segregation, they often met a stony response from the British people.
Think we could have a go? Show us how to do it? Absolutely.
Two fine young ladies like yourselves.
Ladies, get ready for the time of your life.
- Ooh, sorry.
- You're doing well.
The Lindy Hop was developed by mixing established dances like the Breakaway and the Charleston, becoming popular at the Savoy Ballroom in Harlem.
This new style spread like wildfire.
Whoo! Wow! That was fantastic, Joseph.
Tuck into that and tell me what you think.
The children from the harvest camp have also come along to the jive, and have had some bread and honey as a farewell treat.
One of the main reasons for these sorts of events was to raise money for the war effort, wasn't it? Yeah.
National Savings Certificates.
A system whereby ordinary people, instead of putting money in the bank, gave it to the Government.
Nearly four million pounds at their prices, which, when you think of what that means today, it's just vast.
How would we have done it without the savings of ordinary people? They made it possible for us to win.
Hopefully while we're all here Peter will finish baling that hay.
- That's a must-do job.
- Yeah.
And the children, haven't they been an enormous help? - You know, just done loads.
- It's been great to have them around and I sort of feel like we've generally boosted morale here on the farm.
But it's all to play for in the next couple of months.
It's make or break season.
We've got to bring in a wartime harvest and it's not going to be easy.
Despite another year of hardship at home, farmers' efforts in the fields would not go unrewarded.
1943 would see Britain's biggest acreage of crops, not just in the Second World War but in the history of the country.

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