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RHS Harlow Carr to host Dig for Victory exhibition

PUBLISHED: 00:00 29 January 2019

Front cover of the 1940 pamphlet, 'Simple Vegetable Cooking' published by the Royal Horticultural Society as a companion to the 'Growmore' bulletin no 1. of the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries. This pamphlet sold 24,000 copies in its first few months of publication

Front cover of the 1940 pamphlet, 'Simple Vegetable Cooking' published by the Royal Horticultural Society as a companion to the 'Growmore' bulletin no 1. of the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries. This pamphlet sold 24,000 copies in its first few months of publication

© RHS

What did you grow in the war? Experts want to hear from you

Chart inside a Ministry of Agriculture leaflet with advice on how to cultivate vegetables all year round. This leaflet was part of the 'Dig for Victory' campaign encouraging civilian Britain in efficient food production during World War II. The Royal Horticultural Society was involved in this campaign in an advisory and editorial role from 1939 onwardsChart inside a Ministry of Agriculture leaflet with advice on how to cultivate vegetables all year round. This leaflet was part of the 'Dig for Victory' campaign encouraging civilian Britain in efficient food production during World War II. The Royal Horticultural Society was involved in this campaign in an advisory and editorial role from 1939 onwards

An appeal is being made for pictures of wartime vegetable gardens to mark the 80 years since the out outbreak of World War II and the launch of the Dig for Victory campaign

The call is being made by the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) which wants to exhibit them alongside advisory material and wartime propaganda that inspired people to grow more food to supplement ration-book diets, at its library and gardens – including RHS Garden Harlow Carr in Harrogate - in the autumn.

The RHS began working with the Ministry of Agriculture on the Dig for Victory campaign at the point at which war broke out in 1939, having already begun making detailed plans in preparation for war in 1938. Advice was distributed via pamphlets, leaflets and an exhibition that toured towns and villages across the country. There were guides to cultivating vegetables all year round, the storing of produce and making a compost heap.

With wartime shortages, gardeners had to show a great deal of ingenuity, creating vegetable plots in unlikely places. Employees at the Wolsey Motors in Birmingham made cloches out of scrap car windscreens for their workplace allotment. By 1943 it was estimated that around 55 per cent of households were growing fruit and vegetables and their efforts made an important contribution to the nation’s health.

Front cover of A Ministry of Agriculture leaflet with advice on how to cultivate vegetables all year round. This leaflet was part of the 'Dig for Victory' campaign encouraging civilian Britain in efficient food production during World War IIFront cover of A Ministry of Agriculture leaflet with advice on how to cultivate vegetables all year round. This leaflet was part of the 'Dig for Victory' campaign encouraging civilian Britain in efficient food production during World War II

Fiona Davison, head of Libraries and Collections at the Royal Horticultural Society, said: ‘RHS information and advice helped get a nation growing at a time when food supplies were at an historic low. Many are likely to recall parents and relatives turning previously unloved plots into efficient and prolific green spaces. We’re asking the public to share those pictures and memories with us so we can celebrate the contribution of gardening to our wartime history.’ u

Photographs and additional information for the Dig for Victory exhibit should be sent to libraryenquirieslondon@rhs.org.uk. Dig for Victory will be on display at RHS Garden Harlow Carr, Harrogate from October 14th-November 17th. For more information, visit 
rhs.org.uk.

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