I just returned from a week in London and managed to spend two fantastic mornings at the Imperial War Museum doing research on the women police in World War I. I also caught a fabulous play, War Horse, that dealt with the realities of warfare through the eyes of a horse - the puppetry was amazing and there was not a dry eye in the theatre at the end. The week turned out to revolve around the war in so many ways- not least because it was the week leading up to Remembrance Day (today). I think the British know how to pay tribute to the past in a way few other cultures can and the past truly resonates for me when I am in London.
My research turned up some real gems. Not only did I get to read the diary of a woman police officer but I also got to hear an interview with her from the mid 1980's which brought her vividly to life. The documents I got to see included an amazing array of photographs including a studio portrait of her dog 'Rip' and his official pass to accompany her into one of the munitions factories. It was hilarious to see so much dedicated to her dog! The police woman worked in munition factories across Britain and her diary provided insight not just into the life of a female police officer during the war but also the horrific conditions under which the female munition workers had to perform their duties. It was truly fascinating - and I can't wait to use the material!