Event details

Events at Grizedale - Exhibition Space
Free event for on 19 May until 10 December

They played a vital role in the war effort and spearheaded the careers of women working in the forestry industry to this day. Now, the remarkable careers of the Women’s Timber Corps is to be celebrated through a special exhibition here at Grizedale.

In 1939 Britain was the largest timber-importing nation in the world, with 96% of the country’s needs coming from overseas and only 14,000 men employed in the forestry industry. With the outbreak of the Second World War came a sudden need to produce millions of tonnes of timber, just as thousands of young men were conscripted. As a result, the Women’s Timber Corps was established in 1942 and up to 18,000 young women aged between 17 and 24 left their homes (often for the very first time) to take up axes and saws – bringing gender stereotypes crashing down as well as trees!

Battling discrimination, the women referred to as the ‘Lumberjills’ rose to the challenge of the hard physical labour involved, some even felling trees in a blizzard to prove the naysayers wrong. Their commitment and dedication made a tangible difference to the war effort, with the timber produced used in railways, mining, aircraft and even for charcoal gas mask filters. Yet, whilst many may have heard of the Women’s Land Army – the story of their Lumberjill colleagues has been all but forgotten, until now.

Forests through the generations

In a first-of-its-kind celebration of women in forestry, the Forestry CommissionForestry England and Forest Research, supported by Defra, have commissioned The People’s Picture to create a photo mosaic. The mosaic will feature women from across the forestry sector and general public to illustrate the connection today’s women have with forests and woodlands.