Discovering the archives

Photo credit: The Library of Birmingham
Mills Munition Factory, Newtown, Birmingham
On Wednesday 10th February Richard and I met with Nicola & Nikki from the People's Heritage Co op (
to look at some World War One archive material from the collection at the Library of Birmingham. We were particularly struck by images from the Mills and Kynoch munitions factories, which show young girls taking a full part in the production of grenades and other ammunition. 

 This asked some profound questions that we would like to explore with students, not least that children were helping to keep the front supplied whilst their fathers and brothers suffered from similar ordnance produced by Germany. We wondered if the factory workers were entirely aware of what they were doing, and also how children could continue to be children as the war became ever more ferocious and demanding of families and communities. Another photograph was similarly humbling, this showed a group of children in the back of a children's charity truck with a huge, heartbreaking banner. 

Photo credit: The Library of Birmingham

Matt Hinks