ywca yeovil war workers' club

ywca yeovil war workers' club

Vicarage Street

 

During the Second World War the Young Women's Christian Association (YWCA) was one of many voluntary organisations that worked relentlessly for the war effort. The women of the YWCA worked to construct support systems for their neighbours and refugees, often with exceedingly limited resources. In Yeovil the YWCA established the Yeovil War Workers' Club which was housed in the premises of Neal & Williams Ltd in Vicarage Street.

As seen in the photographs below the club provided a canteen and a laundry, as well as rest and relaxation facilities for Yeovil's war workers. Instructional classes were run on a voluntary basis such as the "Make Do & Mend" class illustrated below.

"Make Do and Mend" came about when clothes rationing was introduced during the Second World War. The Ministry of Information published a pamphlet encouraging people to do whatever they could to extend the life of their clothes, from darning socks to washing nylons more carefully. This attitude went on to apply to everything and although they didn’t use the term, reduce, reuse, recycle became the ethos of the times.

 

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Courtesy of the Imperial War Museum

A group of men and women arrive at the YWCA Yeovil War Workers' Club in 1944. The club was housed in premises in Vicarage Street, occupied by ironmongers and builders' merchants Neal & Williams Ltd.

 


Courtesy of the Imperial War Museum

A view of the busy canteen at the YWCA Yeovil War Workers' Club in Yeovil in 1944. According to the original caption, prices were very reasonable, with tea costing 2d, coffee 3d and hot snacks 6d. Groups chat at tables in the foreground, whilst in the background men and women queue at the counter to buy refreshments.

 


Courtesy of the Imperial War Museum

Two female war workers enjoy a game of table tennis at the YWCA Yeovil War Workers' Club in Vicarage Street, whilst several male members of the club watch them as they play.

 


Courtesy of the Imperial War Museum

A scene in a "Make Do and Mend" class at the YWCA Yeovil War Workers' Club in Vicarage Street during 1944. Amongst the group are Mrs Norman, who worked in the library and ran the class as a voluntary war job; Joan Keith, a draughtswoman at Westlands; Eileen Hampshere; Margaret Yeoman and Mrs Iris Connor, who made gloves for RAF pilots. Two of the women are pinning a paper pattern to some fabric, another is ironing, and a third is darning socks by hand.

 


Courtesy of the Imperial War Museum

Elsie Richards (left) and Margaret Yeoman (right) wash their clothes in the laundry provided at the YWCA Yeovil War Workers' Club in Yeovil in 1944. Both women worked at Westlands. Elsie is wringing her clothes through the mangle and Margaret is washing her items in the sink.

 


Courtesy of Yeovil - A Trip Back to the Past

Looking eastwards towards the bend in Vicarage Street in the late 1970s. At extreme left is the Albion Inn, then the junction of Vincent Street, on the opposite corner was the building that had been the Army & Navy Stores. The modern building at centre had been Neal & Williams Ltd premises which, during the Second World War, had been the venue for the YWCA Yeovil War Workers Club. Next was the entrance to the Council's Town Yard and finally, at right, the Methodist church - the only building in this scene that remains today.