All posts by Cathie Marriage

Heritage Open Days 2020 : My experience as a 1940s farmworker

I have attended the Norfolk Guides 1940s camp three times.

This incredible camp takes place at Gressenhall Farm. The camp is open to Guides and Rangers, who over the course of the camp travel back in time! The camp is styled like an authentic 1940s camp; from the food served to the tents the girls sleep in. Girls take part in 1940s style activities and traditions. Each camp, girls who attend work towards different interest/proficiency badges that were available to Guides at the time.

During my time as a 1940s Guide I have gained my Needlewoman, Cook and First Aid badges as well 2nd Class Guide and 1st Class Guide rank. One of the badges that I enjoyed completing the most was Farmworker. This was the first ever badge that I completed at 1940s Guide camp and it remains special.

Completing this badge at Gressenhall was fantastic! I helped harvest crops and fed some of the farm animals. I learnt new skills and gained a lot of knowledge about farming and the traditional techniques used. For example, I learnt about hay ricks, where hay is constructed into stacks with conical tops. This allows moisture to run off sides of the hay. This is important because it prevents the accumulation of moisture and allows the hay to dry out.

Completing this badge gave me a much greater appreciation for farming. It revealed to me the effort and work that goes into creating the food on our plates. This is especially true in the 1940s when much of the machinery that has greatly speeded up farming today was non-existent. Completing this badge during a 1940s Guide camp was significant.

During the war, some Girl Guide units volunteered on farms as “land girls”. Many farms needed this help as there was a lack of male labour. Some units would help and in return were offered a place to camp on the farm. Exploring the history of this badge therefore helps us to understand one of the important ways in which Guides helped the war effort.

I think the Farmworker is an important badge which still has relevance today because it allows girls to understand the relationship between people and the land. Completing this badge made me more interested in where my food comes from!

In a time of phones, the internet, and social media it’s so important that we continue to connect with nature. So why not check out the syllabuses for the multiple variations of this badge and see how many points you can check off.

Are you a proficient Farmworker? Have a look at this website where you can explore different variations of the Farmworker badge. 

History Begins at Home Project

Connecting People. Creating History

From the website:

History Begins at Home is all about helping you connect with family and friends through conversation about the past. Chatting with the people you know and love gives us a great sense of well-being and taking the time to do it right now during these extraordinary times, adds further magic. Try it and you will see.

We want to get you chatting with each-other about a whole host of memories from the past – from toys, food and hobbies to cars, TV ads, programmes, music and travel. Join the conversation, create new memories to treasure, and share your stories. We will help you along the way.

A fantastic project, led by the Norfolk Record Office, with guiding included and if you need any prompts about things to talk about they are supplied too, online. Get in touch if you would like them sent to you.

Many thanks to members of Girlguiding Norfolk who helped pilot this part of the project!

Could you make contact with local units and offer to chat to them to share your memories? Via telephone is fine… doesn’t need to be face-to-face!


Virtual work experience at the ARC July 2020

Work experience continues, even during lockdown!

Three girls arrived at the ARC this week, via Zoom! How amazing is that? They were there to spend a week with us doing work experience… and my what a lot of work they experienced! They were awesome and in fact probably achieved more whilst working at home than they would have done at the ARC…. Or it was a different type of work achieved, probably more intense, because it had to be done using our collection which is online or through research.

Two zoom meetings daily included work for the day, information, etc. Several of our volunteers came along to support what we were doing and the girls enjoyed that aspect of others contributing too.

The girls achieved such a lot, including the following, which was not everything!

They worked towards information for a geocaching trail and for Heritage Open Days, did transcription of logbooks and created posters using Canva. Admin included working on our Living in Lockdown badge, sorting lists of numbers, writing for Facebook and researching for information to add to our collection. A quiz has been produced, a podcast, ideas for a reminiscence project… and the list goes on!

And they would like to do more! If you want to join in next time, please get in touch…. We will be having a few more days later in the summer holidays.

Feedback from the girls was lovely, and the ARC volunteers were blown away by what they achieved!  Thank you so much girls.

On our closed Facebook group the girls wrote afterwards:

From Megan:  I just wanted to say thank you for organising this week Helen, I’ve really enjoyed myself and to all the other ARC volunteers for helping us out at the Zoom meetings. Thank you Amelia and Sophie, you have made my work experience week amazing and I hope one day we can meet each other at the ARC.

From Amelia: Thank you for such a fantastic experience; I have loved every minute and its been an honour to meet and work with such a fantastic group of women. Thank you for all your hard work which made this experience possible. I would love to keep supporting the work the ARC does from my home, especially over the sum so please keep in touch.

From Sophie: Thank you very much for the past week, it’s absolutely flown by and I enjoyed every minute of it! It was wonderful to work with such amazing and passionate volunteers, and I felt so welcomed. Would love to stay involved in what the ARC is doing, especially during the summer.

A message to current and previous members of Girlguiding… from the County Archivist!

If you are making the most of this Lockdown Time, please give the ARC a thought too!!

You might want to write your guiding history, especially if it features Norfolk.   Don’t forget to include those funny anecdotes and mention of interesting characters in guiding.  We may also try to do an audio interview with you, and then it would be great to have a photo too. It is possible to do these over the phone.

This is Rita, who was interviewed recently, in a photo as a Ranger then and now.

If you are sorting items with a view to giving them to the ARC, we are keen to focus on Norfolk items in particular. Please list what you have so we can look at this prior to bringing items if possible. We are particularly interested in logbooks, magazines, Blue Sheets, old books, old uniforms, badges and photographs! Not a lot!! We like everything really and look forward to seeing what treasures you have!



Catherine has collected her badges and displayed them beautifully. She isn’t ready to donate them yet but don’t they look lovely?




Always remember it is very important we have the five W’s for items please… This provides the provenance for an item… and this includes photos too. 

We need to know     Who, Why, What, When and Where  

Find out more about how you can donate items

Deed of Gift 

Object Entry list with sample 


We look forward to hearing from you, many thanks.

Helen Green

Girlguiding Norfolk County Archivist