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Commemorating the 60th anniversary of the end of the Second World War – University of Reading

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Commemorating the 60th anniversary of the end of the Second World War

Release Date 10 May 2005

Marguerite PattenWith 2005 representing the sixtieth anniversary of the end of World War II, The University of Reading's School of Continuing Education and Museum of English Rural Life (MERL) are holding a number of dayschools, talks and an exhibition, all focusing on aspects of the Second World War. Between now and the end of the year the University is running a series of public events, including lectures by fascinating guest speakers, a visit to the Imperial War Museum in London and a special display of rarely seen photographs and exhibits at MERL. The events get underway on Saturday 14 May with a free dayschool called Dig for Victory! Feeding Britain after the War being held at MERL between 10.30am and 4pm. Dr Roy Brigden, Keeper of MERL, said: "During the Second World War, everyone was encouraged to 'Dig for Victory' and the country survived on the agricultural efforts of ordinary people, the Women's Land Army and evacuees. The fighting may have finished in 1945, but rationing of food didn't." At this dayschool, Marguerite Patten OBE will discuss her experiences running the Ministry of Food Bureau at Harrods and advising millions of people how to turn their rations into appetising meals. Dr Brigden will look at the tremendous contribution made by members of the Women's Land Army to the wartime effort and beyond. Dr Martin Parsons, Director of the University's Research Centre for Evacuee and War Child Studies, will talk about the evacuation experiences of both children and parents during the war and how they adjusted to country life. There will be a further three dayschools taking place on Saturdays 21 May, 4 June and 11 June. On Saturday 21 May, When Daddy came home: demobilisation and the Second World War will look at the experiences of the four million servicemen and women who came home to Britain at the end of the War. On Saturday 4 June, Poetry of the Second World War will explore the works of legendary Wartime poets such as Dylan Thomas, Edith Sitwell and Henry Reed. On Saturday 11 June, Lest we forget: the Imperial War Museum will provide an introduction and visit to the illustrious museum. From Tuesday 5 July until December, MERL will be holding a special exhibition of photographs and objects – called Dig for Victory: the 'Forgotten Army' – from the Museum's collections to tell the stories of the Women's Land Army, Prisoners of War and evacuees who prevented Britain from starving in the post-War years. For further information about the dayschools (prices vary), please contact the School of Continuing Education on 0118 378 8347 or email For more information about the Museum exhibition, please contact MERL on 0118 378 8660 or email End Notes for editors -Images from the MERL archive and of Marguerite Patten are available for the media upon request. -Karen Brown, of the School of Continuing Education, is available for interview. Please contact Karen Brown on 0118 378 6754 or Alternatively, contact Craig Hillsley, the University's press officer on 0118 378 7388 or email

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