The changing face of work and social life in the Forest of Dean in the second half of the twentieth century.
EPIS0DE 6: This Land is Our Land: The Forest of Dean
The Forest sheep and their shepherds, more commonly known as ‘ship’ and their ‘badgers’, have a special significance in the Forest of Dean where they freely roam. The Forest Charter of 1217 allowed people living in forests the freedom to collect wood for fuel and the right to graze livestock. Whereas the Magna Carta made the Barons more powerful, the Forest Charter was exceptional in providing protection for ordinary people who inhabited forests. After the industrial revolution the traditions based on the Charter, and the opportunity to fish on the Severn and Wye, provided a source of sustenance and income when work was precarious and household income barely covered subsistence.
In ‘This Land is Our Land’ we explore how the ability to turn out the domestic pig, cattle and sheep was challenged by modernisation, authorities and regulation after the Second World War. Hear from the foresters working for the Forestry Commission; the last charcoal burners; and the commoners who turned out sheep and pigs and who were labelled ‘unprincipled rogues’. Learn about the impact of motor vehicles, the hazards of fishing on the river, and how determined attempts to remove grazing rights went to the heart of government but faltered when all seemed lost. In our last podcast in this series we end by looking at how the new century brought an even greater challenge than legislation could ever bring.
Presented by Dr Roger Deeks, with contributions from Steve Cooper, Bart Venner, Clayton Ryder, Fred Thomas, Kelvyn and Carol Jones, Gordon Brooks, Charlie Penn, Henry Mills, Mr and Mrs George Hogg, Nigel Isaac, Mick Holder, Thomas Preece, and John Thomas. Thanks also to Caroline Prosser-Lodge and Cheryl Mayo. Additional material voiced by Amanda Deeks and Emily Wood. This podcast is made possible through the support of the National Lottery Heritage Fund and University of Gloucestershire.
EPISODE 5: The Rise & Fall of the Factories in the Forest of Dean
In this episode hear about how the factories arrived in the Forest with the promise of better conditions, more pay and the hope of secure employment for men and women. The old workplace names such as Cannop, Princess Royal, Northern United were replaced with Carters, Pine End, Meredith and Drew, Rosedale, Duramin, J. Allen Rubber and British Nylon Spinners and the biggest of them all, Rank Xerox. Councils, trade unions and the Forest’s MP sought to remove the historical dependency on a single industry. We investigate how the great shift to factory work happened and how people adapted to the roller coaster ride of the rise and fall of the factories.
Presented by Dr Roger Deeks, with contributions from Mike Hinton, Meryl Teague, Roger Turley, Glenda Griffiths, Gill Phelps, Pat Harper, Jo Lewer, Maurice Phelps and Graham Jones. Thanks also to Caroline Prosser-Lodge, Cheryl Mayo and Emily Hughes. This podcast was made possible through the support of the National Lottery Heritage Fund, and the University of Gloucestershire.
EPISODE 4: Women & Work in the Forest of Dean
In this episode hear from women about their working lives in the Forest of Dean and how the choices facing them expanded in the years after the Second World War. A forgotten army of young Forest women had for generations faced the prospect of Domestic Service, often outside the Forest where they were isolated from their families. The growth of factory work, access to further and higher education and new technologies at home and in the work place, all created new opportunities. However, there were still boundaries, with work defined as ‘mens’’ and ‘womens’’ work, and constraints that came with being married and having children.
Presented by Dr Roger Deeks, with contributions from Emily Wood, Ivy Gunter, Jo Lewer, Amy Wynn-Williams, Ruth Dainty, Gill Phelps, Rosa Taylor, George Hogg, Pam Stratford, Glenda Griffiths, Meryl Teague, Roy Close and Pam Box. Thanks also to Caroline Prosser-Lodge, Cheryl Mayo, Emily Hughes and Amanda Deeks. This podcast Is made possible through the support of the National Lottery Heritage Fund, and the University of Gloucestershire.
EPISODE 3: Men & Work in the Forest of Dean
In this episode hear from Forest of Dean men whose working lives were irrevocably changed by the closing of the collieries, foundries and related occupations in the twenty years from 1945. They describe the dangers and threats to personal safety in those work places and the consequences for long term health. Shortages of labour led to overseas recruitment. This was a period too that saw the conscription of young men into the armed services leading to development of new skills for some, as well as experiences in Germany and Korea. What was the impact of all of this on the mind-set of Forest men as they faced a future that for some meant new jobs in bright new factories? Presented by Dr Roger Deeks, with contributions from Emily Wood, Bob Bassett, George Hogg, Charlie Penn, Fred Pensom, Jim Orpin, Esmond Tovey, Mike Hinton, Maurice Phelps and Roy Mills. Thanks also to Caroline Prosser-Lodge, Cheryl Mayo and Emily Hughes. This podcast is made possible through the support of the National Lottery Heritage Fund, and the University of Gloucestershire.
EPISODE 2: Children in the Forest
In this episode hear how social mobility became a reality for people in the Forest of Dean. New homes, domestic electricity, water and sewer systems transformed domestic life and the welfare state brought accessible education and new opportunities for young people. Admission to grammar school or technical education based on merit, gave children progression routes into further education and engineering. Find out about how young people felt about these opportunities and whether men and women were treated differently in this new world. Hear too how chapel was a focus for friendships and community cohesion but also how it informed attitudes that had long reaching implications. Presented by Roger Deeks With Emily Wood, Jo Lewer, Pam Box, Ruth Dainty, William Baldwin, Ivy Gunter, Jane Turley, Val Matthews, Roy Close, Magarete Phelps, Sheila Llewellyn, Jim Orpin, Maurice Phelps, Fred Pensom, James Bevan, Pam Stratford, Pat Harper and Glenda Griffiths. Thanks also to Caroline Prosser-Lodge, Cheryl Mayo and Emily Hughes. This podcast was made possible through the support of the National Lottery Heritage Fund, and the University of Gloucestershire.
EPISODE 1: Got Any Gum Chum?!
In this first episode hear how World War Two brought an influx of people into the Forest of Dean - such as Lumber Jills, G.I.’s and Italian and German Prisoners of War. Hear too how whilst there was the threat of stray bombs or the fear of invasion, it was also a time of liberation for some Foresters as many of the older social norms simply fell away. The War was an event that influenced and shaped the next fifty years. This was when the cry of ‘Got and gum chum’ rang out on the streets of Cinderford - but why? Listen to find out, and about the bombs and the Yanks and so much more that shook the Forest. Presented by Dr Roger Deeks. With Ruth Dainty, William Baldwin, Nigel Isaac, James Bevan, Edna Hicks, Bart and Anne Venner, Charlie Penn, Ivy Gunter, Thomas Preece, William Baldwin, Esmund Tovey, Edna Hicks, Roy Mills, Glenda Griffiths and Rosa Taylor. Thanks also to Caroline Prosser-Lodge, Cheryl Mayo and Emily Hughes. This podcast is made possible through the support of the National Lottery Heritage Fund, and the University of Gloucestershire.