War Widows’ Stories is a collaborative project between Dr Nadine Muller (Liverpool John Moores University) and the War Widows’ Association of Great Britain, and it is supported by a Sharing Heritage grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund.
Dr Nadine Muller is the project leader for War Widows’ Stories. She is Senior Lecturer in English Literature & Cultural History at Liverpool John Moores University, and she is the author of The Victorian Widow: A Literary & Cultural History, which will be published by Liverpool University Press in 2018. She is a BBC New Generation Thinker and has presented programmes on the history of widowhood for BBC Radio 3’s The Essay and Free Thinking as well as having made a short film on Victorian widows for BBC Arts. You can find all about Nadine and her work on her blog: http://www.nadinemuller.org.uk. If you’d like to get in touch about War Widows’ Stories, you can do so by emailing her through this form.
Dr Ailbhe McDaid is the research assistant for War Widows’ Stories. She is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the Institute of Irish Studies at the University of Liverpool, and she is currently working on a new project on women in Irish conflict literature of the twentieth century. Her monograph The Poetics of Migration in Contemporary Irish Poetry has recently been published by Palgrave Macmillan. Ailbhe is a fully-trained, experienced oral historian research, and her research interests include topics such as migration, technology, gender, Northern Irish writing, and popular culture.
The War Widows’ Association of Great Britain (WWA) was formed in 1971 and today has around 3,000 members. Its original aim was to fight for the removal of the tax burden from the War Widows’ Pension. An article in a Sunday newspaper in 1971 highlighted the plight of Britain’s “forgotten women”. Laura Connelly, who returned to live in this country from Australia, where the War Widows’ Pension was tax-free, refused to pay tax and found herself in dispute with the Inland Revenue. The fourteen ladies who supported her formed the Association under the first chairman, Jill Gee. Partial success was achieved in 1976 with the removal of half the tax and the remainder went in 1979. The Association became a registered charity in 1991, and it achieved one of its main aims – parity of pensions for all war widows – in 2015. The Prince of Wales is the WWA’s patron, and its Vice Presidents are Baroness Dean of Thornton le Fylde, the Rt. Hon. Viscount Younger of Leckie, and Baroness Garden of Frognal. The President of the WWA is Baroness Fookes, DBE, DL. The WWA is managed by a committee of trustees. It does not have any paid staff or permanent offices. You can find out more about the WWA and its activities and achievements on their website at http://www.warwidows.org.uk.
The Heritage Lottery Fund
Thanks to National Lottery players, we invest money to help people across the UK explore, enjoy and protect the heritage they care about – from the archaeology under our feet to the historic parks and buildings we love, from precious memories and collections to rare wildlife. You can find out more about HLF at http://www.hlf.org.uk and via @heritagelottery. Sharing Heritage is for any not-for-profit group wanting to explore their community’s heritage. With a commitment from HLF of £3m each year, Sharing Heritage grants between £3,000 and £10,000 are now available to groups who want to discover their local heritage. Projects can cover a wide spectrum of subject matter from exploring local archaeology and a community’s cultures and traditions to identifying and recording local wildlife and protecting the surrounding environment to managing and training volunteers, and holding festivals and events to commemorate the past.