Having focussed on Queens in the last FEMbruary post, I thought I would focus on slightly more ordinary or achievable female jobs.
FEMBruary is a challenge set up by Leadballoony to focus more on the female figures in our collection as an attempt to be more inclusive as a hobby, along with all the things Annie Norman is trying to do with her believable female Miniatures stocked at Bad Squiddo Games. More on Bad Squiddo below and in my next blog post.
Here for #FEMbruary are a few more female figures from my toy soldier collection, a collection of old and new metal figures with a range of paint styles to guide my brush on my FEMbruary painting challenges.
The WRVS Women’s Royal Voluntary Service was one of those stalwart wartime women’s organisations which received recent and well deserved publicity in Housewife 49, the Mass Observation WWII wartime diaries of Nella Last in Barrow in Furness. This was turned into a TV drama, written and performed by the much missed Victoria Wood. If you have not read the diaries or seen Housewife 49, they are well worth tracking down as a book or DVD for an interesting view of (extra)ordinary women and their families on the Home Front.
The Royal Volunteer Service now accepts male volunteers and focuses its care on older people https://www.royalvoluntaryservice.org.uk
and has an interesting wartime history and archives collection on its website.
I have one of two Land Army girls, including this Britain’s figure. Annie Norman at Bad Squiddo Games has featured some new Home Front women in 28mm including some fine Land Army Girls in three collections: working in the fields, armed with shotguns (bunnies and parachutists beware) and at picnic. More on Bad Squiddo in another post http://badsquiddogames.com/shop#!/WW2
Salvation Army bands were once a popular figure for Britain’s and other manufacturers, still highly collectable.
For more modern civilians there are always those sets of plastic civilians for model railways sold online unpainted. This young woman has a 1940s / 1950s look.
Still need to do some work “putting her face on” before she goes out with a serious case of panda eyes.
Another distinctive and smart young woman in uniform was the Nippy.
A Nippy was a waitress who worked in the J. Lyons & Co tea shops and cafés in London. Because the waitresses nipped (moved quickly) around the tea shops, the term “Nippy” came into use. Nippies wore a distinctive maid-like uniform with a matching hat, the clean uniform being part of their wholesome image. Nippies appeared (and still appear) in all manner of advertising and the Nippy soon became a national icon until the last Lyons Corner Houses shut in the Seventies .
A Famous Crimean Nurse
Another recurring female figure in hollowcast metal and plastic ranges, apart from the odd squaw or a farm worker, was the army or civilian nurse. I have picked up a range of nurses (mostly in job lots) which could fill a whole future blogpost.
However the most famous nurse of them all is also featured in the recent Corgi Forward March range. Here is the other figure link to The Crimean War, which was mentioned in our last blog post about Queen Victoria and the first VCs. The Crimea is a curious, mismanaged and inglorious conflict that has always fascinated me. There was a Peter Laing 15mm Crimean War range that I wish I had bought but no nurses were featured.
Florence Nightingale rightly has her own nursing Museum in London, http://www.florence-nightingale.co.uk
and several biographies and blogs http://www.florence-nightingale-avenging-angel.co.uk/?p=861
Until the New National Gove Curriculum threatened to remove her and other historic figures, Florence Nightingale and the Crimean War had long been a part of the old National Curriculum primary history syllabus in Britain, along with Mary Seacole and Queen Victoria. I know some weary Primary school teachers who were pleased at the prospect of never having to teach Florence Nightingale again after years and years. However she was retained, as you can see below.
I wish we had done the Crimean War at school.
Florence Nightingale, Edith Cavell and Mary Seacole along with Suffragettes and Queen Victoria are still suggested primary school content for British five to seven year olds:
“the lives of significant individuals in the past who have contributed to national and international achievements, some should be used to compare aspects of life in different periods for example, Elizabeth I and Queen Victoria, Christopher Columbus and Neil Armstrong, William Caxton and Tim Berners-Lee, Pieter Bruegel the Elder and LS Lowry, Rosa Parks and Emily Davison, Mary Seacole and/or Florence Nightingale and Edith Cavell.”
The Corgi Forward March Miniatures limited edition range featured several other women and some handy mini biographies of each figure. They have a simple and attractive ‘hand painted’ paint finish.
Part of a limited edition distribution worldwide.
Few figures exist of Mary Seacole, the Jamaican Nurse and Sutleress who also served in the Crimea, although I have tracked down one recent 28mm limited edition which will feature on a future blog post.
Looks like FEMbruary might carry on past the 28th February this year at this rate.
So there you are, a range of believable female miniatures and female job roles from Nippy to nurse, flower seller to Florence Nightingale, from Sally Army Lasses and Land Army Girls to Suffragettes.
Cakes and tea supplied by the WRVS and the Lyons Corner House Nippy.
More to follow …
Blogposted by Mark Man of TIN during FEMbruary 2018
Blog Post Script B.P.S.
I was saddened to hear that the sculptor of many of the Asset Miniatures figures Alan Caton died late 2015. Asset Miniatures figures like these WWII female figures above are still available secondhand online.