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National Union of Women Teachers (NUWT) Collection: War and Peace

A guide to the National Union of Women Teachers Archive Collection and the variety of subjects covered in this.

Resources in the collection relating to education, war and peace

Covering the period 1904-1973, the National Union of Women Teachers (NUWT) collection comprises over 400 boxes, making it the Archives' largest deposited collection.  Given the wide breadth of its contents (covering all areas of social policy, including employment, economy, animal testing, women's rights, youth, health, and temperance concerns), it is also one of our most popular and well-used collections.  The NUWT collection includes a wealth of information relating to international conflict, the impact of war on education, and peace movements. Highlights include:

  • Impact of periods of peace and conflict on the employment of women: use the collection to research a range of subjects such as increased interest in the role of women teachers; teacher shortages; headship opportunities for women; post-war effects on female employment.
  • Impact of the First World War on education: the increased interest in women's education and the role of women teachers.
  • Impact of the Second World War on education:  insight into a broad range of themes and issues, including: the disruption of education; concerns for European children affected by the war; bomb damage to schools; implications for the employment of both men and women teachers.
  • Evacuation: the precautionary measures to evacuate children from cities.  The NUWT collection also includes documents which illustrate the impact of evacuation on teachers, their concerns and complaints over evacuation schemes to rural areas, separation from students, lack of supplies, and expenses incurred as a result.
  • Peace Movements: throughout the 1920s and 1930s, NUWT members became actively involved in peace campaigns.  Material can be found from a range of organisations relating to the interwar peace movement (the League of Nations; Women's International League for Peace and Freedom; Peace Pledge Union).  Documents include archives relating to Conscientious Objectors, peace marches, disarmament demonstrations, and the criticism of air raid precautions. 

How this collection has been used by our researchers

This year, researchers have used the archive of the NUWT to:

  • Look into the impact of periods of peace and conflict throughout the first half of the twentieth century, and the subsequent effect on the employment of women. 
  • Gain an understanding of the pre and interwar world peace and disarmament movements.
  • Deliver workshops to students about the interwar peace movement.  This session involves historical enquiry and taking a hands-on approach to source-based historical research.  Resources for teachers (including National Curriculum core standards, lesson details; archive documents and worksheets)
  • Learn about the told and untold stories of the experiences of evacuation during the Second World War Archives were used to stimulate a joint reminiscence session for GDST alumni and researchers, and the creation of oral histories. 


Public Engagement

The NUWT archive initially formed the basis for our work to widen access to our collections. You can find out more about how we did this on our blog (currently inactive). You can follow our news and current work on our Twitter account.