WRNS100: A journey into the archive

Essential information

Event type: 
Date and time: 
18 September 2017 | 10am - 12.30pm
National Maritime Museum, Caird Library & Archive
Talks & courses

WRNS100: A Journey into the Archive

Celebrate 100 years of the Women’s Royal Naval Service in this joint event with the Old Royal Naval College.

The Women’s Royal Naval Service was formed during the First World War. Created at a time of crisis and shortage of manpower, the WRNS made a vital contribution to the war effort, paving the way for an even greater role during the Second World War. Across the UK celebrations are being held to acknowledge the important influence that the Wrens have had on opportunities for women in today’s Royal Navy. This special event explores the WRNS’ connection to Greenwich and the experiences of thousands of women who served and trained at the Royal Naval College, Christopher Wren’s riverside masterpiece.

10.00-10.30 Introduction to the Women’s Royal Naval Service in Greenwich (Caird Archive)

Drawing on recently discovered photographs and new oral histories, this illustrated talk will introduce the lives and experiences of Wrens in Greenwich from the First World War until the 1970s.

10.30-11.15 Delve deeper in the Caird Archive

Curator Melanie Vandenbrouck will present a rarely seen group of drawings showing Wrens at work by the former Wren and artist Gladys E Reed. Sketched in Liverpool during the Second World War, these intimate sketches show the variety of roles undertaken by the Wrens and the ‘busy, happy atmosphere’ that existed despite the hardships of war.

11.15-12.30 Tour of the Old Royal Naval College and the WRNS100 exhibition (Old Royal Naval College)

Retrace the steps of the Wrens in Greenwich in this special tour that includes a visit to James Stuart’s stunning neo-classical Chapel where the Wrens’ choir sang and one of the rooms under the College where they took shelter during air raids. The tour will conclude in the new exhibition which has been curated by volunteers from the University of the Third Age and includes rarely seen film footage.

Some areas on the tour are accessible by stairs only but it can be adapted if you require level access. Please let us know in advance of any access requirements by emailing xxx.

Please note all large bags, coats, food and drink must be left at the Museum’s main cloakroom on the Ground Floor of the Sammy Ofer Wing.