Essential Information

National Maritime Museum
Date and Times Friday 31 March | 2pm - 2.40pm
Prices Free

What does uniform tell us about women’s lives during the Second World War? What tricks did Wrens, tailors and hatters use on garments to maintain smartness and improve functionality? How did wartime uniform influence women’s clothing in peacetime? Why should historians of Wrens pay closer attention to material culture?

Thousands served in the Women’s Royal Naval Service across Britain during the Second World War. All of these ‘Wrens’ were issued with special uniforms, some of which were originally designed for men’s bodies rather than those of women.

Join us for a free online talk discussing these important garments, what Wrens thought about them and the legacy they left. Hear about everything from the standard-issue ensemble naval skirt suits to ‘boy bafflers’, the much-hated knee bloomers also known as ‘passion killers’.

Dr Jo Horton will explore the lives and ambitions of these phenomenal women, who served their country under difficult circumstances and within restrictive social norms. 

About the speaker

Dr Jo Horton is a maker-historian, a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, Fellow of the Lunar Society of Birmingham, and Honorary Research Fellow at De Montfort University. She primarily works with museums and heritage organisations and in academia.

Jo is passionate about material culture and the history of uniform, specialising in textiles. In her practice-based PhD she explored the history of metallisation and metallic embroidery and interdisciplinary approaches to innovation, bringing together electrodeposition with contemporary textile design, ironically growing not sewing metal despite her passion for goldwork, couture embroidery and military regalia.

Women's History Month

From fearless fighters to female activists, join us in Greenwich for a series of talks celebrating women throughout history.

What’s On

More Women's History Month events at Royal Museums Greenwich.