Documents: Special Interest: Gardening In England:

Dig For Victory Pack Returned to RHS After 70 Years
by Laura Tibbs
November 13, 2011

A Dig for Victory exhibition pack, issued during the Second World War, has finally been returned to the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) after nearly 70 years.

The wooden crate of exhibition boards and mounted photographs, originally issued by the RHS on 23 September 1943, was discovered by staff at the Isle of Wight College, who returned it to the RHS Lindley Library.

First developed in 1941, Dig for Victory exhibition packs were introduced by the RHS to teach the nation how to grow their own vegetables and supplement their ration-book diets. The packs became part of a travelling exhibition which went around the country as traditional flower shows became unsustainable.

The RHS played a crucial role in the Dig for Victory campaign, and in addition to the exhibition packs, produced the iconic Vegetable Garden Displayed – a book that has become a wartime classic and the predecessor to the modern RHS Vegetable and Fruit Gardening. The original book was translated into German after the war to support the country’s recovery.

Val Brooke, RHS Library Collections Manager, says: “The RHS helped show the nation how to grow their own during the war, and still continues that work now. These packs provided a vital resource for people, many of whom had never grown anything. This is the only known example of its kind that still exists, so it’s wonderful to have it returned to the RHS after all this time to become an important part of our archive collection.”

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