War Widows’ Stories (2018-20)


Margaret's Till we meet again

Every year, we celebrate and commemorate the lives and sacrifices of those who have fought and fallen in service for their country. Still, we know little about the lives and experiences of the wives and families that service personnel and veterans leave behind. They are not commemorated as heroes. We do not talk about their fights and struggles when we remember the wars Great Britain has fought over the centuries. 

war widows quilt- work in progress

War Widows’ Quilt, work in progress

arthur+martha are proud to have been awarded a grant from Arts Council England to be part of the War Widows’ Stories project. Collaboratively we are making an embroidered quilt and a collection of poems, which we will exhibit at iconic venues.

The project gives expression to and raise public awareness of war widows’ experiences, allowing participants to frame their lives through the arts, see themselves differently, acknowledge their experiences, and build a creative legacy, a shared history.

War Widows’ Stories is led by Dr Nadine Muller, Senior Lecturer in English Literature and Cultural History at Liverpool John Moores University and author of The Widow: A Literary & Cultural History (2019).  Lois Blackburn leads arts workshops and work on the quilt, Philip Davenport leads on the creative writing.


Wendy Hutchinson with photo of her husband Tony

We are proud to be collaborating with the War Widows’ Association of Great Britain (WWA), an organisation that has been working tirelessly to improve the conditions of war widows and their dependants since 1971.

‘Sewing my square gave me a strange sort of peace…it worked for me.’

Are you a war widow? or do you know a war widow who might be interested in taking part in this project? If so, please do get in touch with us directly for a pack with fabric, threads and instructions. From people experienced and confident in embroidery and creative writing, to complete novices, everyone’s contribution is welcome.



The project is supported by Arts Council England, the Arts & Humanities Research Council, the British Academy, Liverpool John Moores University, Royal Museums Greenwich, the Imperial War Museums, the National Memorial Arboretum and the Heritage Lottery Fund.  


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