Women workers from South Lincolnshire during the Great War

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One hundred years ago this week, this newspaper was focusing on the working efforts of local women while their husbands were away fighting in the Great War.

The Lincolnshire, Boston and Spalding Free Press – as it was then known – featured women working in the hay fields, cutting mustard and running a creche.

The paper reported that George Birch, of Cley Hall Park, Spalding, had been “making good use of a bunch of Lincolnshire ladies in the hay field” at Cowbit Wash.

During a spell of beautiful weather, the women had picked docks in the 44 acres field and heaped up hay ready for the carters to take away.

It was reported they had “proved valuable helpers in these times of shortage of labour”.

Meanwhile, seven women had been cutting mustard seed at Mr Smith’s Monk’s House Farm.

“Although the work has been heavy, it has been satisfactorily done,” we reported.

“Probably this is the first time women have undertaken this kind of work.”

The crop in the 17-acre field at Monk’s House Lane was described as fine, and six feet high in places, and the cutting was done with sickles.

The paper went on: 
“Although the harvesters 
admitted that it was a tough job, they had been able to earn six shillings a day, while one who was specially energetic had made as much as eight shillings.”

It was piece work, with 30 shillings an acre being paid for cutting and tying.

Finally, we reported that, while the mothers in the Long Sutton area were working on the farms, their babies were being cared for in a creche.