Double trench digging for beginners (or how to dig a trench for vegetables) … the 1940s way

Ready with spade to dig deep on our zoo keeper’s wartime vegetable garden. With turf stripped off and gracing several enclosures around the zoo to the delight of squirrel monkeys and others, it’s back to basics and back  to looking at 1940s cigarette cards and gardening books (the pictorial kind for idiots with helpful black and white photographs and 40s strip cartoons from newspapers) on how to dig a trench for vegetables. ( This isn’t a back handed comment on my digging or other abilities).  

Somebody commented on the last blog picture how inadvertently close our shot of Richard our zoo gardener’s legs , feet and spade were to the famous DIG FOR VICTORY boot poised on spade which can beseen as the logo and poster of the original Dig For Victory campaign. We have qa poster copy for display at our World War Zoo wartime garden launch weekend Sunday 30th and 31st August 2009.  What do you think?

A borrowed copy of the old BBC Wartime Kitchen and Garden series book by Jennifer Davies identifies this famous boot as belonging to a Mr. W. H. Mckie of Acton, London in winter 1940. Is this the most famous and most featured foot in History?

We will have a poster copy of this famous foot on display at our World War Zoo wartime garden launch weekend on Sunday 30th and 31st August 2009 ( If you can’t visit us then, the original poster and logo can be seen on the excellent  Imperial war Museum and Royal Parks wartime garden website (really good for schools):

Find more on the whole website

and at, another useful website  including an online shop where you can buy a Dig For Victory poster of your own!  Great and inspirational resources along with the BBC Dig In campaign 

. Maybe we’ll upload pictures of our wartime vegetables onto this BBC site?

Off to dig up the zoo lawn with trenches for vegetables now and it’s raining … c’est la guerre!

Project Background note: Our World War Zoo research project and blog aims to uncover and collect many of the strange tales from this time not only for their own merit, but as a tribute to people of that difficult time and also for what lessons we can learn for our own future. There are lessons to be learnt for the coming days when our food and fuel, resources and climate may become scarce or more unpredictable.

 Our World War Zoo project will be a practical living memorial, almost history that you can eat in the form of a wartime “dig for victory garden” being recreated at Newquay Zoo in Cornwall. More news of this project follows over the next few weeks as we prepare the ground and get planting.

Watch this space!    Mark Norris, World War Zoo Project team, Newquay Zoo, Cornwall, UK

Tags: , , , ,

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: