Wives & Sweethearts

This afternoon I went to visit the latest exhibition at the National Army Museum (Chelsea, London) entitled “Wives & Sweethearts”. The exhibition focuses on the relationships between soliders and their loved ones, from the 1800s to the present day, featuring many original letters and artefacts sent between couples as they try to maintain relationships in such difficult circumstances.

I have to say that it did feel a little invasive reading such personal letters, but it is really fascinating. I can’t imagine what it must have been like trying to sustain a relationship during the World Wars, where correspondence was so limited, and also heavily monitored at the same time. One of the case studies tells how one couple got married at their first given opportunity, and the next day the soldier had to go away to war and they did not see each other for 4 years! Another talks of how one solider couldn’t ‘decipher’ the message received from his sweetheart back home, and from this followed months of anxiety as he had no idea of her true feelings. The exhibition also looks at letters and correspondence received when soldiers were taken prisoner, released or worse, killed in action.

It also must have been so difficult to be a returning soldier, coming back to a wife / loved one that you haven’t seen and grown with for a number of years, and then expected to slot straight back into place…

It seems that relationships were so much more trusting back then, with people giving their word and actually remaining faithful to it. Perhaps it is possible that the advent of modern technology has made us complacent when it comes to relationships….?

Below are a few photographs taken during my visit, but I really recommend going to have a look for yourself. Embrace the lost art of letter writing.

“Wives and Sweethearts” runs until July 30th 2011.


PS – I had to delete my previous post regarding Linda Farrow and the latest projects etc due to ‘breach of contract’…




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