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  • Writer's pictureKaren

Esme's Escape Capturing Wartime Life in Somerset - 80 Years On

The true life back story to 'Esme's Escape' - Part 1

Liverpudlian born and bred Esme Burns, worked as a book binder in her hometown. As a curious 19 year old and with an appetite for adventure she answered the call to help feed the nation during World War II by joining the Women's Land Army. During 1943 she found herself posted to a sleepy South Somerset village, Haselbury Plucknett.

Esme Burns - Women's Land Army recruit 1943
Recreating Esme's official Land Girl photo

Esme's Escape - shepherd's hut owner Karen Mitchell invited a number of small local businesses to join her in recreating the scenes of Esme's true story. During this first blog we meet Esme arriving in Somerset and the initial transformation from city girl to land girl. Read how we created the looks and about the details of the accessories below.

Our female model, posing as Esme, grew up in Haselbury Plucknett.

‘Esme’s‘ hair was styled in a classic 1940s victory roll with curls cascading over her shoulders by Amy Elliott

The vintage style make-up including eye liner flicks and those vivid red lips was artistically created by Jane Dare, our English rose looked stunning throughout

Esme’s 'arriving in Haslbury Plucknett' clothes were sourced by Steph Edwards - no ordinary market trader - put together the various outfits

Wendy Edwards provided the vintage suitcase for Esme to arrive clutching, which she covered with a liberty fabric called hollyhock, chosen to compliment the interior of the Shepherd’s Hut.

With all the pieces in place to create the scene our talented photographer Suzanne McFadzean took to her skillset, checking the details were right and coaching our models into poses appropriate for the wartime era. She really helped us step back in time, especially when editing.

One outfit that had to be completely authentic was the women’s land army uniform. Bronwen Jones, a Land Girl enthusiast, kindly loaned some genuine clothing for the shoot. She also helped us stay on brand with the 1940s details including a very rare original land girls newsletter and handbook.

Esme's Escape shepherd's hut is decorated in 1940s style providing a nostalgic glamping experience. Modern luxuries such as an en-suite shower-room, coffee maker, induction hob and even fluffy robes and towels ensure the intrepid staycationer will not have to endure any of the hardships Esme Burns would have experienced.

Part 2 will follow the next stage of Esme's time in Somerset when she meets a local boy named Fred.


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