<img src="https://scarylittlegirls.co.uk/campfire/the_gates.JPG" width="400" height="400" alt="Black and white illustration of two coiled dragons, a flower, and a rainbow, titled The Gates by Kayleigh Hilsdon">
''In the distance, you see the glow of a campfire. Smoke rising. Figures gathered. You begin to walk closer.''
-----HOW TO PLAY-----
1. This is a text-based conversational game. Controls are simple. Scroll down to read the text. When you are offered a choice, which will be in different-coloured text, simply click on the action you would like to take.
2. When a conversation has come to a natural end point, you will be invited to speak with others around the fire, or sometimes to continue the conversation further. If you do not want to initiate another conversation at that time, you can say goodbye and leave from the campfire. No individual conversation is very long, and you can have as many conversations as you like.
3. CONTENT WARNING - Some of the themes discussed may be sensitive or triggering. Your emotional response is respected. It is fine to leave at any time.
4. You can exit the game quickly at any point, by simply closing your browser or tab.
All responses are the unedited, verbatim words of Greenham Women, from interviews conducted as part of the project "Greenham Women Everywhere". You can find out more about this from the link below, or when you leave if you don't like spoilers.
Whether you know who the Greenham Women are as you approach, or whether they are strangers to you, you are welcome at the warmth of the fire.
These are real conversations. There is no save or return, there is no "back", there is no index. This is now.
''A little way ahead, you can see the campfire.
[[Take a seat around the campfire.|Campfire]]
[[Find out more about the Greenham Women.|Find out more about Greenham Women.]]
[[Leave.|Credits]]<img src="https://scarylittlegirls.co.uk/campfire/campfire_image_kayleigh_hilsdon_inverted.jpg" width="480" height="480" alt="Black and white illustration of a Campfire with moon, sun, smoke and a raining cloud, titled Legacy by Kayleigh Hilsdon">
''You are sitting at a campfire, with two Greenham Women.''
In the drifting smoke and low fireside flicker, you cannot clearly make them out.
Speak with them, and you will see them clearer through their words.
Who would you like to speak with?
[[Sing a song for unity and morale.|Fire 1 Sing a Song for unity and morale.]]
[[Find out more about the Greenham Women you are speaking with.|Find out more about Greenham Women.]]
[[Say goodbye, and leave the campfire.|Credits]]<img src="https://scarylittlegirls.co.uk/campfire/women_only_space.jpg" width="400" height="400" alt="Black and white illustration of a wreath of sinuous branches, strung with fine, strong cobwebs, titled Women Only Space by Kayleigh Hilsdon">
Find out more about the women you are speaking with around this campfire:
[[Peggy Seeger |Peggy Seeger Info]]
[[Judith Baron |Judith Baron Info]]
[[Take a seat around the campfire|Campfire]]
[[Return to the introduction|Welcome]]
[[Leave the campfire, and view the credits|Credits]]
Leave the campfire, and visit the Greenham Women Everwhere Website:
<a href="http://greenhamwomeneverywhere.co.uk/">http://greenhamwomeneverywhere.co.uk/</a><img src="https://scarylittlegirls.co.uk/campfire/motherhood.JPG" width="400" height="400" alt="Black and white illustration of an anatomical heart, wreathed in dandelion heads, some seeds blowing away, titled Motherhood by Kayleigh Hilsdon">
''You walk away from the campfire, and you are welcome to return.''
All responses are the unedited words of Greenham Women Peggy Seeger and Judith Baron.
Interviews were conducted by Sara Sherwood, Rebecca Mordan and Leslie Lyle.
This campfire was created and built by Jill Raymond.
The Greenham campfire was conceived, designed and created by L H Trevail.
[[Return, and take your seat at the Campfire|Campfire]]
Illustrations: “Legacy” "Motherhood", "NVDA", "The Gates" and "Women Only Space", by Kayleigh Hilsdon.
Portraits of Greenham Women by Christine Bradshaw, with treatment by LHTrevail.
“Carry Greenham Home” written and performed by Peggy Seeger.
“Woman On Wheels” written and performed by Peggy Seeger.
“Tomorrow” written by Peggy Seeger, introduced and performed, performed by Alice Robinson.
[[Sing a song for unity and morale.|Fire 1 Sing a Song for unity and morale.]]
In the interview with Peggy Seeger, it is stated that no women were killed at Greenham. In fact, Helen Wynne Thomas was killed after being hit by a police horsebox at Yellow Gate. Information can be found in the National Archives, here:
Scary Little Girls - Ampersand Industries
Greenham Women Everywhere - JKC Marketing
Scary Little Girls Support:
Becky John at 92 Minutes
Other Girls Like Me by Stephanie Davis
Greenham Voices: An Anecdotal History of Greenham Common Women’s Peace Camp by Kate Kerrow and Rebecca Mordan
Walking to Greenham by Ann Pettitt
Greenham Common: Women at the Wire by Barbara Harford and Sarah Hopkins
Orange Gate Journal by Ginette Leach
Judith Baron's book of photographs, referenced in this Campfire, can be purchased here:
[[Find out more about the Greenham Women around this Campfire.|Find out more about Greenham Women.]]
Commissioned by Scary Little Girls, for Greenham Women Everywhere.
Greenham Women Everywhere is funded by Heritage Lottery South West.
Read full interviews and others, and find out more about the women you have been speaking with, here:
Greenham Women Everwhere Site:
Scary Litte Girls Site:
<img src="https://scarylittlegirls.co.uk/campfire/slg-logo2-300x181.png" width="300" height="181" alt="Scary Little Girls Logo, white on black: The words Scary Little Girls in an elegant font.">
<img src="https://scarylittlegirls.co.uk/campfire/HeritageFundEnglish_logo_white.png" width="400" height="200" alt="Heritage Fund Logo, white on black - the words Heritage Fund, and an image of a hand with its fingers crossed for luck.">
<img src="https://scarylittlegirls.co.uk/campfire/ACEgrand_jpeg_white.jpg" width="600" height="200" alt="Arts Council England Logo, white on black - the words Supported Using Public Funding Arts Council by England, with Arts Council England in a little circle to the left hand side. ">
<img src="https://scarylittlegirls.co.uk/campfire/thumbnail_greenham_boltCutter.png" width="300" height="300" alt="Greenham Women Everywhere Logo, white on green. A green circle with the words Greenham Women Everywhere in bold white capital letters. In the centre of the circle, in white cut-out, a Greenham Woman with bolt cutters, looking over her shoulder, and looking mighty cool."><img src="https://scarylittlegirls.co.uk/campfire/nvda.JPG" width="400" height="400" alt="Black and white illustration of a wreath of flowers and bolt cutters, titled NVDA by Kayleigh Hilsdon">
''Which song shall we sing?''
[[“Carry Greenham Home” written and performed by Peggy Seeger|"Carry Greenham Home" by Peggy Seeger]]
[[“Tomorrow” written by Peggy Seeger, introduced and performed by Alice Robinson|"Tomorrow" by Peggy Seeger.]]
[[“Woman On Wheels” written and performed by Peggy Seeger|"Woman on wheels" by Peggy Seeger.]]
[[Speak with another woman
around the campfire.|Campfire]]
[[Leave the campfire,
and view the credits.|Credits]]What would you like to ask Peggy Seeger?
[[So my first question probably is just to say, could you tell us about how you got to Greenham - what did you, how come you went to Greenham?]]
[[Did you ever get arrested, Peggy? |Peggy Seeger.Did you ever get arrested, Peggy?]]Oh yeah. There were nine gates. I think there were nine. They were named after colours, as you know.
[[Yeah, were they different or was it quite similar at each one? |Peggy Seeger. yeah, were they different or was it quite similar at each one?]]
[[Tell me more about the gates.|Peggy Seeger. yeah, were they different or was it quite similar at each one?]]Well, the ones that were next to roads generally had the most women, because that was protection. And there were always people driving by, and there was people driving by giving you the finger and yelling at you. But for the most part people would drive by and they'd honk, and they'd you know, give fingers up, you know? Thumbs up. And occasionally people would stop and put money in a pot. Because you’d take money whenever it would come in. So the life at the camps - there was quite a lot of sitting around. There weren't a whole lot of guitars, I don't think - so when I turned up with a guitar, they liked that. But they didn't make a fuss of me as a person that was more known than they were. That didn't happen. You just tucked in but the kitchen duty was - you just - nobody had any rubber gloves. So I went out and bought myself some rubber gloves. But the minute I laid them down anywhere they were whisked away - they're gone. You didn't - the idea of personal property - I don't know how they managed it. Because women in their home space, and it was a home space - we made it into a home space, you had your little corner. I think I slept in the car for 2 nights. Don't remember more than 1 night sleeping in the tent. I remember nights sleeping out in the sleeping bag. And one of the ones I remember - because I was able to then - it would kill me now. That was once at a very big gate, one side of it would have been about the size of that wall. And it would just open up like this. And we slept next to the gate. And when somebody had to come in or out, you had to move - you have to roll away in your sleeping bag. Because the idea was to stop things going in, and stop things going out. I remember waking up this one morning with this great big pair of boots right there. And a littler pair of boots. And the big boots, they started nudging me and then a woman's voice said ‘Don't don't do that. You'll get your boot dirty.’ Yeah, it was a woman - there was a woman and a man.
[[Were they the military police, or were they the army, do you think? |Peggy Seeger|Were they military police or were they the army, do you think?]]
[[Tell me more.|Peggy Seeger. Tell me more. 1]]Do you know, I never asked. I don't think they were Military Police. You'd sit all day with your back against this fence, all lined up like sitting down sparrows all along it. And when a car came in you'd sit there and then the police would drag you away. And then you just go back and sit the minute the gate was closed. So you got dragged quite a lot, so you wore clothes that you could be dragged in.
[[And what was the idea behind that? Because that's nonviolent direct action, the principles the camp were sort of run by. What was the idea behind that?|Peggy Seeger.And what was the idea behind that?]]
[[Did you ever engage with them at all? |Peggy Seeger. Did you ever engage with them at all?]]The purpose was to make it difficult for the camp to run. You know, there was an American camp inside with the schoolchildren in there - women - whole families were in there. It was nine miles around the outside, it was huge. It was the longest runway in Europe in its time and as I understand it, it was commandeered - it was common land. And it was commandeered during the Second World War as an airbase. But this is just as I understand it, and it was with the agreement with the country, that Americans were here then, that after 29 years, it would be returned to the country. But of-course, it wasn't. And that was when they - it did have the little picket fence to start with. And you could just climb over it, if you chose, at the beginning, except for these great big - now come to think of it, by the time I went, it was only the backwoods that had the picket fences - around where the big gates were, the gates were very high. There were about two thirds the height of this room, something like that. So that would make them about 9’
[[So did they change the fence because the camp had grown up around the base? |Peggy Seeger. So did they change the fence because the camp had grown up around the base?]]
[[Thank Peggy Seeger, and speak with another woman around the campfire.|Campfire]]Oh, yeah, they changed it into this - it's not called chain link, maybe it is called chain link, I don't know - this green, interlocking fence that looks like a lot of squares.
[[Wow! But that didn't keep women out either did it? |Peggy Seeger. Wow! But that didn't keep women out either did it?]]
[[Sit quietly and carry on listening.|Peggy Seeger. Wow! But that didn't keep women out either did it?]] And where that went through swamps, and blackberry and bramble sections, nobody was going to go in there. But when we went round it - Irene and me, one day - it took a whole day to go around. Because it was up and down, round and round. And they said it was nine miles around. And that may be folklore too. I know it was bloody long. There was a kind of funny little path that was next to the fence. So I think that had been made by the people who put the fence up. Or who knows, maybe by patrolling women, I have no idea. Um, but it was at the main areas that were anywhere near the road, er, it became this chain link fence. And then it was something else - it had razor wire put up on the top. And by the time they were finished, there was then a walkway, about maybe 6’ wide that the soldiers would walk with dogs back and forth.
[[Thank Peggy Seeger, and speak with another woman at the campfire.|Campfire]]Yeah, one of my enduring memories, and it was night and there's the campfire and we're sitting around trying to keep warm - I get cold very easily. The endless cups of tea, endless cups of tea and you had evaporated milk, because that wouldn't go off. And keeping track of trash was really something, and what you had - because the minute anything was thrown down you could be taken for littering. They looked for all kinds of reasons to get rid of this. And you had to be a certain amount of room away from the road. And you got real a feeling of what it must have been like to be a Gypsy or a Traveller. So this particular night, there's two or three soldiers with a dog. And Rebecca is standing - she had flaming red hair. And she was standing holding the fence like this. And she was singing her nightmare. She was spontaneously singing, the nightmare of nuclear war. It was quite extraordinary. I'm a musician, I’m a songwriter. But I don't know that I would have been able to write anything like that, much less sing it. And it was musical. And it was poetic. It was immediate. And soldiers were just like this. And one of the purposes - one of the things that everybody tried to do was to engage the soldiers on a personal level. Talk to them about their wives and children and their lives and the soldiers at the beginning - they talked, they were soon told not to.
[[Why do you think they were told not to? What effect was it having do you think? |Peggy Seeger. Why do you think they were told not to? What effect was it having do you think?]]
[[What was it like walking round the fence? |Peggy Seeger. What was it like walking round the fence?]]Oh, it was making them understand that we were like their wives, their sisters, their daughters. And most of them probably had no idea - they're just doing what they're told. Because men like to do this. That's why they all march like this. You see all these phalanxes of soldiers that are like a cog in a machine! What kind of brain does this? What kind of? I'm listening to a book called ‘The Wall’ now by John Lanchester. It's about the future. And you can either be a defender or you can be a breeder. And the wall is 95,000 kilometres long or something like that. And the defenders are defending it. Why do men do what they do? And I have feelings about that, that I won't put down here because I have two sons, and I had a husband, and I had a father, and I don't think any of them would have marched, but is it just for companionship? Is just because there's nothing else to do? Is it because you get food and clothing and you don't have to take any decisions? You just do what you're told. So maybe that's why the soldiers stopped talking to us because they were told not to. But for the most part, I remember them talking. And you didn't exhibit - you didn't feel as if you wanted to be aggressive towards them. You know, they were having a miserable life - and pouring down with rain. And they're having to march with the dogs and who knows - there would undoubtedly be some of them who loved the job. But on the whole they didn't seem to. I remember one night at that particular gate, we came and we went - because I got ill one of the nights that I stayed out, so I decided not to stay out and sleep out anymore. So we went and we stayed at something like a Travelodge. And Irene and I weren't partners then, we were friends. And I remember going to a Little Chef, and being, they really didn't like having you in there, because you got dirty at the fire - you wanted to get close to the fire but it made you dirty. And the smell of the wood smoke.
[[It's a give away, isn't it?|Peggy Seeger It's a give away isn't it?]]
[[Thank Peggy Seeger, and speak with another woman at the campfire|Campfire]]Yeah. And this particular night a couple of cars came up and they seemed quite nice. And they'd brought blankets. And they’d brought little chairs to sit on. And it was not me - somebody else said ‘I'm sorry, you're not allowed to join us. There's no room at the fire in trade for blankets.’ And then they got aggressive.
[[Were these guys? |Peggy Seeger.Were these guys?]]
[[Is there a single abiding visual memory you have?|Peggy Seeger.Is there a single abiding visual memory you have?]]Well, there were always people arriving and you had to kind of suss it out yourself. There was no reception committee. And you didn't say ‘What shall I do?’ You'd look around and you'd have to see, but you know, we were women - we could see what needed doing. But on the whole people dressed in old t shirts and big walking boots. And I was down there once for 2 or 3 days. And I must admit, I don't like camping out. If I'm going to camp I want it to be neat and clean and they were having a meeting about how they would do such and such. And they were all dressed in big boots and it’s easy to say oh, this is a bunch of lezzies. And one of the people there was this most absolutely gorgeous woman girl. She must have been about 22. And she was dressed in nothing but white and she had long hair and she had the most beautiful face. And she kind of coasted in among everybody. I mean, the lesbians were drooling. But it wasn't a lesbian camp. I didn't get that sense at all when I was there - there were some couples, but nobody made a fuss about it. It was not definitely not a ruling kind of always present in your face. What it was, was a bunch of strong women who - you weren't allowed to lounge about, you know, things had to be done. There were always things to be done. Because there were people dropping by with things. So there was a corner in the tent for clothes and you had to sort those out and there was blankets. And the food that people brought, some of it was absolutely crazy - they brought up a big gallon of ice cream. So we all tucked into that, everybody with their spoons in. And so there were a lot of donations. And I can't remember if that gate was very close to the road.
[[Did you spend time at different gates? Or did you have one that you went to? |Peggy Seeger. Did you spend time at different gates? Or did you have one that you went to?]]
[[Did you go to any other peace camps? |Peggy Seeger.Did you go to any other peace camps?]]And it was just to the left of that. And so you'd park your car over there. And there was an outside cooking area too. Inside only for if there was problems. And the outside area was - people brought logs, they brought charcoal, they brought pots and pans, they brought traveling ovens and things. So it was it was set up. And there was always a huge pot of something doubtful. And so whenever we went down - I went down when there was still men there, because at the beginning there were men. And I remember we got really pissed off because the men sat around. A lot of them didn't do a bloody thing. And there were a lot of women who really just - there were women who tried to tidy up. Err, there were women who just threw everything wherever it landed. But the men lounged for the most part, and finally they were kicked out. And all, and this is going to be a women's camp. I don't know who decided that. It's possible it could have been Helen John, she was very strong. And I think she came very early on. Now it might be folklore, but did she leave her husband and children?
[[Tell me more. | Peggy Seeger. Tell me more]]
[[Keep listening quietly..| Peggy Seeger. Tell me more]]Oh no, I stayed at the camp. I stayed there. One of the nights that I went there, there wasn't a free mattress. And I went was with my friend from the nuclear, um anti-nuclear power group that we had - BANG, it was called: Beckenham Anti-Nuclear Group, which ran for about 5 or 6years - educating people on the nuclear waste that went through our town Beckenham. And I remember one memorable night Marian and I and an American songwriter named Dave Lipman - there's no place to sleep. So somebody who had come in an estate car put all the seats down. And there's me, and Dave, and Marian just squeezed in like - and it was a hilarious night. Because you couldn't sleep, but one person turned over, everybody had to, you know, dump-de-dump-de-dump! But err,a journalist would come and he would - it was usually a he, that I remember - would ask, you know ‘Who, who's the leader here?’ And whoever they talked to said ‘Well, you know, I'm Joan, and I'm here because so and so, but you have to ask you know, Jane why she's here.’ So he’d go to the next one ‘But, who's the leader?’ There was no leader. And Helen John did not speak for everybody. She didn't do that. She helped with the organisation, err, the administration and with err, there had to be collections of money, because they had to go out and get groceries. So this long table outside - where there was a fire that was almost as big as an oil can - something always bubbling on it. So I went down - oh, eight or nine times I can't remember how many times by myself, and you just park, and you’d come in and you look around and see what had to be done. If trash had to be taken up to the garbage - to the local dump, you’d pile it into the car, and off you’d go with it. Or they put a great pile of potatoes or carrots or something, say these need pealing. So we'd peel. And that was that was fine. The worst part was cleaning the pots, the cooking pots that nobody had bothered to clean - because people had brought so many cooking pots that sometimes instead of cleaning the old one, you just left it in a pile, and then you used another one. Um, so but I, I got really - my hands were like worker's hands, they were all you know (laughs), you can tell when you shake the hand of somebody who does really hard outside work - that's what my hands were like. Um, but I couldn't bear to see the pots just sitting there - they're dirty.
[[Thank Peggy Seeger, and speak with another woman around the campfire |Campfire]]Yeah, they said ‘Does your husband know you're here? Does your mother know you're here? No nice women will do things like this.’ Now, the last time I heard that was when I was traveling through Northern France on a scooter with a friend of mine when I was 21. And we were on a scooter, banjo, guitar, two knapsacks. And we were travelling out to Brittany and we got caught in the rain, and we sheltered in a barn where there were some French peasant farmers and they were peasants at that time. I'm talking about 1956. Wait a minute, that would be 1957, 1958 in the summer. And it would have been probably July or August because I just got pregnant. And they were very curious about us. And they said ‘Does your father know you're doing this? Do your brothers - where are your brothers? You know, nice French girls don't do this.’ But they gave us fruit and vegetables. And we went on our way - but they were very nice with it. But these men were aggressive. We took the blankets and they drove off. But these days when there's so much really aggressive and killing of women, it's a wonder no Greenham women were killed. It is a wonder. Because I think two or three of the gates were quite close to roads.
[[Thank Peggy Seeger, and speak with another woman around the campfire|Campfire]]Right, there were quite a lot of um, almost classes, there were discussions - and then sometimes, you know, real battling about how to deal with things. But there were a number of very, um - women who, I don't even remember who this particular one was, but she was extraordinary. This was one of the big gates, the one that we sat at - I'll tell you a funny story about that too. It's the one where I was nudged by the policeman’s boot. So I must have slept there 3 or 4 nights. And it's hard to stay clean, when there's no place to go. And right across the road, there were people's houses. And they didn't invite you in to have a shower. No, they didn't do that. I don't know how or when we got ourselves clean. But there was quite a lot of coming and going. So there's traffic passing by. And there's a police van - they often had one of these - it’s a van with seats on this side, seats on this side, and it opens out from the back. And so there were seats for four or five of them. I don't know how it was safe in any way for them to travel in. Maybe it was the ones they were going to haul us into, I have no idea. There wasn't a Black Maria. And they were nearly always sitting there with the doors open. And we're sitting with our backs to the fence, and this motorcycle comes up and it stops. And it's a boy on a motorcycle with a message for us. And a policeman strides up to it and says ‘You've got to move that motorcycle’, and there is no place to put it. He says ‘Well I've just come from...’ and they start battling, they start shouting at each other - these two men. And one of the Greenham women, she just walks up to them, and she says ‘Officer, thank you, you're doing your job really well. You know, there's a lot of traffic here. We really have to worry about this.’ And then she turned to the other man and she must have made up his name, I have no idea. And she said ‘Jack that's really nice. You got that message here really quickly.’ So she complimented both of them on doing their job - ‘Jack, you know you'll have to move this but there is no place for you to park, so you'll have to move on. And thank you for getting it here so quickly.’ And it's the whole atmosphere just went right down like that. I mean, they were ready to have a fistfight, these two men. Yeah, it was excellent. She just came back and sat down. It was a right lesson. And I forget what gate that was. But it was one that I definitely sat at with my back against that gate - it was hot, and it was July, must have been July or August. And so there's a whole bunch of us just sitting there. Dum de dum dum, like sparrows on the wire. And we had this song we sang - you heard the song ‘Old and strong?’ Yeah, so we're singing ‘Old and strong. She goes on and on and on. She's like a mountain, old and strong.’ And we’re just sitting there just chanting this. And the police are laughing at us, and fine. Then somebody started this, and I don't know who it was, but it was absolutely brilliant. And the drift was that one of us would be the leader, but not obviously - somebody with a strong voice. You'd start humming. And everybody along the line would pick it up. And then this this leader would change to any note at different pitch. And the others would just get there as quickly as they could. ‘Aaaah’, do you guys sing? You don't have to, just hum. Hum it. You see how quickly you get. So then this was going on for probably 30 or 40 minutes. And there was these guys sitting in there, the police sitting in the back of their van and it's open. And they're very quiet listening to all this. And one of them gets out, and he comes over and he says ‘How do you remember all that?’ And we said ‘No, we're making it up. We just make it up.’ And he went back and he sat down and they slammed the door of their vehicle. And then the vehicle began to rock and they were singing raucously ‘Dada, dada, dada, dada, dada, dada, dada, dada.’ And the vehicle is just going from side to side. And after a couple of minutes, they got tired of that. And it was also hot in there. And they opened up the back of it, and sat there while we're still going. It was an absolute hoot!
[[Were they trying to sort of compete with you? Or were they just trying to drown you out, do you think? |Peggy SeegerWere they trying to sort of compete with you? Or were they just trying to drown you out, do you think?]]
[[Thank Peggy Seeger, and go back to the campfire to talk to another woman.|Campfire]]No, I don't know what they were trying to do. They were probably trying to say, well, we have songs too. And it was sad in a way. You know it was sad. But in a concert, I can get an entire audience doing that. It's so quick. Everybody just gets there right quickly, you know. And they're astounded that they do that. And you would also transfer the leadership and say ‘Okay, your turn now Samantha, you lead’, so Samantha would take over. And they never knew who - there was no obvious leader. So I thought that was fabulous. I don't know who dreamed that up. But boy, it was good.
[[Thank Peggy Seeger, and speak with another women around the campfire. |Campfire]]
[[Did you ever see a cruise convoy come out?|Peggy Seeger.Did you ever see a cruise convoy come out?]]Yeah. That was amazing. And then she just parked herself there. And there were women of every possible sort, possible age. There were young girls who had run away from home - who their parents would come and get them. Um, and, and it was very hard to keep clean. They had a portable toilet. Um, but there were woods - I don't know if this area was cleared, but the tent was put up very quickly. Because I'm not sure that the people who marched from Wales - I'm not sure they brought anything. I know they had been put up on the way, but there got to be so many of them by the time they got to Melksham, our concert there were people everywhere, you know, people standing, people hanging from the banisters, it was in some kind of old Town Hall. And um, I'll have the details of it somewhere in my program books, but those are in an archive. Um, so I went down there and stayed for 3 nights.
[[Did you stay at the camp or...? | Peggy Seeger. Did you stay at camp or...?]]
[[Keep listening quietly..| Peggy Seeger. Did you stay at camp or...?]]Every so often there would be a guard post. So when we first went, there was no personnel on the other side of the fence. They were there at the gates, but they were not patrolling parts of the fence. And this one camp, this one night when we were there, there would have been about maybe a dozen and a half, two dozen of us there because it was night. Because Irene and I used to go down for night watch. So we'd stay awake all night, while the day watch got - went to sleep. And they would fold up very quickly into there. And some of them had a little tiny one one people tents, - putput tents. And I remember seeing this scene, and I don't think it was a gate, this one - I really don't think so. But it had a a guard cubicle, quite, quite high. And there was soldiers marching back and forth with dogs tk-tk-tk -tk, back and forth. And on the other side of this walkway was another fence. So by the time we left, there was this fence with razor wire on the top. Then there was a walkway. And these were probably put at the areas that were easily accessible to the women, because the women find out to go over a razor, razor wire, you just throw a mattress up there, you know and then you're over. You know, there's, there's pictures of it. And of-course a lot of the razor wire, it's like the razor wire at Buckingham Palace. When you try to get over it, it rolls. It rolls. So you can't grab hold of anything even if you would want to with razor wire. Um, so the other fence on the other side of us was high too.... when they got over, they took their mattress.
[[Tell me more about walking the fence. |Peggy Seeger.Tell me more about walking the fence.]]
[[Keep listening quietly..|Peggy Seeger.Tell me more about walking the fence.]]You know, you could walk to a gate where they needed sustenance. I have never had a look at a map of Greenham, but I don't know how big the common was. But there were quite a lot of areas where it was right along next to a road, apart from when Irene and I walked, there was quite a lot that wasn't. And there were women at every gate, the little gates that were in the bracken forests, those were interesting, you know, two or three women just sitting there.
[[That must have been a very different atmosphere to the bigger camps? |Peggy Seeger. That must have been a very different atmosphere to the bigger camps?]]
[[Thank Peggy Seeger, and speak with another woman around the campfire.|Campfire]]Hm, yes it was, yes it was, but you could communicate all the way around. This is Red Gate, what's happening at Blue Gate, at GreenGate, Black Gate, White Gate - colours, they were colours. So the organisation of it, but the organisation wasn't - but maybe I just wasn't down there enough. I've seen films of there being disagreements as to how it should be run. And you know, we're women, we all like our kitchen. You know. But the first time I went to the camp was when I came back with Carry Greenham Home in my head. That was the big camp, a big camp that still had, had men in it, but it was almost all women.
[[Sing a song for unity and morale|Fire 1 Sing a Song for unity and morale.]]
[[Thank Peggy Seeger, and speak with another woman around the campfire. |Campfire]]Yeah. But what an extraordinary thing. I went to the Seneca camp in New York. Er, that would be in late, when would that be? That would have been in the late ‘80s. Let's see, Ewan was still alive then. And he died in ‘89. So it might have been ‘86/‘87. The Greenham Common energised the women of Seneca, which is - there's a big airbase there. And we went along - my son, Callum and I went along to that, to see what it was like and it was nothing like Greenham. They actually had a house. Where a lot of the, and they had men there, is wasn’t...
[[How do you think that changed it? What was the dynamic like with there being men there? |Peggy Seeger.How do you think that changed it? What was the dynamic like with there being men there?]]
[[Carry on listening quietly.|Peggy Seeger.How do you think that changed it? What was the dynamic like with there being men there?]]I wasn't there long enough to know. But I do remember when we were on our way out. There was a big broken down truck that was bringing supplies to the camp. So Callum and I stopped and asked if we could help in any way. And there was this guy with his head down, trying to fix this and fix that. And a bunch of women came along, they just came strolling over from the camp. And they're standing there. And he says ‘Hold this’. And this one woman steps forward, she says ‘What's wrong? And he looked and said ‘Well, it won't start, ma'am.’He was the driver. And she says ‘Well, what happens when you turn..’, and he was very impatient with her and said ‘Da de da de da de da.’ And she said ‘Well, let me have a look.’ And somehow she got up there. He got down, she got up there. And she was poking about and she says ‘Oh, it's da de da de da de da de da.’ And she said, ‘Go get me such and such, Mary.’ So Mary goes back to the house and brings such and such - a tool or something like that. And she's just in there like this. And these men are standing around, but she practically had her whole body inside this big truck. She fixed it. I thought it was wonderful. You know, there will come a time when we don't think that's extraordinary. But back then, especially as she was extremely good looking, had lovely long hair which she tied up and she was young and well built. And these men are just standing there - probably enjoying the look of her butt, no idea - but she fixed it. But Seneca, one of the reasons it felt like a different atmosphere because of the men. And it was right near a very belligerent town that did not want them there because the town had a lot of its income from the soldiers and from the airbase being there and they really resented the women. So the women at camp decided to go on mass to the town and talk to the people and the townspeople got news of this. And they were telling me the story and they were laughing like drains. They said ‘There's a bridge, you have to go over a bridge to get into the town.’ And she said ‘So there's the women coming, and they're singing and the townspeople are marching and they're saying ‘Nuke them, nuke them, nuke them!’ Which is on their doorstep. On their doorstep. And the women told us this story and they're all laughing, the spirit was very nice, but they weren't up for visitors.
[[Thank Peggy Seeger, and speak with another woman around the campfire.|Campfire]]I never saw it come out. I didn't - most of what I saw come out and in, were workers who came in to service the base, and workers who went home. And often some of them would give us a thumbs up. Yeah, sometimes they're looking at you as if you're costing them their job, but on the whole - and then there were the Americans - obvious Americans who’d brought their cars over - big cars that came out with the drivers, you know, steering wheel on the wrong side. And a lot of hoi polloi came in, and a lot of hoi polloi came out. And you were dragged away from everyone of them. Whenever anybody wanted to go in or out. You know. Yeah. So we used to stand on the A21 with leaflets, and we put the leaflets out ourselves - our group did. And you'd stand at the traffic lights, and when the traffic lights went red, you would hand out these to - and virtually you would have to say ‘You know that if cruise missiles came along here, you would - this road would be closed. Do you know how long a cruise missile - what do they call them - caravan is?’ It was about a quarter of a mile long, all the things that were needed to support the cruise missile, and the guard things. ‘It can be seen from outer space!’ You know, the whole idea of cruise was you could take it out on the road, and the Russians would never see it. You could see it easily.
[[Thank Peggy Seeger, and speak with another woman around the campfire.|Campfire]]Not then. I got arrested in front of Westminster for objecting to cruise missiles. Forget what year that was. I made a song that I was gonna sing in court. It's a good song. It's a very good song. It's called Tomorrow.
[[Did you get to sing it, or did you not as far as..? |Peggy Seeger.Did you get to sing it, or did you not as far as..?]]
[[Sing a song for unity and morale.|Fire 1 Sing a Song for unity and morale.]]Got through one line, and I was sent down for contempt of court. I worked out my whole defence. And then the charge that would apply to that defence was dropped. And I was charged with obstruction of something or other - obstruction of traffic. And then I started to sing and the same guy who took me down to the cells was the one who had arrested me. He was a nice young man. You know, one by one the police might be quite different from what they are like when they are with their buddies. And maybe we're all different when we're in groups - who knows what all the Greenham women were like at home. But I think men take more to doing what the leader tells them to do than the women did. Certainly there were a lot of different - not factions - at Greenham common, but different types of women that were quite individual, we weren't an army, we weren't a monstrous brigade or whatever the term is. Yeah. When women are really, I mean, Ewan MacColl, one of his childhood memories, he was brought up in Salford, was a horrendous sound that he heard - of women screaming and shouting, and you could hear it, he says, from a long way away. They're coming and they're banging pots and pans. And apparently a little girl had been raped. And they thought they knew where the guy lived. And they were going to his house. And he said they marched past his house where he lived and he said it was terrifying. Absolutely terrifying. It was an entire ocean, as he put it, of women's absolute outrage and anger.
[[Thank Peggy Seeger, and speak with another woman around the campfire.|Campfire]]No, no, you can. It runs through all of our systems that run our bodies, and it compares women's with men's. We are unbelievably complicated. We have better hearing, we can see colours better than men can. We have a delicacy in our hands that men do not have. We don't take ridiculous risks. We are more sharing, generally. There are men who share, there are men who see colour, there's men who hear well. But as a gender, women are - we had to be - we're sitting at the fire with the children, we are guardians of the children, anybody who's guarding the children has got to see - have 360 degree - you know. So that, it's an amazing book - goes through our brains, our digestive systems, our reproduction, the - just the way we operate as humans, as, as females. And the men are the rogues you know - the lion who comes in after the after the kill has been made by the females, and then chases the females away and eats it. That doesn't say that all men are - they're not. But they are not as a gender as subtle as women are, not as finely tuned. And they're not as patient, on the whole. They tend to go very, very quickly to aggression. Doesn't say I wasn't ready to kill my mother in law. But, you know that's, mm yeah.
[[Is there anything that you would like to say..? |Peggy Seeger.Is there anything that you would like to say..?]]
[[Thank Peggy Seeger, and speak with another woman around the campfire. |Campfire]] I should have gone down to Greenham more than I did. But in the ‘80s I had a husband with heart problems, and a daughter who had asthma. Um.
[[Why do you feel you should have gone down more?|Peggy Seeger. Why do you feel you should have gone down more?]]
[[Thank Peggy Seeger, and speak with another woman at the campfire.|Campfire]]It was a great place to be, and you know, just turning up and, and doing something for 2 or 3 days, and then leaving. They did welcome you - every time you turned up, you know - you got, you know, everybody was welcome. And it was from each according to what they could manage. And you just did whatever was necessary when you got there. And if you turned up with a car, it was fabulous because not all of them had, you know, and you could take somebody to the doctor if necessary, or you could go off to the grocery store, or take somebody to the court where they were supposed to be facing a whatever it was. But you just melded in the minute you got there, you just sat down, and if the fire needed feeding, you got up and fed it. Nobody said ‘Your turn.’ I don't remember any squabbles, where somebody said to somebody else ‘You're not doing your bit.’ It seemed to me that everybody did their bit. And there was no ‘This is your job. And that's mine’, the way there is with a marriage. Most marriages, whether they like it or not, when the cookie really crumbles and falls to the floor - watch who cleans it up. So, I think it would have done me a lot of good to be down there. Because you know, I was living in a house of sick people. My daughter and my husband. And I was taking care of them - not full time. We were still going out and touring, I had a career. Yeah. And nobody said, oh, you're a well known singer, come sing us a song. No they didn't. If you felt like singing, you sang. But I don't remember singing a lot. I don't. And I didn't - I was not greeted as a singer, who they, a lot of them, already knew about, because I'd been writing women's songs since the mid ‘70s. But a lot of them came from a strata that knew bugger all about the area of music that I was in.
[[Thanks Peggy Seeger, and speak with another woman around the campfire.|Campfire]]
[[What do you think made Greenham so powerful and impacted on women? |Peggy Seeger. What do you think made Greenham so powerful and impacted on women?]]Yeah, it was noticing the way a lot of women worked together. Because I'd been in a heterosexual marriage for 25 years. And our friends were couples. And I didn't have a group of women friends, other than the Beckenham Anti-Nuclear Group, nuclear group, but we had two men in that. But most of my life was heterosexual. I wasn't part of a women's anything.
[[Did Greenham change that? |Peggy Seeger. Did Greenham change that?]]
[[Thank Peggy Seeger, and speak with another woman at the campfire.|Campfire]]Ooh, yeah. Most of my friends now are older women. And I really like being in groups of women, I really do. And often, if you're in a group of women and a man turns up, it's just interesting to see how, you know, it's a drop of oil in the water. I mean, it's a stone that ripples out. Er, even if it's a man who's just trying like hell to fit in, you know? I mean, in my book I do write I don't think men can be feminists. I don't think it's possible. They can say what they like, but they can be feminist sympathisers, supporters. Allies. I like that. I like an ally. That's good. So I do know some smashing men. But it's a bit like, you know, in America, ‘Some of my best friends are black.’ You know? And there's a lot of men I really like, you know that I, that I know. A couple of them I really love. And I have two sons and I've got five grandsons.
[[Tell me more about your thoughts about women and men.|Peggy Seeger.Tell me more about your thoughts about women and men.]]
[[Thank Peggy Seeger, and speak with another woman around the campfire.|Campfire]]Because I have tended to be rather a control freak in my time, probably still am. But seeing the other person's point of view, I think that helped. Because I don't think there was ever any direct aggression against any of the people that came down. I don't remember it.
[[Very different to the media image that was painted of the Greenham women, isn't it?|Peggy Seeger.Very different to the media image that was painted of the Greenham women, isn't it?]]
[[It feels like there was this real sense that Greenham threatened society in some way?|Peggy Seeger.It feels like there was this real sense that Greenham threatened society in some way?]]I know, yeah.
[[Thank Peggy Seeger, and speak with another woman around the campfire.|Campfire]]We certainly did threaten the establishment, but in our own way - it wasn’t the word threaten. I think probably we turned some spotlights on what was happening. The real thing of what's happening.
[[Thank Peggy Seeger, and speak with another woman around the campfire.|Campfire]]They're all what I would say, really, really good people, as far as I know. But going to Greenham really gave me my first taste of what women can do when we get together. The support we give to each other. And I know there are cases of women turning into little dictators in women's groups. But I don't remember that happening at Greenham. You know, Helen John was a very wise woman. She facilitated - she was a kind of - if anybody spoke for it, I think she did. She was there so long. And she was kind of like a wise woman. I don't remember Rebecca being - I don't remember her being that kind of wise woman. It could have been Rebecca who went over to the policeman and the motorcycle guy. And she addressed the policeman first. That's important. And the policeman would have known it was important. She was brilliant. But I think that's all the memories that I have. I was there at the 30,000 - when the 30,000..
[[Was that the Embrace the Base action? |Peggy Seeger.Was that the Embrace the Base action?]]
[[Thank Peggy Seeger, and speak with another woman around the campfire.|Campfire]]Yeah, that's when I wrote Woman on Wheels. You've heard that one? ‘I'm a woman on wheels, but I've still got my brain.’ She was there. She was a Headmistress of a school in Muswell Hill - Jennifer Jones. And she was cutting the... It’s a good song. She was in a wheelchair from the time she was 40. She was also an architect. Her husband left her when she got - I think it was multiple sclerosis. And she designed her house for herself. Yeah, woman on wheels. And she mentions Greenham. So I think that's all I can tell you at this point. I don't think there's anything else.
[[Sing a song for unity and morale.|Fire 1 Sing a Song for unity and morale.]]
[[Thank Peggy Seegger, and speak with another woman around the campfire.|Campfire]]I guess it was one - there's several, but probably the one that is most telling for something like Greenham was the guys bringing the blankets. Because there weren't a lot of us at that little fire. Half a dozen. And these three cars come and they step out and you don't feel good about that. Because we didn't have our complement of police at that fence. And I don't even think we had the guys marching with the - no that one didn't have any - it might have had a soldier on the other side. But they were heavily armed, the soldiers on the other side.
[[What was it about those three cars, and the way these guys were with you, and the way you were as women in that situation that is quintessential? |Peggy Seeger.What was it about those three cars, and the way these guys were with you, and the way you were as women in that situation that is quintessential?]]
[[Thank Peggy Seeger, and speak with another woman around the campfire|Campfire]]The darkness. Because all there was was our fire. And they couldn't have it. And it made them angry. Well, they obviously had come to trade blankets for sitting at the fire. And who knows - maybe picking up one of us? I don't know, men are strange. You know, that little thing that hangs between their legs urges them on to do a lot of things. And I think that is a lot of it. You know, when you look into the physiology, men produce buckets of sperm every day. They gotta do something with it. It’s there - it’s very, one of the most telling comments a man has ever made to me, was in Sacramento. And I had just given a concert. I had a song called ‘Everyone Knows’. And it's about hormones, women's hormones, men's hormones. It's a slightly funny song. And he came up to me, a little guy with a beard. He said ‘You know, I love being old.’ He says, ‘That's not telling me what to do.’ And he went like that. Pointing at his groin, sort of thing? That's not telling me what to do. It's not leading me around. But - not that the women were predictable, but I don't think there was much violence at Greenham. I didn't ever see any. But man against man, there seems to be an awful lot of violence. Something that just has to be. But err, you did see this - that night, and it didn't feel good. There was one quite strong woman she says ‘We don't trade blankets for a place at the fire, but thank you for the blankets.’ I think in a way, I probably learned a lot from Greenham about diplomacy.
[[Really? Tell me more.|Peggy Seeger.Really? Tell me more.]]
[[Thank Peggy Seeger, and speak with another woman at the campfire.|Campfire]]~~Your Text Here~~ ''“Carry Greenham Home” written and performed by Peggy Seeger''
Hand in hand, the line extends
All around the nine-mile fence,
Thirty-thousand women chant,
Bring the message home.
Chorus: Carry Greenham home, yes,
Nearer home and far away,
Carry Greenham home.
Singing voices, rising higher,
Weave a dove into the wire,
In our hearts a blazing fire,
Bring the message home. (chorus)
Here we sit, here we stand,
Here we claim the common land;
Nuclear arms shall not command,
Bring the message home. (chorus)
Singing voices, sing again,
To the children, to the men,
From the Channel to the glens,
Bring the message home. (chorus)
Not the nightmare, not the scream,
Just the loving human dream
Of peace, the ever flowing stream,
Bring the message home. (chorus)
Woman tiger, woman dove,
Help to save the world we love,
Velvet fist in iron glove,
Bring the message home. (chorus)
[[Sing another song.|Fire 1 Sing a Song for unity and morale.]]
[[Speak with another woman around the campfire|Campfire]]
<audio src="https://scarylittlegirls.co.uk/campfire/Peggy-Seeger-Live-Carry-Greenham-Home.mp3" autoplay>''“Tomorrow” written by Peggy Seeger, introduced and performed by Alice Robinson''
I know where my pleasures lie, for pleasures I have many,
Hopes and dreams that carry me through daily care and worry;
But every pleasure's touched with grief, every hope blighted with sorrow,
Nightmare overtakes the dream—I fear I've lost tomorrow.
There it is, deep in my mind when I wake in the morning—
I'm waiting, trembling, listening for the dread Four-Minute Warning.
When I watch the children play and only see annihilation,
Then I know fear has now become a normal part of living.
Nature trains us to survive, protect our children's children;
We break the first of human laws preparing now to kill them.
Peace is what they say we have—it feels more like a poisoned arrow
Pointing at our deepest dream—the promise of tomorrow.
You know where your pleasures lie. Will you have time to use them?
Hopes and dreams are empty joys if we're prepared to lose them.
You who stand and shake your heads and judge us that we act in error,
Ask yourself, deep in your heart: Do you, too, live in terror?
My spirit's dying day by day, murdered by warmongers;
That is why I'm here, for I can't bear it any longer.
I'm not here to waste my time, I'm not here to beg or borrow,
I'm here to demand what's mine. I’m here to claim tomorrow.
[[Sing another song.|Fire 1 Sing a Song for unity and morale.]]
[[Speak with another woman around the campfire|Campfire]]
<audio src="https://scarylittlegirls.co.uk/campfire/Tomorrow-by-Peggy-Seeger-recorded-by-Alice-Robinson-with-Peggy-Quote.mp3" autoplay><img src="https://scarylittlegirls.co.uk/campfire/peggy_seeger.png" width="400" height="400" alt="Stylised photograph of Peggy Seeger sitting at her desk surrounded by musical instruments. Photograph by Christine Bradshaw, treatment by LHTrevail.">
Peggy is a folk singer, songwriter and activist who wrote Carry Greenham Home. Along with other musicians, she sang to the march that was coming through from Wales to Greenham in September 1981. She later joined them at Greenham Common and recalls journalists, donations and getting pissed-off with lounging men! Peggy speaks of how women don’t have a written history and how we have to celebrate the power of a lot of women together. She remembers women improvising singing collectively to dumbfound the police, showing skill in keeping the peace where men could not and Rebecca Johnson singing her nightmare of nuclear war.
[[Back|Find out more about Greenham Women.]][[How did you come to be part of the peace movement?|Judith Baron. How did you come to be part of the peace movement?]]
[[How did you hear about Greenham? | Judith Baron. How did you hear about Greenham?]]I originally started, I joined CND because I was quite sort of anxious and depressed about what was going on um, with you know - nuclear weapons, and I sort of went on demonstrations, and then one day we had a trip to Greenham, a day trip with the CND group. And then I was just sort of hooked, really.
[[So what year was that, that you went? |Judith Baron. So what year was that, that you went?]]
[[[And what camp did you stay at? Did you stay at numerous different ones? |Judith Baron. And what camp did you stay out? Did you stay at numerous different ones?]]I think through CND and.. also there was loads of stuff in the media - you couldn't really miss it. It was always on the news ‘These dirty smelly women’ that I became one of!
[[And how did you feel about how it was represented? |Judith Baron. And how did you feel about how it was represented?]]
[[And when you got there, was it what you expected? |Judith Baron. And when you got there, was it what you expected?]]So I first went, it was about ‘84/‘85. And so it wasn't - I wasn't there at the beginning. And yeah, I went originally for quite a few weekends. I just went with a friend of mine - Maggie, we used to go down there for quite a lot of weekends. And then I went back to college to do a degree when I was in my late 20s. And um, I took a year off and spend that year, well 9 months of living at Greenham. So I was there sort of, you know, towards the middle, the end.
[[And you mentioned you were there for nine months, is that right? |Judith Baron. And you mentioned you were there for nine months, is that right?]]
[[What made the, what was the decision process for you to stay? |Judith Baron. What made the, what was the decision process for you to stay?]]It was, well, it was very negative. As if, you know, there was such a variety of different women from different backgrounds and they made it sound like everyone, you know, they had a real sort of stereotype. Even one of my close friends said to me ‘I didn't think you were that type’! It’s just like - it shows the power of the media.
[[In terms of nonviolent direct action, did that work for you? And how did you see it at Greenham? |Judith Baron.In terms of nonviolent direct action, did that work for you? And how did you see it at Greenham?]]
[[And were you involved in any kind of non-violent actions as well?|Judith Baron.And what, were you involved in any kind of non-violent actions as well?]]I'm not sure I really knew well, actually, I did go once earlier on with my sister and my mum, because my sister had been a few times. And I can't even remember when that was, but it was early. And it was one of the really big demos. And the women were blockading the van, and I'm not very good in crowds anyway, and it just sort of totally freaked me out, really. Because, you know, the police were dragging women, and it was just a bit overwhelming. And I didn't go for a while, but then when we went with the CND group, and it wasn't, you know, a huge event, I just, yeah, it was sort of - it was different. And I really, it was just nice being around the people that felt the same. I mean, that's why I joined the peace movement really, because it was really scary, and all the protect and survive stuff was going on when the government were sticking things through your door about what to do in the event of a nuclear attack, which was just a joke, and sort of just you know, it was the first time I’d done an all women thing, and that was really quite powerful as well. Yeah, I don't think I really knew what to expect. You know, ‘cause you hear all this negative stuff - I didn’t take any notice, I just went!
[[And how important was it to you that Greenham was a women only camp?|Judith Baron. And how important was it to you that Greenham was a women only camp?]]
[[Thank Judith Baron, and speak with another woman around the campfire.|Campfire]]That was because I went back to college. I still visited a bit, actually, when I was at Greenham I got quite involved in the Aldermaston camp, which is still going - which is once a month and we used to go there for the weekend. And I carried on going there for about 11 years.
[[Tell me about the Aldermastom camp. |Judith Baron.Tell me about the Aldermastom camp.]]
[[Sit quietly and carry on listening.|Judith Baron, Carry on listening]]Well I was actually doing quite an unusual course, I was doing a degree by independent study where you wrote your own program and it sort of evolved - it started off as a diploma and then I took the year to go to Greenham and then went back and did the degree. And I started off just doing - it was going to be about the peace movement in general but then it sort of evolved into low level radiation and its effects on people's health and the environment. So it just seemed like a sort of natural thing to do - to go to Greenham.
[[ How many times were you arrested? |Judith Baron.How many times were you arrested? ]]
[[What do you feel that legacy is of Greenham within the peace movement or any other movements - like the feminist movement or the LGBT movement? |Judith Baron.What do you feel that legacy is of Greenham within the peace movement or any other movements - like the feminist movement or the LGBT movement?]]Um, yeah. When I used to visit with my friend, we’d usually go to Orange Gate. And then when I moved there I went to Orange Gate but I was only there for a short time and there were only a couple of us, and we had - well I think they'd closed the gate because there weren't that many women and then me and someone else went to open it and we didn't have a car, and we had quite a nasty vigilante attack. The other woman that was there had her tent slashed and it was quite scary. So we then went round to Blue Gate. And then I spent quite a long time at Woad Gate, so I was sort of between Woad and Blue, but I probably felt that Woad was my gate.
[[And previously people have talked about the different personalities, or the different kind of ethos’s of the gates - did you find that as well when you were there? |Judith Baron. And previously people have talked about the different personalities, or the different kind of ethos’s of the gates - did you find that as well when you were there?]]
[[And how was Blue? |Judith Baron. And how was Blue?]]I think because I was there later on, I wasn't there at the beginning - there was sort of less women, but yeah, I think Woad small and calmer.
[[Did you ever go into Newbury? |judith Baron. Did you ever go into Newbury?]]
[[You mentioned you took photographs, did you see other things going on around you about representing Greenham artistically?|Judith Baron. You mentioned you took photographs, did you see other things going on around you about representing Greenham artistically?]]Quite young! I mean, I was in my late 20s but a lot of the Blue Gate women were very young and quite immature. Funny, a few of them live in Hebdon, and you know, they were like children at the time, so we’re all adults...
[[Do you still like talk to them about Greenham and stuff like that, or is it...? |Judith Baron. Do you still like talk to them about Greenham and stuff like that, or is it...?]]
[[And did you make friends or any partners there and are you still friends?|Judith Baron. And did you make friends or any partners there and are you still friends?]]Not that much. One of the cafes in Hebden - we had last year, an exhibition of - it's only a tiny little cafe. And I had some pictures done, I've got some pictures, and then more and more women were bringing stuff in - someone from CND sort of set it - it was her idea and we're trying to find somewhere like the town hall, but they're fully booked for over a year. So we were trying to find somewhere to, because more and more women were bringing books, newsletters, all sorts of, you know, and I’m sort of more of a visual person, and one of the women that I knew quite well from Greenham that lives in Hebden was saying ‘We all need to sort of write down now our memories a bit,’ but I'm not so good at sort of writing descriptive things. So for me at the time, I just always had a camera and I just took loads of pictures. Just had a book of some of those done, because at the time, it was just oh well, I’l just take a few pictures. And it was only sort of recently that I started actually realizing how you know, historic they are.
[[Thank Judith Baron, and speak with another woman around the campfire.|Campfire]]Yeah, the women here - I don't see them all regularly, in fact I've been in Hebden - I'm originally from London - I've been in Hebden 11 years and some of the women - I'd heard from other women they were living here and some of them I've only seen in the last couple of years. So it’s not many I see regularly - I see them occasionally. But I have kept in touch with other women. There’s someone in Brighton - there was a group of Brighton women used to come to Greenham, and one of them - Jenny, I still, in-fact I'm going down to Brighton in March. I lived there, so I'm going to see her and I've got another friend - Jackie, who moved from London to Norfolk, I see her probably once a year, once every other year or something. And my friend, Maggie, I don't see her that often but we do sort of speak a couple of times a year. And so there's a few people that I've met. Well, actually, Maggie I met at CND, but she was the person I used to go to Greenham with, originally.
[[Thank Judith Baron, and speak with another woman around the campfire.|Campfire]]Um, I think before I went, I wasn't - I'd never even sort of thought about it. But when I was there, I think it was quite important. And just because it sort of felt like a sort of safe space and also you felt more - I think it was more creative, and also because it was totally non-violent. I mean, I know there's a lot of men that are non violent but there are some, you know, and I just think it had a different dynamic. The police never quite knew how to handle us! Because we were, you know, we might be singing - well not me personally, but I think it was quite important because there were plenty of other mixed things going on, and I think when I was in CND obviously that was mixed, but I just felt like there was more chance to, you know, to talk out and express yourself. Sort of a different dynamic.
[[And have you taken that forward in your life after Greenham - that you kind of championed women only spaces or is it just something that it's useful to know about? | Judith Baron.And have you taken that forward in your life after Greenham - that you kind of championed women only spaces or is it just something that it's useful to know about?]]
[[Sing a song for unity and peace.|Fire 1 Sing a Song for unity and morale.]]I consider myself a feminist. I've got my partner trained, he's got me - he gets me a Suffragette (inaudible) (laughs). Yeah, I think it has made me a lot more aware of the way that women are treated in places and even here, they talk about equality, but, you know, like a lot of women - we were involved in the women's movement and feminism. And I know there's more equality in some ways, but then in other ways you feel like, sometimes I feel like we've gone backwards from the ‘80s.
[[Thank Judith Baron, and speak with another woman around the campfire.|Campfire]]Yeah, I don't think violence solves anything. So doing things non violently was, you know, that was really important. And as I said it was the MOD and the American servicemen - you know they just found it quite quite strange. But, you know, I don't see how you can say that you want peace if you're not acting peacefully yourself.
[[And in terms of the relationship with the men around you - kind of like the police or the squaddies, or the men on the base, how did you feel they reacted to you? Could you talk a little bit about it? |Judith Baron.And in terms of the relationship with the men around you - kind of like the police or the squaddies, or the men on the base, how did you feel they reacted to you? Could you talk a little bit about it? ]]
[[Did you have any bailiffs come when you were there? |Judith Baron.Did you have any bailiffs come when you were there? ]]Yeah, yeah. And, you know, we’d talk it through, and it felt very supportive. I think that was another thing about working with women, you tend to sort of go through things and, you know, look out for each other. And they used to do sort of workshops, and things like that.
[[Yeah, I've heard a lot about that kind of consensual decision making as well, and having a talking stick, and things like that. How did you feel that worked in practice for you? |Judith Baron. Yeah, I've heard a lot about that kind of consensual decision making as well, and having a talking stick and things like that. How did you feel that worked in practice for you? ]]
[[The collective nature of decisions - would you be able to talk us through how it would happen? So what it would kind of look like? What was your experience of it - how did it look? |Judith Baron.The collective nature of decisions - would you be able to talk us through how it would happen? So what it would kind of look like? What was your experience of it - how did it look?]]Um, mostly, it’s dynamic sometimes. But yeah, I think it worked pretty well. And yeah, non-violent direct action, as I said, I think it's really - I remember going on, I think it was on a demonstration - of being in London, and I can't remember if it was for the Iraq War. Anyway, it was something, you know, some peace demonstration. And someone - one of the women saying ‘Sit down’, because she felt it, you know, and I, some of us sat down, and then there was some, you know, men that were just sort of going ‘No’, and sort of shouting and it felt horrible because it went totally against - what's the point of campaigning for peace and non violence when people are being, you know, there's a difference between being assertive and, you know, I don't have a problem with attacking machines and things like that! But, you know, being violent goes totally against anything being peaceful and you know, I think that was a strong point of the camp - being totally non-violent.
[[Thank Judith Baron, and speak with another woman around the campfire.|Campfire]]It varied, I mean, some of them got quite, you know, because their normal reaction to anyone - as they see causing trouble - they expect aggression back to them, so they can be quite aggressive. There were the odd one or two. They were quite good humoured and took it on but a lot of them were quite - and especially the Americans, they were like very sort of protective of their base and used to get quite angry. Um, and a lot of the men locally or going by would be not, you know, there were some that were supportive, and men could come during the day as long as they didn't stay over. So occasionally there would be like a group would come out - I think when I first went with the CND group, there were a couple of men. But you'd get other men from the area who would come around who would be quite abusive. When I was at camp at Aldermaston, that was - we were originally the camp was at Falcongate, and there was a pub there. And that was, you know, the men would come out when they’d had a few drinks and be quite, quite aggressive. But as I said, at the time when I was at Orange Gate with one other woman and we'd gone to bed, and some men came round, and they actually - they were sort of shouting, and they actually slashed her tent and she screamed. And I'm a bit of a coward. I just froze. And then they went off and then I got out of the tent - I was really shaking. But you know, there was quite a lot of sort of negativity. Well, a lot of local people didn't really like us being there. But um, you’d just get some men that - it's fine if people want to disagree, but you know, when they're being aggressive, it wasn’t good.
[[Thank Judith Baron, and talk to another woman around the campfire.|Campfire]]Yeah. When I was first there, and especially when I was visiting they'd be quite a lot, and they just sort of grabbed things and it wasn't very nice. But then I think about the time I was actually living there they didn't really bother much, they’d just come and take the rubbish. I think there weren't as many women and I think they'd just given up a bit by then.
[[What year was this? |Judith Baaron.What year was this? ]]
[[What was an average day like at Greenham?|Judith Baron.What was an average day like at Greenham?]]80...I'm trying to remember when I was there. I’ve got my book with my photos. I started visiting in ‘85. I think it was either ‘86 or ‘87 that I lived there. And by that time the bailiffs were a bit lower key. Yeah, when I first used to visit in the mid ‘80s they were full on you know, if you went out for the day or you went away you’d have to take your tent and put it in a vehicle or somewhere safe where someone couldn’t get it because you didn't know when they would turn up. I mean, there was quite a good network of women when they turned up, letting the next gate know that they were on their rounds. So you’d sometimes have a bit of notice. But pulling women out their tents to get hold of them. And when I used to visit obviously I didn't have much stuff with me so I’d be helping and you’d be walking up the road with whatever you could grab - like a tent over your shoulder, walking up the road to get out of the way.
[[Thank Judith Baron and speak to another woman around the campfire.|Campfire]]Yeah, because I don't have a car - so when I was living there, when I was at Blue and Woad, I used to get the bus from - because I lived in London, so I’d get a National Express coach to Newbury and walk up. But I used to go in probably about once a week - we used to go to the Friends’ Meeting House, the Quakers, because they were quite supportive and we could have a shower and there was a washing machine, so you'd go in there and have a shower and wash your clothes and then there was a cafe in there, so we’d sort of treat ourselves and have egg and chips or something! So not a huge amount - I seem to remember there was a market there and we would go in there sometimes.
[[And interactions with the residents when you were in Newbury - did you ever see them? And would they recognise you as a Greenham woman - as somebody who was living at the camp? |Judith Baron. And interactions with the residents when you were in Newbury - did you ever see them? And would they recognise you as a Greenham woman - as somebody who was living at the camp? ]]
[[How much do you think the camp was politically infiltrated or sabotaged towards the end? And was there a feeling of paranoia? |Judith Baron. How much do you think the camp was politically infiltrated or sabotaged towards the end? And was there a feeling of paranoia?]]
Well, yeah, we had a meeting - we’d sort of go around and let everyone, all the women have a say. As I said, when you're living together and sometimes there's sort of tensions going on and there will be disagreements. But it was always trying to let everyone have their say, some sort of consensus decision. I guess when I was actually living there, that the numbers weren’t as huge, so it was probably a bit easier. But I can imagine when early on when there were a lot of women it would have been sort of more difficult.
[[Thank Judith Baron and talk to another woman at the campfire.|Campfire]]<img src="https://scarylittlegirls.co.uk/campfire/judith_baron.png" width="400" height="400" alt="Stylised photograph of Judith Baron, standing on a bridge looking over it. Photograph by Christine Bradshaw, treatment by LHTrevail.">
Arriving at Greenham Common from the CND movement, Judith began visiting Greenham Common in 1984/5. Taking a year off during her time at college, Judith spent a transformative nine months living at Greenham Common and went on to visit Aldermaston Women’s Peace Camp for 11 years. A keen visual artist, Judith also produced a book of her photography and drawings from her time at Greenham.
[[Back|Find out more about Greenham Women.]]
''“Woman On Wheels” written and performed by Peggy Seeger''
I’m a woman on wheels,
But I’ve still got my brain,
I’m gonna tell you how it feels,
To be your own railway train.
Roll down to the corner,
Put on your brakes,
I’m gonna tell you what it takes,
To be a woman on wheels.
Over the holes, the bumps and cracks,
Remember that day
We were running for the train
And my tyre went flat,
That man over there,
The one under the hat,
Trying so hard not to stare,
You get used to that.
Still, better than looking,
Than looking away,
You get that every day,
A woman on wheels.
Pity me and I’ll pity you,
Now let’s talk about some of
The things that you can’t do,
When it comes to curbs,
When it comes to stairs,
I’ve got my special words,
And I don’t mean prayers.
When it comes to the shops,
To reach the merchandise
It's a major exercise,
For the woman on wheels.
I want a chair that can levitate,
Race up ramps, run down stairs,
Wouldn’t that be great.
I went down to Greenham,
I was cutting the fence,
Cops pulled me outta the way,
Then I waded in.
Said you’ll never get arrested,
A little lady like you,
I said who are you talking to,
I’m a woman on wheels.
I said hold on!
I’ve got my rights to demonstrate,
Next time I went down,
I took a dozen bolt cutters,
And a dozen wheelchair mates,
I want to be alone,
But I’m always under care,
I’ve got this urge to roam.
Me and my chair we’re together for life,
Not together for love.
There’s things I need more of,
I’m a woman on wheels.
So many places I can’t go
Lying in a field with the flowers,
A walk on a beach with the sand between my toes,
Well I need you,
But you need me,
To tell you ‘bout a different view,
Of the world you see.
About the pain I feel,
‘Bout the fight I’ve won,
‘Bout how I do some little things,
You think can’t be done.
With the deaf and blind
The lame and hoarse
There’s money around to help us all,
It’s a crippled system holds us back,
Keeps the woman on wheels,
Off the main line track.
[[Sing another song.|Fire 1 Sing a Song for unity and morale.]]
[[Speak with another woman around the campfire|Campfire]]
<audio src="https://scarylittlegirls.co.uk/campfire/Woman-On-Wheels-Peggy-Seeger.mp3" autoplay>Double-click this passage to edit it.Now, how did I hear of it? Err, to the actual Greenham Common itself, oh I know how I got to hear about it, no, I know exactly. I think it was Melksham, I'd have to look at my book just to check. It was a town that began with M. And we were asked by a women's committee of some sort - I can't remember exactly who - to come and sing to this caravan that was going through that had started in Wales. And so we went along, and we booked a place to stay overnight - we had our daughter with us Kitty. And she would have been about 10 or 11. She was born in 1972. So this would be ‘82, well probably more into the ‘80s. So we went along and we set ourselves up on the stage. And the march came in. And it was men and women then, and women with with strollers - prams, and there were toddlers, little ones. And they all sat down, and they were dirty, and they were exhausted. And we gave them a concert. Err, we didn't charge - that was part of what we did. We either worked for a fee, or for nothing. And I remember a huge number of them fell asleep. And I was so pleased! They were just exhausted. And they'd stopped - it was a late afternoon concert, somewhere between - at about tea time. And then when they settled at Greenham Common itself, I went down because it was in the newspapers everywhere. I think that was how I probably found out where they were - because we knew where they were going. But they didn't know what to do when they got there. They didn't know what they were going to do. Some of them chained themselves to the fence. A huge tent was donated, and I mean, it was enormous. It was about as big as maybe from probably the whole space of this house would have fitted into it. And there were beds all around, or things on the floor. There was a cooking area, and there was a place where everybody sat around a little fire, and everything was done in there. And there were always journalists at the door asking to speak - I remember one particular one, and this was the routine - the journalist comes in, and it was a wide entrance. I do remember you that, you could see out quite a lot. And there were some kind of things that provided light on the top, that maybe that you could open up when it was good weather. Maybe it wasn't as big as I remember. But it was enormous. And it was in unbelievable disorder. Because people had donated old sofas, and they’d donated old mattresses - and it was all donations. And journalists would park - this was by the big gate, the enormous gate - the one that's in all the films, the one that's in the film about them. You've seen it.
[[I love that. Tell me more.| Peggy Seeger. I love that. Tell me more.]]
[[Were people relatively friendly when you arrived? Or was it, was it quite different experiences of reception at the camp? |1Were people relatively friendly when you arrived? Or was it, was it quite different experiences of reception at the camp?]]Probably, yeah, because you smelt quite smokey! And because we'd be wearing Dr. Martens, which weren't trendy at that time. They weren't like now. So, yeah, I think we would be.
[[Thank Judith Baron and go back to the campfire to talk to another woman.|Campfire]]Well, there was a lot of tying things on the base, rainbows and people up putting stories, yeah it was quite creative. I remember that once, not feeling well, I had my period, and I had a bit of a stomach ache and I'd gone to bed and my tent was quite near the fire and it was just really lovely, just have that memory of laying there and just drifting off to women's singing. Yeah, it was quite creative. As I said, I took pictures, but at the time they were just snapshots. I quite liked taking pictures - people you know and the place you know, you just sort of take pictures and at the time I didn't think anything of it and I probably got a couple of hundred pictures - or probably more because I took some at CND, so I've got quite a lot at Aldermaston. I've just had a book done - only because one of the women in Hebden was saying ‘Oh, a couple of women that lived at Greenham have recently written books and we're all getting on a bit so put down your memories’, but I'm not really very good at - I don’t feel comfortable doing written stuff, really. So I scanned all my Greenham pictures and I've made a book and as I was saying earlier we had an exhibition at one of the cafes here and there's amazing stuff - like even the newsletters - if you’ve seen the newsletters they're quite creative.
[[Tell me more about your book.|Judith Baron.Tell me more about your book]]
[[Tell me more about the newsletters.|Judith Baron. Tell me more about the newsletters]]I only found out 6 years ago that I'm dyslexic. And if I read a newsletter or even anything I always flick through and look at the pictures and I'm more likely to read something that's just a small bit - I’m quite a visual person. And I've also got some drawings I did. My mum was really creative and artistic and my sister is but I just did some pencil drawings from around the camp. Only probably about nine or ten or something, but I'd sort of enjoy doing it and to me there's no way I'd do a written book. But as I said, I've just done a book of some of my Greenham pictures. And my idea is to just do maybe one of all of them for an archive because as I said, it was only that someone else said we should be recording our memories because otherwise people only read what the press thought Greenham was.
[[Thank Judith Baron and talk to another woman at the campfire.|Campfire]]But really because the newsletters - sometimes if you get something and it's just pages and pages of writing I think, oh I’ll do it later or I don't take it all in. But when there's lots of visual stuff you just want to read it.
[[Thank Judith Baron and go back to the campfire.|Campfire]]Um, there were - it's come out that there were some undercover police there. I don't know about towards the end, we talked about consensus and there were divisions and I'm sure women have talked about Yellow Gate and the rest of the camp and things like that, which was quite sad and quite unfortunate.
[[How did that work for you - with the Yellow Gate division? How did you see that? |Judith Baron How did that work for you - with the Yellow Gate division? How did you see that?]]
[[Sit quietly and carry on listening.|Judith Baron How did that work for you - with the Yellow Gate division? How did you see that?]]When I first used to visit I used to go to different gates and I did go to Yellow Gate once and they had written an article or something complaining about the other gates and I really didn't know what was going on and I think I actually signed something thinking 'Oh, it's Greenham, it must be okay.' Then at Yellow Gate they didn't want people, women to go to other gates, whereas other gates they’d say, ‘Well go to the Yellow Gate and see’ and I actually experienced their hostility once - we went around there, there was a meeting about the sanctuary - the bit of land that was bought. And one woman in particular, she was just screaming at other women ‘Oh, you're well off. You've got a big house’ - or something. It was to a woman that lived locally who was one of a couple of local women who were really supportive - and when it got too much for women you could stay there, and she used to grow her own veg and she was always bringing food round, she was so nice and this woman was yelling at her and then she was yelling at other people and then she yelled at me ‘You unknown person. You're not a Greenham woman. I've never seen you before’. And you know, it was just - I’ve forgotten what the question was!
[[We were talking about your experience of the divisions. What was the letter that you signed? |Judith Baron. We were talking about yourexperience of the divisions. What was the letter that you signed?]]
[[Was there a feeling of paranoia? Somebody said ‘I don't know you, you're not a Greenham woman’ so was there feeling of paranoia around the camp at times? |Judith Baron. Was there a feeling of paranoia? Somebody said ‘I don't know you, you're not a Greenham woman’. Was there feeling of paranoia around the camp at times?]]I can't even remember. And then we got accused because we did some daft actions - we dressed up as schoolchildren and went on the base. I mean, we weren't wearing shorts, we were wearing our usual sort of scruffy trousers. Because we just had our hair in bunches and Yellow Gate wrote that we were undermining the camp but there was all this stuff - wages stuff, housework. And in fact, a few years later after I left the camp - in London, I lived in a housing CoOp. And after I left there - the stuff that some of those women were involved in had sort of caused rifts and problems there.
[[The action where you went into the base dressed as school girls. How did the decision come about to do that and what was it like on the base? Were you scared?|Judith Baron. The action where you went into the base dressed as school girls. How did the decision come about to do that and what was it like on the base? Were you scared?]]
[[And what was it about them that caused so much opposition? |Judith Baron.And what was it about them that caused so much opposition?]]I didn't feel it in the gates that I was in, in-fact I think a lot of women were quite welcoming and quite trusting. And there were women with mental health problems. That might have been because it was a safe place it attracted all sorts of women including some that may not have been particularly political or there because of the weapons but just because they felt it was safe, which is you know, fine, and you can sort of understand. I tend to try and get on with most people but yeah - it was just so sad about Yellow Gate.
[[Thank Judith Baron and go back to the campfire to talk to another woman.|Campfire]]No, I wasn't scared, I think because I trusted women. The first time I got arrested and I got charged, but they all got dropped because it was interfering with the fence - because we were trying to unpick it. And it's funny because I get claustrophobic, so I don't like being locked in places. But then most of the time they used to lock us in - well, they didn't even lock it, there’d just be an MOD police officer in the portacabin. And it was fine, but we - I don't know, you’re just young and you come up with these mad ideas.
[[Can you tell me about other actions?|Judith Baron.Can you tell me about other actions?]]
[[Thank Judith Baron and speak to another woman at the campfire.|Campfire]]They seemed take over and just sort of - they were quite dominant. Like the Yellow Gate split, one of the women got accused of being racist because she asked a black woman to let other women talk as well and it was just - I don't know why, I really don’t understand their motives or whether it was deliberate ...they seemed quite sort of militant. I don't really know. They were sort of quite aggressive. There’s a balance between being assertive and aggressive. And they were like, on the crest. There's times to be assertive, I can be assertive when I want to but then other times you sort of hold back and I don’t, I don't know either!
[[Thank Judith Baron and go back to the campfire to speak with another woman.|Campfire]]My favourite action, it was just a bit daft - I think we went in somewhere near Green Gate. I can't remember exactly. But people, because the Blue Gate was on the road that led to the skip, the dump, people used to often just stop off. And I think sometimes they wanted to give it to us and sometimes they couldn't be bothered going any further and they’d give us furniture. So we'd have arm chairs and sofas and someone dropped off the sofa and we already had a sofa and we didn't want it. So we dragged it round - we went in, we had a box, we drew a television. And we took some sweets and stuff and biscuits and we all sat there pretending we were watching television, and when the MOD came around, because at that time - I can't even remember when it was, after - during the court case when they found that the fence illegal, so all they could do was say we were just trespassing. Anyway, they came in and we said ‘Please don't come into our living room without permission’. And actually they sort of went along with it. Anyway, so then I think they did take a - I can’t remember if they processed us or not. But anyway, they kept wanting someone to sign for the sofa and none of us would sign for it. So they had to keep it! It was a bit daft. But other things we did were a bit more serious. And we actually, at one point they were talking about - the runway, actually using it for for domestic flights. And I've actually got a picture in here because we actually did posters - this is outside the fence, but we did go in and we made these posters - like holiday destination posters. That's outside, but we went in and we stuck some up saying ‘Your holiday!’ So some of the things were fun but they had a serious motive.
[[Tell me about a more serious action.|Judith Baron. Tell me about a more serious action.]]
[[Thank Judith Baron and go back to the campfire to talk to another woman.|Campfire]]One year we went in and it was the end of the year, between Christmas and New Year, and we decided to try and get in 100 times before the end of the year. But other times there were specific actions and we also went to other places for a few weeks, every week on a Friday. I don't know why, just a small group of us would go to RAF Welford, which seems to have chemicals. It was really bizarre because we'd climb in and I was never really good at climbing fences, so I’d sort of get stuck at the top and you'd see a vehicle - anyway we'd get in. And we went a few weeks running and it was just deserted, and there were all these bomb cases and chemical things and we'd walk around and then in the end we've just go to the front and just walk out and they'd get all sort of ‘Eeeurgh’ and ring through to the control, and we'd just gone and it took them a few weeks to realise - we just did it a few times but we’d got to, it was quite scary. A lot of the just going in was because they kept saying it was a high security, top security fence and a group of women with some bolt cutters - it was quite easy to get in, and I know one of the first things I did when I'd not been there that long was we cut down something like 20 sections of fence. So what you do, you'd cut up and just keep a little bit on, so it wasn't obvious. And then you'd go around at the end and cut the last bits and it would just fall down, and then we'd just go back and sit by the fire. You know they never knew!
[[Thank Judith Baron, return to the campfire and speak with another woman.|Campfire]]Oh, I don't know, I have got my charge sheet somewhere -maybe about a dozen.
[[Where you processed at anytime and did you end up in court? |Judith Baron.Where you processed at anytime and did you end up in court?]]
[[And were you scared at any point when you were arrested?|Judith Baron. And were you scared at any point when you were arrested?]]Um, just showing the power of what you can do. But I just feel it’s sad because we got Greenham closed down but then they started doing Trident and things out at sea. Although there was a lot of publicity about what was going on and women from all over the world used to come, which was pretty amazing. It shows what can be done. But I just find that now, I feel now because of social media people get lots of information - might not all be accurate - but just looking at things and liking them and I think it's harder to get women out, or generally get people out to actually do things. And even when Greenham was going, there's a lot, there's so much going on on so many issues that there's lots of people that are supportive that might not necessarily, other priorities, or just trying to survive life. But I do feel it just shows what you can do and that you don’t need violence to change things.
[[Thank Judith Baron and go back to the campfire and speak with another woman.|Campfire]]I went to court a couple of times but then they delayed it because there was the case about the legality of the fence. So all the cases were dropped in the end. There was only one time I was taken to Newbury. I get claustrophobic and I was put in a cell with some other women and I was the last one to be processed. And I did say to the woman before me ‘I don’t like being locked in’. So she said ‘I won’t mess around, I'd be really quick’.
[[Thank Judith Baron and speak with another woman at the campfire.|Campfire]]Only the being locked in. I was never put in one of - it was sort of an open van. I know from some of the women who got put in those vans there were little cells in them and that would have - I don't like being in enclosed spaces, and I don’t like being locked in. So it did put me off some things, if I knew I might end up in prison, because I don't think I could have coped it with it. You know morally I wouldn't have had an issue because I felt like we were stopping, or attemting to stop, horrendous things happening but emotionally I know I couldn't because I'm claustrophobic.
[[Judith Baron. Were you there at the end as well when they took the silos out?]]
[[Thank Judith Baron and go back to the campfire to talk to another woman.|Campfire]]Not right at the end - I was there when the cruise missiles, the first lot, went and I was actually on breakfast television with Joan Ruddock and Kirsty - can’t remember her second name, yeah, that was the day when they went. It felt like we sort of achieved something. It felt good, because they were just horrible. When they used to take the convoys out, and it was just, I don't know - I just felt like now with the state of the NHS and things like that - there's always money for war or negative, or Trident nuclear weapons, you can never use them, and they’ll spend billions and billions and there's always money for that. But then for things for keeping people alive, or keeping people healthy there isn't money and I feel it’s just totally twisted. Well it's all about big business really. I think, but it's funny - I don’t know how, we had an LGBT awareness session at work, this was a few years ago. And our manager he was saying ‘Oh were any of you at Greenham?’ But a lot of the younger women in their 20s had never heard of it. So I think it's good, this project. Because at the time, it was such a big thing whether people agreed with it, or didn't, everyone knew Greenham common. And now it's just disappeared. You know, there are the odd exhibitions - I’ve seen bits - at the V&A and even the Imperial War Museum does have a tiny little snippet.
[[So in the LGBT session at work and the trainer said ‘Have any of you been at Greenham?' what was the reaction from the people who knew about Greenham?|Judith Baron. So in the LGBT session at work and the trainer said ‘Have any of you been at Greenham?' what was the reaction from the people who knew about Greenham?]]
[[Tell me more about when the missiles went and you were there, can you talk me through the day? |Judith Baron.Tell me more about when the missiles went and you were there, can you talk me through the day?]]Well, one other woman said she went - not often but she had been. And some of the others - just thinking about it now, some other woman the same age as me - I don't think she responded. But it was surprising, because the younger women just looked sort of blank!
[[Why do you think that is?|Judith Baron.Why do you think that is?]]
[[How can the younger generations get to know about Greenham?|Judith Baron. How can the younger generations get to know about Greenham?]] Well, I actually wasn't at the base because I'd gone to London to go on breakfast television - they’d asked if someone would come on breakfast television so I was on television. So I wasn’t actually there when they left. I saw it on the news afterwards.
[[oh, well, the build up to it. Could you talk about that? |judith Baron.oh, well, the build up to it. Could you talk about that?]]
[[Thank Judith Baron and go back to the campfire.|Campfire]]Yeah, we felt like we’d achieved something and it was quite exciting that they were going and I think I just saw the clip on television when they went and it’s just sort of horrible, some of the planes taking off, you know? So it was a mixture of 'so we have achieved something' but then it just feels like such a small tiny bit of what was going on. Because I had been - only for a couple of days - to Faslane where Trident is. So we got rid of one lot, but it's still... Yeah. And that was horrible because you just saw where they dug a big hole in the countryside really, where they’d put them. I suppose it feels like if enough people get together, you can make little changes.
[[Thank Judith Baron and speak to another woman at the campfire.|Campfire]]I remember once when I was at Aldermaston this drunk guy coming up and he was going ‘Why don't you get proper jobs?’ and actually one of the MOD came over and said ‘As far as we know most of them do work’ - because it was a weekend. He's going ‘No, a proper job’. It’s like what do you mean? And at that time I was working. And the majority were working and there were so many women that supported - that didn't live at the camp, but supported it in so many ways. And it wasn't these women that were dropouts or anything like that. I know that there are some women involved in Greenham that still go to Aldermaston and just keep going. But I just got a bit burnt out with it. And I sort of rather do creative things. And also because I was originally in London it was easy to get to places if they were demos - getting to Greenham wasn't that bad. After I left Greenham I went to the camp at Aldermaston for another 10/11 years and it was quite nearby. I know there are things going on up in the north it's just I’m getting older, I haven’t got the energy.
[[How do you feel that being a committed activist and campaigner affected your personal life, and do the two intertwine? Or are they just completely inseparable? |Judith Baron.How do you feel that being a committed activist and campaigner affected your personal life, and do the two intertwine? Or are they just completely inseparable?]]
[[Thank Judith Baron, return to the campfire to talk to another woman.|Campfire]] Well, I don't know. I don't know about time because people haven't heard about Greenham. I don't know whether time is gonna make it any better. With the Suffragettes maybe because it was so unusual and I don't really know why some things just become known and I've noticed recently that there's a lot more on Suffragettes - it's more noticeable. There was an anniversary and at work there's a new manager who's younger than me and I noticed she had some Suffragette badges on her person and I was at work yesterday, I work in Halifax, and the Industrial Museum - I'd never been there and I knew it was open on a Saturday and I just happened to notice it was open, I went to see if it was open any other days, but they said, because it was half term, and they had a Suffragette calendar on the wall. And there's a shop in Howarth - I went to Howarth last week, and they've got children's books of women heroes.
[[Thank Judith Baron and go back to the campfire.|Campfire]]One of my friends, she's got twins who are 12 and one of them said to me last summer ‘Guess what society I'm in at school?’ and then she said ‘I’m in the feminist society’ - either feminist or Suffragette, anyway so I bought her one of these books for her birthday. But I just thought it's really good they’re for all ages of children and up, and as I said, my partner's brought me badges - he'd got them in that shop. And then the last few, I think this is the third year, I’ve got the Suffragette diary - they sell that in a bookshop in Hebden. So yeah, so it would be nice to see Greenham stuff, but I don't know why there was so much stuff at the time but then it just got brushed under the carpet almost.
[[So did you have have children?|Judith baron.So do you have have children?]]
[[Could you explain why you think it's important for Greenham to be remembered by subsequent generations?|Judith Baron. Could you explain why you think it's important for Greenham to be remembered by subsequent generations?]]You’d get up and sometimes someone else had done the fire but if they hadn't you’d make the fire and then the day involved lots of tea, we were always making mugs of tea. And I just still have this vision of mud crusted mugs! Especially in the winter when it's muddy. And toast. And that’s when I got into Marmite with tahini and also, what was it? Garlic pickle. Sometimes would have that on toast. And often women would just turn up - you never knew who was going to turn up. And you'd go out ‘wooding’.
[[What's wooding?.|Judith Baron.What's wooding?]]
[[Thank Judith Baron and go back to the campfire.|Campfire]]Going to collect wood - for the fire. There was a cricket bat factory - not far, you needed someone with the car - I didn't have a car - but sometimes we'd go and they didn't mind you having the off cuts, which was really good, dry wood. It burnt really quickly. So that was often good for starting the fire off and then you'd go out and get logs or if you'd found a big tree that was standing chopping it up. And it was just day to day things like that - going for a walk around the base. Going in the base! Yeah, sometimes having meetings, and just a lot of it was sort of talking and tea and toast and cooking. In the evening we'd have a communal - that was the only time we'd have a communal meal. It was usually some sort of vegetable stew. In the winter often there'd be a food round. So different local groups would have a different day and they’d come round with food for everyone. Because sometimes - especially if it was wet and rainy it would be really difficult to cook, because you couldn’t get get the fire going, so that was really great. And there was some women - there’s a woman called Juliet who’s still involved in Aldermaston - her food was really yummy! That day we’d get really excited, but it was appreciated, just anyone bringing some food around. And but in the summer, sometimes we'd just start chopping vegetables, tins of tomatoes and just a big stew with pasta or rice or something. So a lot of it's just ordinary sort of day to day domestic things. You might go into town or near Blue Gate, just a couple of streets down, there was a little convenience store, so you might go there and get bits and pieces. I mean, obviously it was in the ‘80s and it was cheaper but everyone used to put £2 a day into a kitty and that would be for bread and a lot of veg. I've got a dairy intolerance and had a dairy intolerance when I was there so we'd have loads and loads of soya milk, the basics. But then if people wanted chocolate, alcohol then you'd buy that yourself, but there was always toast and vegetables for the main meal and that would come out of the kitty. So a lot of it was just day to day things, or talking to people, or going for a walk around the base, or going for a walk somewhere because the woods there were lovely.
[[Thank Judith Baron and go back to the campfire.|Campfire]]I haven't got any children. I just felt like I didn't want to bring any children into the world. And from quite a young age I was always going to adopt. But you can't just - not having children - it never seemed the right time or something. So I never had children because I felt like, even now you think, with global warming and everything that's going on what's going to happen in the future? And it does sort of worry you and that was big - for me. When I was a teenager or something I was ‘When I’m older I can get married and have children’. But yeah, with everything that was going on in the ‘80s, the fears and everything, I just thought why would you want to bring children..? I'm not mocking becaus my sisters and lots I know have got children and that's your choice, but personally I just felt like...
[[Was that a conversation that you were having with the women at Greenham as well?|Judith Baron.Was that a conversation that you were having with the women at Greenham as well?]]
[[Were there some women who brought their children to Greenham?. |Judith Baron, Were there some women who brought their children to Greenham?]]Not really. That was just quite a personal thing.
[[Thank Judith Baron and talk to another woman at the campfire.|Campfire]]
That was the thing - there were women that came to Greenham and brought their children with them. And then others got accused of abandoning them by the negative press - got left behind with their dads! Poor men!
[[Did you see any children at the camp? And were there any challenges around that?|Judith Baron. Did you see any children at the camp? And were there any challenges around that?]]
[[So what was the response to women 'abandoning their children'?|Judith Baron. So what was the response to women 'abandoning their children'?]]Yeah, there were some women who were amazing that came with their children and there were times when it was quite poignant when you’d get children drawing pictures and putting them on the base. It was like the future and I'm sure lots of women that already had children must have felt really concerned about the future and what it held for them. And on the other side women that did have children were there because they wanted a safer, better world for them.
[[Also medical treatment at the camp, how did that work? And really basic stuff like periods - how did that work?|Judith Baron.Also medical treatment at the camp, how did that work? And really basic stuff like periods - how did that work?]]
[[Thank Judith Baron and go back to the campfire.|Campfire]]A lot of women were doing it for their children. They weren’t abandoning them because they wanted to leave them, they were abandoning them because they wanted to make the world a safer place for them. And why shouldn’t the men, the fathers, look after them for a while anyway? It's not like they abandoned them and just left them on their own! And even women that lived there would go home for weekends, or a few days. It wasn’t like you were tied there once you went - you didn’t have to stay all the time. If you tell them ‘I’m going off’ it's not like for most of them it was the other side of the world, or they couldn't go home, or they couldn’t see them some of the time. Women came and went all the time. No one was there full time, everyone would go off and have a break, or go and come back.
[[Thank Judith Baron and go back tot he campfire.|Campfire]]Just got on with it, really! Yeah, the only issue I had was I used to have really, really heavy periods and a few times I flooded and I had a blue sleeping bag with - there was yellow inside, and then you sort of leak on it but you just gone with it. There was a local shop you could buy protection and obviously women were understanding because everyone was going through the same thing, we had hot water bottles so if you had a period you’d have a hot water bottle and go to bed early!
[[Thank Judith Baron and go to the campfire to talk to another woman.|Campfire]]Well, when I was involved in CND it became my social life. And a lot of those friends are now dispersed, even people I keep in touch with. I go to work and I come home and I haven't got the energy. I've recently started - there’s a CND and peace group in Hebden Bridge. And I couldn't go - they used to meet on a Wednesday and I go to camera club and that's my creativity. I've been doing that almost since I moved up here. So I wasn't willing to go, but they've changed the meetings and they’re usually on a Monday. But they went to Menwith Hill for an evening, a couple of weeks ago and I’d been feeling a bit from down, just getting home from work, and it was really cold and I just said I didn't want to go because I just didn't feel up to - you know, when I was younger, I would just have gone, if I was a bit tired the next day, so what! And often I think, I’d really like to do that, but when it comes to it I just want to go out for a walk, or just something relaxing, but doing all this sort of scanning the pictures and looking them and everything because - as I said, maybe when I retire but, like everyone - retiring later.
[[Thank Judith Baron and go back to the campfire.|Campfire]]Because I think it was a big thing, and I think historically it is important to know that happened. I had a conversation with a woman from London, she's doing a project on campaigning - it was to do with art and campaigns and movements - she was doing it about the peace movement. I think it was punks and someone else - I think it was, anyway I haven't heard from her - it just made me think about it, and she sort of interviewed me, but I think, yeah, it's started, it's good. And it did sort of close the base. And it was such a big thing at the time, it would be sad if it wasn't remembered. And it's good that you're doing this, and having it from women's point of view rather than just what the press said.
[[So what was the local press coverage like?|Judith Baron,So what was the local press coverage like?]]
[[What did the locals think of you?|Judith Baron. What did the locals think of you?]]The local paper - The Newbury Weekly News that we used to call The Newbury Weekly Lies, it was always very negative.
[[Have you been back? Judith Baron. Have you been back?]]There's a woman called Lynette Edwell who lives in Newbury and she was very supportive the whole time. And she actually set up an archive of Berkshire. And there was this thing that all the locals hated us but they didn't because there were a couple of women that were very involved. And the Quakers.
[[Have you been back? |Judith Baron.Have you been back? ]]No, but I've not got good sense of direction, so I’m probably going to get there and - because when you're living there, obviously we had a fire, I used to really enjoy going out ‘wooding’ - especially if it was sort of a bit hectic, and you just want to go out on your own, and I got to know all the trees and everything. So it's going to be quite strange going back. But I understand the watchtower’s now got an exhibition in it.
[[Did you find that you connected with nature then? |Judith Baron.Did you find that you connected with nature then?]]
[[Was that part of the appeal of it - the camping, at Greenham? |Judith Baron. Was that part of the appeal of it - the camping, at Greenham? ]]No but it was such a big thing, I think it will be horrible to have lost it. It's sad - you see people at funerals now. Because Evelyn said ‘Who are you, should I know you?’ and I said ‘I’m Judith’, and she said ‘Oh, the photos!’. And I’d forgotten I'd given her some photos at the time, so I’ve sent her a book, and I'd really like to do an Aldermaston one as well, and my plan is to go down and see the archives but go to Greenham when I'm there.
[[Thank Judith Baron and go back to the campfire.|Campfire]]Well I quite enjoyed it, and some women used to just come for the day ‘I don't know how you - oh, you're amazing, you camp out there’. But I quite liked just - yeah, seeing the seasons change and being outside. It’s funny even now, in the winter, I wear a vest and I've still got thermal long johns, because when you were there you just wore loads of layers. I’d have tights with thermals, and then trousers on top and then if it was raining, waterproofs, and then sometimes on top you'd have seven or eight layers. I tend to even now in the winter if it's cold and then I'm at work going ‘It’s boiling in here!’ ‘It’s cold!’ ‘You haven’t got your vest on!’ When I was a child your mum would say ‘Put your vest on’, ‘Do I have to?’ But living at Greenham, you sort of just... Keep warm anyway!
[[Thank Judith Baron and go back to the campfire to talk to another woman.|Campfire]]I've always been quite an outdoor person. When I was a child I was in the Guides and I hated the Guides but I loved the camp. That was the only reason I was always the first person to sign up, and I loved being in the tent and cooking outside, so I've always been quite an outdoor person. And I think that's why I moved from London. I moved from London to Brighton and it was lovely being near the sea, and then both my sisters live up this way, so I moved up here. But I do love here, I’ve got the lovely views and because I work - though I’m based in Halifax, we actually cover Bradford. When I moved up here I only knew the centre of Bradford, but even Bradford you don't go far out and you can see hills.
[[Thank Judith Baron and go back to the campfire.|Campfire]][[|Judith Baron.Tell me about the Aldermastom camp.]]