Bringing Waterloo to Life

Bringing Waterloo to Life

Painting depicting the Battle of Waterloo
As the nation marks the bicentenary of the Battle of Waterloo, David Huse, CEO of Waterloo 200, talks about why it’s so important the battle is remembered.

Historians regard the Battle of Waterloo as a defining moment of British and World history. The conflict halted Napoleon’s march through Europe, ended more than 20 years of war and resulted in nearly a century of peace across the continent. Yet the sacrifice from both sides was huge, with over 65,000 men killed out of around 200,000 involved.

However, as a nation, our collective knowledge of the conflict and its importance has been dulled by time.

This is one of the reasons that Waterloo 200 was originally founded – to ensure that the significance of this battle is not forgotten. Thanks to generous help from HLF, we’ve been able to implement a commemoration campaign that touches on the past, the present and the future.

The past has been brought to life through our ‘quest for descendants’ – finding the living relatives of Waterloo soldiers and broadcasting their human stories. Coming from the lips of real people – not fusty historians – brings history to life in a more visceral and relatable way and we hope it will encourage more people to investigate potential Waterloo ancestors.

[quote]"Historians regard the Battle of Waterloo as a defining moment of British and World history."[/quote]

Today, and this week in particular – we’re making the most of the anniversary by co-ordinating a series of events nationwide. From the commemoration service at St. Paul’s Cathedral to the re-enactment of the arrival of the message of victory into London as part of the New Waterloo Dispatch and Parade. We really are everywhere! The aim of all of this is to enthuse the public in all things Waterloo at a crucial time.

But most importantly, our campaign is firmly focused on the future, through our schools programme. Working with TV historian Dan Snow and the National Army Museum, we’ve been able to encourage more than 200 schools to take on special Waterloo projects and learn all about this momentous battle.

By 2020 we’re confident that we can have more than 2,000 schools on board too – so our work doesn’t stop after the bicentenary. It’s only through enthusing a new generation about Waterloo that we can keep this key piece of history alive in the mind of the nation – ensuring that it’s equally big news in another 100 years time.

Visit the National Army Museum's Waterloo 200 website if you want to get involved with Waterloo 200.






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