First World War Centenary: one year to go

First World War Centenary: one year to go

Today, 99 years since the UK entered the First World War, communities across the country have been given the green light to start a range of projects that will mark the forthcoming Centenary thanks to funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF).

Grants announced today include the first to be awarded through First World War: then and now, HLF’s £6million small grants programme announced by the Prime Minister at the Imperial War Museum last October which aims to help communities explore, conserve and share their First World War heritage.

Now, young people in Kent will explore the role of football during the 1914 Christmas Day truce; blind and partially sighted groups in Wolverhampton will begin researching how the war advanced ophthalmic medicine; people across the UK will investigate the names commemorated on their local war memorials including Abbotskerswell in Devon; the contribution of Scotland’s nurses to the war effort will be shared and marked; whilst the story of soldiers from Bolton who fought and died at Gallipoli will be remembered.

Dame Jenny Abramsky, Chair of HLF, said: "The impact of the First World War was incredibly far reaching. Our new programme only opened in May and already HLF has seen a great deal of interest in people wanting to commemorate this important centenary, coming forward with a myriad of fascinating ideas for projects. This is just the beginning of some very interesting explorations for communities everywhere."

Projects receiving funding through First World War: then and now include:

Blinded by war – Focus Insight, Wolverhampton (grant £10,000)
Local groups, largely made up of blind and severely visually impaired people, will research and explain the huge impact the First World War had on the development of ophthalmic medicine. During the First World War soldiers on both sides suffered serious eye injuries as a result of enemy poison gas attacks, shrapnel and other battlefield injuries. Images of blind soldiers walking in lines ‘hands-on-shoulders’ to first aid stations outraged public opinion in Britain, which led to a quadrupling of charitable donations and bequests to fund ophthalmic research and for the building of new eye infirmaries in the 1920s and 30s.

Tracing Your Roots Back to Gallipoli – Diversity in Barrier-Breaking Communications, Bolton (grant £9,900)
This project will research the involvement of Bolton soldiers in the Gallipoli campaign that cost the lives of many British and Australian soldiers. The project will involve 20-30 young people researching and analysing the effects of this particular battle on the people of Bolton. The project will research casualties and find out who was from Bolton, what their jobs were and what their family lives were like before the war.

First World War – Brecon Remembers – Brecon U3A, Wales (£5,500)
Local people will discover the stories of the 119 men commemorated on Brecon war memorials.

Scottish Women’s Hospitals WWI Remembrance – Scottish Women’s Hospitals World War 1 Memorial (£8,300)
Local people will research the work of Scottish women, including nurses, during the conflict.

The Abbotskerswell Role of Honour project, Devon – AbbPast (£6,600)
A study of Abbotskerswell village life during the First World War involving local schools, including the renovation of the graves of three men from the village who died in battle.

Earls Colne War Memorial – Earls Colne Parish Council, Essex (£6,000)
An exhibition about the lives of 35 Earls Colne village men who lost their lives during the war, who are commemorated on the local war memorial, the memorial will also be renovated.

Legacies of War - Untold Otley Stories – Otley Museum & Archive Trust, West Yorkshire (£8,200)
A project to understand how families from Otley and the wider community were affected by the First World War, explored by local community groups.

Larger First World War heritage grants
HLF has already invested more than £15million in projects – large and small – that mark the Centenary of First World War. Other new First World War projects receiving larger grants today through its open programmes:

Filmed and Not Forgotten – Yorkshire Film Archive (grant £52,400)
This project will enable Yorkshire Film Archive to discover the stories of the people captured on film in its First World War collection. Filmed and Not Forgotten will research: who was that sergeant waving at the camera as he marched over Lendal Bridge in York; what happened at the sports day in Scarborough when the regiments stationed there came together with the community for a day of fun away from the front line? All of these films, and the stories of the people in the films, will be brought together in screenings and as an online exhibition so that everyone can see and learn about the impact of First World War on communities across the region. The project will also enable conservation and digitisation of the archive.

Football & Peace Project – National Children’s Football Alliance, Kent (grant £32,500)
This project will use the iconic 1914 Christmas Day truce as a vehicle to explore the relationship between sport and the First World War. Local people across Kent, young and old, will research the impact of the War on local communities and will in particular look at the importance of recreation to soldiers during the conflict. A documentary film of the project will be produced along with a website including the research and oral histories collected. The project will culminate in a final exhibition at Maidstone United Football Club, Gallagher Stadium.

Hermitage, Hexham: Morant family collection – Durham County Council (grant £9,700)
This grant has enabled Durham County Records Office and Northumberland Collections to purchase the contents relating to the First World War of the country house, The Hermitage at Hexham. Home of the Morant family, The Hermitage is a rare survival of a house on a grand scale where two generations of the Morant family lived for 90 years and threw little away; items that were longer required were neatly wrapped in newspaper, tied with string and stored in the extensive attics. The collection contains archives and artefacts that are important to the history and heritage of Northumberland and County Durham because of their link with the 68th Regiment of Foot and Durham Light Infantry. Three generations of the family were senior officers, including Brigadier General Hubert Horatio Shirley Morant who raised and commanded the 10th Battalion DLI in the First World War.

Wymondham’s Great War – Wymondham Cluster Extended Schools, Norfolk (£30,200)
Wymondham Cluster Extended Schools in Norfolk will commemorate the 100th anniversary of the First World War with a Festival Day in July 2014. Each of the 12 cluster schools will contribute to a part of the festival which will include an original drama production, songs, music, dance, film, artefact fair, animation, poetry and artwork. To produce the festival, extra-curricular clubs will run at each school throughout the academic year 2013-2014 where pupils will research the lives of local families at the time of the war, from those that fought to the impact on those left behind.

Other larger grants announced today include:

Lincolnshire Remembrance: Memories and Memorials – Lincolnshire County Council (grant £74,800)
People in Lincolnshire will explore and research the stories behind the names commemorated on their local war memorials and the effects of the conflict had on local communities.

WW1 Heritage Project – Diseworth Heritage Trust, Leicestershire (grant £17,300)
Current and future generations of Diseworth will connect with the lives, stories of those who lived in the village during the First World War.

Now the last poppy has fallen – Essex during WWI & ndash; Essex Record Office (£65,000)
This project will create a touring exhibition reflecting the stories from the Essex homefront during the First World War.

Grants are still available for First World War projects. Find out how to apply for funding for First World War projects, view our First World War feature.

Notes to editors

Other HLF-funded First World War projects include:

First World War Centenary Project – IWM London
An HLF grant of £4.5m is transforming IWM London (part of Imperial War Museums) by creating new ground-breaking First World War Galleries.

Access all Areas – Tank Museum, Dorset
Holding the world’s finest tank and armoured vehicle collection, the Tank Museum is a popular visitor attraction in the heart of Dorset. HLF’s grant is being used to house 130 at-risk vehicles, putting the entire collection indoors for the first time.

Images available on request.

Further information

HLF Press Office: Natasha Ley or Alison Scott on 020 7591 6143 / 6032. Out of hours mobile: 07973 613 820.

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