The Forum, Norwich, has received £90,000 from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) for its project, ‘Norfolk in the First World War: Somme to Armistice’. The project honours Norfolk’s WWI heroes and will run from September 2016 to November 2018.
Three very special 100 year anniversaries are the focus of this project; the Battle of the Somme in 2016, The Battle of Gaza in 2017 and the 100th anniversary of Armistice Day will be commemorated in 2018. This project remembers the men who fought and lost their lives in battle and the women who were either on active war service or remaining strong on the Norfolk home-front.
Thousands of Norfolk men lost their lives in the First World War and thousands of women’s lives were completely transformed, proving their strength and bravery was essential to the war effort. The Forum’s project will share the stories of our local heroes – both men and women – so their names, life experiences and sacrifices are acknowledged and remembered by new generations. Thanks to National Lottery players, the project will commemorate the lives of the fallen and those who returned via dedicated school and learning programmes, adult volunteer-led projects, public talks, events and exhibitions.
The young person’s strand of the project is called ‘Finding the Fallen’. Primary and secondary schools from Norwich, North Norfolk, Thetford and Great Yarmouth will discover and research their local war memorial, uncovering the real lives behind the engraved names. The students will benefit from 3 dedicated days with local military historian, Neil Storey, to include research sessions and a visit to their closest war memorial to uncover soldiers’ local roots and their fates. Students will experience the conditions on the frontline and how life was changed back at home by examining first-hand accounts, letters, costumes and handling original objects.
As schools participate in ‘Finding the Fallen’ they will engage their local community; asking for memories, photographs, letters or objects which relatives of First World War soldiers may wish to share with the project. All of the research and learning will culminate in exhibitions and events which will start at The Forum and Millennium Library and go on tour to other schools and community libraries.
In consultation with teachers and students, a comprehensive programme to support schools to teach First World War studies will be created by The Forum and include touring exhibitions, a dedicated website, films, a learning pack and inset sessions for teachers. There will also be plenty of hands on resources including costumes, objects and documents for schools across Norfolk to hire.
Schools from across the county are invited to get in touch with firstname.lastname@example.org to register interest. In 2016 the focus will be on those who fell at The Battle of the Somme and in April 2017 on The Battle of Gaza. The project will culminate in November 2018 with a large exhibition on the theme of ‘Armistice’.
The second strand of the project is ‘First World War Women of Norfolk’ which will involve a group of adult volunteers to research women on active service and the legacy of women post First World War.
Working with Norfolk libraries, the Norfolk Record Office, Norfolk Heritage Centre and other museums and collections in Norfolk, a group of adult volunteers will receive training in how to research the stories and legacies of women in the military services and hospitals, on the land, in the factories, and on the home front and reveal the changing roles and perceptions of women in society.
In 2017, ‘First World War Women of Norfolk: On Active Service’ research volunteers will reveal the extent of women’s lives in their local communities culminating in a fascinating exhibition at The Forum in November 2017. Several women are also represented on Norfolk’s war memorials and the project will include researching their stories and commemorating their service and loss as part of the project’s final exhibition at The Forum, ‘Armistice’ in November 2018.
Sarah Power, ‘Norfolk in the First World War’ Project Manager and The Forum’s Learning Manager said: “We are delighted to have received support from the Heritage Lottery Fund to commemorate Norfolk’s First World War heroes. The Forum will support school students and their teachers to develop an insight and understanding not only of the period and the significant local people of WWI, but the human stories behind the battles and how and why we commemorate them. And we are particularly pleased that the project engages adult volunteers to research the lives of local women during a period of such uncertainty and change. The project will produce widely accessible public information on the research undertaken by the students and adult volunteers via a dedicated website, a booklet written by Neil Storey and public exhibitions.”
Robyn Llewellyn, Head of HLF East of England, said: “The impact of the First World War was far reaching, touching and shaping every corner of the UK and beyond. The Heritage Lottery Fund has already invested more than £80million in projects – large and small – that are marking this global Centenary; with our new small grants programme, we are enabling even more communities like those involved in the Norfolk in the First World War project to explore the continuing legacy of this conflict and help local young people in particular to broaden their understanding of how it has shaped our modern world.”
For further information on the Norfolk in the First World War project project please email email@example.com