The Wiveliscombe Children of the Great War Project

In the autumn of 2014 the Wiveliscombe Civic Society was lucky enough to secure a grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund for The Wiveliscombe Children of the Great War project , which will focus on the children of the town, as they lived 100 years ago,  and now.  Previously unseen records from the primary school alongside baptismal records and other genealogical resources will build a picture of family life in Wiveliscombe during and after the First World War. 

Postcard of Wiveliscombe

Postcard of Wiveliscombe Primary School

The project, co-ordinated by Suzie Grogan and Pauline Homeshaw M.B.E, Chair of the Civic Society, will enable children in the town to discover the memories and heritage of the people whose families lived through the First World War. Many of these families have been part of the Wiveliscombe community for generations and still have descendants in the town. The children will research the war’s history, visit the Somerset Heritage Centre, graveyards, the recreation ground and the local care home to create a commemorative book containing their findings, and the results of an art competition.

Children from Wiveliscombe Primary School

Children from Wiveliscombe Primary School

With help from local historians, the information gathered will be the basis for the book and this will also lead to the creation of a mosaic to be sited in the centre of town.  Information will also be recorded by the children to be archived for future generations to listen to but also for playing out on our community radio station, 10 Radio.

Ceramic Poppy Project

Ceramic Poppy Project

It promises to be a lovely project that will offer a lasting legacy for the children of the town, now and in the future.

For more details see the website and follow the blog at

http://www.wiveliscombeinthegreatwar.wordpress.com

or like the Facebook page www.facebook.com/wiveliscombeinthegreatwar

Picture of the Week: Images from Somerset during the First World War

sports committee

The Sports Committee of 259 Motor Transport (MT) Company (Coy), Army Service Corps (ASC). c.1916                                                                                              Courtesy of Wells Museum

 

Somerset Remembers on Tour #3

On Monday  22 December the Somerset Remembers touring display and showcase were removed from Glastonbury Abbey, the last venue for this exhibition.

The display consisted of three identical banners and two showcases with eight different objects. This allowed it to be seen in 30 venues across Somerset.

The tour started in March at Taunton library, and the first showcase was displayed at Chard Museum in April.

Banner and Show Case at Chard Museum in April

Banner and Showcase at Chard Museum in April

The display was designed to promote the project throughout the county and the temporary exhibition at the Museum of Somerset.

It was also used by venues to complement their own First World War exhibitions.

In Frome Museum in October

The second set of objects as seen in Frome Museum during October

A wide variety of venues displayed the exhibition including major county events such as The Royal Bath & West Show in May, and RNAS Yeovilton Air Day in July.

It is estimated that over 85000 people visited the touring exhibition during 2014.

Jon England: Seeds to the Wind – Duty, Honour, Freedom, Sacrifice

Jon England’s centrepiece for ‘Somerset Remembers’ combines two visible symbols of remembrance; the poppy and war memorials. The artist’s work, part of a series entitled ‘Seeds to the Wind’, explores both the visual form and written language of these monuments, while harnessing the symbolic power of the poppy – the number of seeds emblematic of the scale of loss.

Jon England artwork - made from  poppy seeds and varnish

Jon England artwork – made from poppy seeds and varnish

The four words Duty, Honour, Freedom, Sacrifice, repeated on memorials across Somerset and beyond convey how the language of fighting and winning a war continued into memoriam. Presented in this new context these words encourage the viewer to reconsider the status, place and function of memorials and the broader social dynamic explored by ‘Somerset Remembers’.

Duty, Freedom, Honour Photographs courtesy of Jon England

The Somerton memorial, a Portland stone carving of a Royal Artilleryman, epitomises the dedication of communities in remembering their friends, family and brothers in arms as well as representing artistic quality.  It was commissioned from G Cox & Son Monumental Sculptors of Keinton Mandeville and unveiled on 21st May 1921.

Somerton War Memorial c.1921

Somerton War Memorial c.1921

The design of the Somerton memorial, ‘was one of several issued by the War Office for communities wishing to make suitable and accurate memorials to their dead’ leading the artist to question what true freedom existed either in fighting or commemorating the war.

Artist Jon England with his creation

Artist Jon England with his creation

The First World War in 3D: A Stereoscopic Collection

The Somerset Remembers project was recently given a collection of stereoscopic photographs from a lady whose father was in the 1st Battalion The Somerset Light Infantry.

A Stereoscope from the museum collection with one of the postcards. The two images in the photo combine to create one through the lenses providing the viewer with an image with a 3D effect

A Stereoscope from the museum collection with one of the postcards. The two images in the photo when viewed through the lenses combine to create an image with a 3D effect.

These fascinating images entitled ‘The Battle Field Series’ were produced by the Weston- Super-Mare company George Nightingale & Co. The pictures depict various scenes of the immediate post-war landscape in France and Belgium. They often feature people interacting or observing their surroundings. On the reverse of each postcard is a brief description of the location or a more explanatory piece of text.

On reverse: No.20. Hooge Crater Cemetery. In the War zone there are 1,700 new cemeteries. This particular one contains over 11,000 graves, details of each one being carefully indexed by the Graves Committees. Notice the duckboards.

No.20. Hooge Crater Cemetery. In the War zone there are 1,700 new cemeteries. This particular one contains over 11,000 graves, details of each one being carefully indexed by the Graves Committees. Notice the duckboards.

 

No.18. Captured guns at Arras. Various types of German guns are shown here.

No.18. Captured guns at Arras. Various types of German guns are shown here.

 

No.11 British Cemetery Couzecourt.

No.11 British Cemetery Couzecourt.

It has been suggested by the author of The Great War in 3D, that the George Nightingale & Co. may have been set up to provide employment to ex-servicemen due to the timing and nature of the photographs. It is also noted on the reverse of each picture that the ‘Photos are finished and printed entirely by Ex-servicemen at Reflex Studios, Parkstone’ in Dorset.

parkstone

Further information about the use of stereoscopic images can be found here:

www.nationalmediamuseum.org.uk/collection/photography

www.smith.edu/artmuseum/Collections