Tickets Still Available for the Somerset in the First World War Research Symposium

On Sunday 22 March the Museum of Somerset will be hosting a symposium focusing on a wide range of research relating to the events of 1914-1918 and the effects on the county of Somerset. 

Please contact the Museum of Somerset today to book your place 01823 255088

Sympjpg

The speakers and subjects include:

Mary Siraut – Taunton 1914-1918

Sue Bucklow – Singers of Frome

Phil Norrey – The Somerset Light Infantry and the Early Stages of the War

Mary Claridge – Glastonbury WW1 Tribute Project

Brendon Moorhouse – Research into Somerset Light Infantry at Ypres

Tim Moreman – The Isle of Wedmore Remembers Project

Sam Astill – Somerset Remembers Project

Suzie Grogan – The Impact of the First World War on Mental Health

World War One Exhibition at Midsomer Norton South Station

The volunteers of the Somerset and Dorset Railway Trust have prepared an exhibition in the Museum at Midsomer Norton South Station to commemorate the outbreak of the First World War.

They have researched the role of the Station in the life of the town during the conflict.  The Somerset and Dorset Railway and all the railway companies of Britain played a very large part in the War.

World War 1 Exhibition and Midsomer Norton South Railway Museum

World War 1 Exhibition and Midsomer Norton South Railway Museum

Soldiers, sailors and early airmen,  as well as many thousands of animals, were transported to the battlefields of Europe and further afield  by train.  This journey often started from their familiar, local station.

They have used contemporary household objects of the period to contrast with the written testimony of local people to try and show the impact of the first really global conflict on a small Somerset town and its inhabitants of all ages.

 For further information, or to book for a group visit contact: Barry Bax or Zaida Haworth  on 01458 833314

Stories from the volunteers:Photographs Found

When we were working as volunteers on the Somerset Remembers project we found previously unpublished photographs of the Shepton Mallet Auxiliary Military Hospital. 

One of the photographs is shown here.

Shepton Mallett Auxillary Hospital Recreation Room Sept 1917

Shepton Mallett Auxillary Hospital Recreation Room Sept 1917

The pictures will be on display in an exhibition in Evercreech at the end of the month. Little was known about the military hospital in Shepton Mallet but the photographs confirm its exact position. If we can put together enough material we hope to publish a short history of the hospital. If anyone has more photographs or information, especially on the VAD nurses from the villages around Shepton Mallet, we would be very grateful to hear from you.

The exhibition in St Peters the parish church in Evercreech will be on Friday October 31st from 2pm to 4pm and Saturday 1st November from 10am to 4pm. For visitors ( using Sat Nav) the postcode for the church is BA4 6HZ.

If you wish to contact us please  email dlandgl@btinternet.com

This article was written by Gill and David Lindsay; volunteers for the Somerset Remembers Project.

Your Country Needs You! 100 years old today!

100 years ago today, on the 5 September 1914, the most iconic image of the First World War was first published.

The now infamous drawing of Field Marshal Lord Kitchener by Alfred Leete (1882-1933) featured on the front of The London Opinion magazine accompanied by the words ‘Your Country Needs You’.

Alfred Leete’s artwork on the front cover of London Opinion magazine, 1914

Alfred Leete’s artwork on the front cover of London Opinion magazine, 1914

 

This image was later adapted into an unofficial recruiting poster by the magazine with the words ‘Britons [Kitchener] Needs You’. In 1917 it was also adapted into an American version with the words ‘Uncle Sam Needs You’.

Alfred Leete’s artwork adapted into an unofficial recruitment poster, 1915

Alfred Leete’s artwork adapted into an unofficial recruitment poster, 1915

 

By 1914, Alfred was one of the best commercial artists in the country. Having grown up in Weston-super-Mare he had moved to London in 1899, aged just 17, to establish himself as a commercial artist. At first he struggled to get his work accepted by the national papers and magazines. He kept trying and soon many publications, including Punch, Tatler, and The London Opinion, were regularly publishing his drawings.

Alfred Leete at work, c1910-1920. (North Somerset Local Studies Collection)

Alfred Leete at work, c1910-1920.
(North Somerset Local Studies Collection)

 

Interestingly, his image of Lord Kitchener gained most of its popularity after the First World War had ended. From the 1920s onwards it really began to capture people’s imaginations. It has been used as the inspiration for many new posters including one with Churchill’s face in the Second World War. Other adaptations were produced in Australia, Canada, South Africa, India, Italy, Austria, Germany, and Bolshevik Russia.

‘Did you Volunteer?’ poster designed by Dmitry Moor inspired by Alfred Leete’s iconic image of General Kitchener, 1920

‘Did you Volunteer?’ poster designed by Dmitry Moor inspired by Alfred Leete’s iconic image of Field Marshal Lord Kitchener, 1920

 

Alfred died on 17 June 1933 in Kensington, London and is buried in the Milton Road Cemetery in Weston-super-Mare. His drawing of Kitchener is still being reproduced, copied and adapted today.

Weston-super-Mare Museum volunteer recruitment poster, 2012 (Courtesy of Weston-super-Mare Town Council)

Weston-super-Mare Museum volunteer recruitment poster, 2012
(Courtesy of Weston-super-Mare Town Council)

 

Alfred Leete is currently featuring in the exhibition ‘Five Lives, Five Stories: North Somerset People and the First World War’ at the Weston-super-Mare Museum until 14 December 2014. Many of his original artworks are on display. Entry to the exhibition is free. The museum is open from Tuesday to Saturday 10am to 5pm. For more information please ring 01934 621028 or email museum@wsm-tc.gov.uk.

Tacchi-Morris Arts Centre and Taunton Youth Dance Company ‘War & Peace Dance Project’ Needs You!

Tacchi Morris Arts Centre and Taunton Youth Dance Company have been awarded Heritage Lottery funding to create the ‘War & Peace: Commemorating the Centenary through Dance’ project. The project will culminate in a dance platform at the Arts Centre in November and the focus of the work will look at the real life experiences of Somerset women during WW1.

 war and peace

Four new creative commissions will be shared at this performance planned for November; these will be:

  • The Impact of War on Real Somerset Women: A top national choreographer will work with Taunton Youth Dance Company to create a piece examining the impact of the war on real Somerset women.
  • Letters to the Front Line: A musical commission using archive footage, letters, documents and real voices from the First World War, created with Somerset Heritage Centre and TYDC students.
  • Kathleen Tacchi-Morris: Women for World Disarmament: A new graduate dance company will be launched in the county. The group will create a new work focussing on Kathleen Tacchi-Morris (namesake of the Arts Centre) and her journey from RAF worker during the First World War to ardent peace campaigner.
  • Family and the Home: The final commission will focus on this theme and will be created and performed by Bolder Dance Company (open to over 50s) drawing on their own oral histories, family memories and experiences.

We also want schools and dance groups to get involved and to create a piece of dance for the dance platform in November. This could be about any aspect of war or any war and there is a small bursary available for travel to and from the platform.

We are also after stories of the experiences of women during the First World War and would love to hear from you if you have any passed down through your family. These stories will be used as inspiration for the dance work that is being created for the project.

You can follow the project on Twitter – @SomersetWW1

Also on our blog – www.warandpeacesomerset.wordpress.com

Or email any stories you may have to warandpeace@tacchimorris.com

If you are a school or dance group, or you want to get a group together to create a piece of dance for the dance platform in November then please get in touch via email for more information. We would love to hear from you.

New First World War Exhibition at the Weston-super-Mare Museum!

A new exhibition, entitled ‘Five Lives, Five Stories: North Somerset People and the First World War’, opened to the public on Saturday 7 June at the Weston-super-Mare Museum.

The exhibition looks at the impact of the First World War on the lives of five North Somerset people, tracing their stories before, during and after the war.

weston

 The five people featuring are:

  • Robert Cruse (1878-1917) who fought with A Company, ‘Bristol’s Own’, 12th Battalion, Gloucestershire Regiment
  • Edith Graves-Knyfton (1876-1964) who worked as Vice-President for the British Red Cross for Weston-super-Mare District
  • Alfred Leete (1882-1933) who designed the most iconic image of the First World War showing Lord Kitchener
  • Harry Mogg (1860-1929) who led Mogg’s Military Prize Band at recruitment events and fundraising concerts
  • Beatrice Page (1889-1972) who was the first female tram driver in the country

The five were selected because of the diverse roles they played during the war. 

 Visitors enjoying the exhibition


Visitors enjoying the exhibition

Entry to the exhibition, which runs until Sunday 14 December, is free. The museum is open 10.00 am to 5.00 pm, Tuesday to Sunday.

For further information please visit Weston-super-Mare Museum, Burlington Street, Weston-super-Mare, BS23 1PR, call 01934 621028 or email museum@wsm-tc.gov.uk.

On the road with Somerset Remembers

Whilst driving through the beautiful West Somerset countryside, on my way to Watchet Market House Museum to deliver the touring exhibition, I took the time to reflect on the past year and my role as the Somerset Remembers Project Officer.

Watchet Market House Museum

Watchet Market House Museum

My fascinating and diverse role has meant I have met many people from across the county, and I have learnt a great deal about how the First World War impacted the lives of Somerset people.

When I joined the project in June 2013 my work focused on the volunteer research projects and I was frequently seen in the searchroom at Somerset Heritage Centre making sure the volunteers were happy and engaged with their work.

From the beginning of this year I have been coordinating the schedule for the touring exhibition. So far I have taken the display (and showcases) to 10 different venues across the length and breadth of the county, with another 20 to go before the end of the year!

My other responsibilities include researching and writing articles for the blog, selecting ‘Pictures of the Week’, object selection for the temporary exhibition and administrative duties. I am also involved with organising our events programme.

Tools of the Trade

Tools of the Trade

The touring banner display with object showcase in the Holy Cross Chapel above Watchet Museum

The touring banner display with object showcase in the Holy Cross Chapel above Watchet Museum

I am now working behind-the-scenes of the temporary exhibition, drafting text for the labels, and researching content for the Somerset Remembers Community Archive.

It has been a busy but exciting year, and I am looking forward to the summer months when the community archive will go live and the exhibition will open at the Museum of Somerset, allowing people from across the county to get involved with the project.

Freya Ward, Project Officer, Somerset Remembers

Freya Ward, Project Officer, Somerset Remembers