Discovering First World War Heritage

Discovering First World War heritage is a project run by the University of Leeds as part of Legacies of War which in turn is about commemorating the centenary of the First World War.

In 2012 we were awarded funding under the AHRC/HLF ‘Research for Community Heritage’ scheme. 21 universities and museums were funded under this scheme and the aim was to was to support community-led heritage research projects focused on the Centenary of the First World War (in the hope some would submit successful HLF bids to the ‘All Our Stories’ scheme).

Discovering First World War heritage is led by Professor Alison Fell with Dr Kate Vigurs as project manager and Post-doctoral researcher alongside Dr Jessica Meyer.  This project aims to support and enhance six Heritage Lottery Funded All Our Stories projects, which have the First World War as a sole or partial focus.

The projects include ‘The Wartime Hospital at Beckett’s Park’ led by Headingley Litfest, which will increase interest in local history and inspire new literary and dramatic works.  ‘Lawnswood’s Great War Stories’ will result in cemetery tours, and performances based on research findings.

Liverpool Museums are developing a museum exhibition called ‘Black Families and the First World War’ and descendants of black First World War veterans who will be encouraged to research their own personal histories.

Snowgoose Writers Community project is called ‘Unheard Voices: The Civilian Experience of the First World War in Yorkshire’ and will use research findings to produce new literary and dramatic works.  ‘Thorner Community Archive’ will investigate the village ‘Memorial Hall’, and encourage residents to trace their families’ own personal war stories.  Lastly ‘Talking Treasure’ at Craven Museum and Gallery aims to help local residents gain a new understanding of their heritage and history.

Activities to date:

Several trips and training workshops have been run so far and have been attended by participants of the projects named above.  These workshops include:

  • The National Archives with Professor Alison Fell  & Dr Kate Vigurs (June 2013)
  • Geneology with Jackie Depelle (July 203)
  • Military archives with Simon Fowler (June 2013)
  • Civilian archives with Simon Fowler (October 2013)
  • Medical Archives with Dr Jessica Meyer (October 2013)
  • Liddle Collection with Dr Jessica Meyer, Dr Kate Vigurs & Richard High (ongoing)
  • Imperial War Museum and The National Archives with Professor Alison Fell, Dr Jessica Meyer & Dr Kate Vigurs (November 2013)

Contact us for more information:

legaciesofwar@leeds.ac.uk