We celebrated the launch of our WWI heritage project this month with our first public events as part of Heritage Open Days. This was a free afternoon of activities, events and talks which was a great opportunity to get the word out about our Boys, followed by a walking tour event on Friday 8th September at Fabrica gallery (our project partners), where we invited local people to come and see the plaque and share their stories.
We have a diverse and interesting afternoon of making WWI love token mementos, talks on Brighton and Hove during the Great War and about the Royal Pavilion as a hospital for soldiers, as well as sharing personal and community connections with the Holy Trinity church where Fabrica is now based.
We were treated to a fascinating talk from researcher and oral historian for ‘War Stories: Voices of the First World War’, Jo Palache, plus an illuminating insight into The First World War in East Sussex project with Chris Kempshall. Gateways to the First World War‘s Lucy Noakes came to share project experiences and history and showcased part of a wider exhibition concerning WWI.
Project partner Brighton & Hove City Libraries shared WWI resources and images from their collection and encouraged people to find out more from their Ancestry software about their own personal heritage. In addition. Fiona Edwards our workshop artist for the event brought along a beautiful bundle of arts and crafts and encouraged participants to make beautiful WWI keepsakes inspired love tokens from the war.
The project’s Volunteer Research Group was on hand to share their findings so far on the memorial and its’ Boys on the Plaque, including some family connections to our soldiers which really brought our project to life.
The Boys on the Plaque represent so many of the sons, brothers, fathers and uncles who fought and fell in the First World War, and this project will pay tribute to these men by telling their stories and considering the wider impact on the local community.
In 2017 it will be the Bi-Centennial of the Fabrica building, which was built in 1817, and it will be a fitting time to honour and celebrate the history of the building and its continuing presence as a place of contemplation and community in Brighton & Hove.
We hosted a free heritage walking tour the following day led by popular local historian Dr Geoffrey Mead. We took an interested group through Brighton’s Lanes area, from where many of our Boys on the Plaque lived. It was a really moving and enlightening experience, seeing buildings and venues in a whole new light and hearing the tales of residents past who went to war.
We even saw a hidden row of houses which despite having walked down that particular street many hundreds of times, have never noticed! The event was full booked and as a result, Fabrica organised another tour for later in September to allow all those interested a chance to participate. We’re really pleased with how it went.
For those interested in find out more about this project and these themes from WWI in the city of Brighton, then we will be running free, monthly Conversation Cafes every month from October 2015 – September 2016 at Fabrica gallery and Jubilee Library.
To register your interest, please email firstname.lastname@example.org before 21st October.