Thanks to Gateways to the First World War academic Dr Anne Logan who attended our July Conversation Cafes session (for the Fabrica gallery led The Boys on the Plaque project).
This took place at the Rare Books Archive at Jubilee Library (Thanks to the Brighton and Hove Libraries and Information Service for this) and explored and shared the changing role of women in the First World War. It was a fascinating way to find out more about life for women on the home front between 1914-1918.
We followed this up with a visit to a graffiti themed WWI memorial based in the Youth section of the library which was created by a local artist with young people from The Foyer, Brighton for The Boys in the Plaque project and refers to those who fell in World War I who are mentioned on the plaque based at Fabrica gallery (once the Holy Trinity Church).
This memorial was installed as part of BFest, a Youth Festival in the city which took place in May and June 2016.
Fabrica gallery, in partnership with Strike A Light and Brighton & Hove Library Services, has received £9,300 from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) for a project, The Boys on the Plaque, in Brighton & Hove. Awarded through HLF’s First World War: then and now programme, the project will highlight a recently uncovered FWW memorial plaque situated in the former Holy Trinity Church which houses Fabrica gallery.
Supported by a team of archivists, artists and historians, the local community will come together through research, creative activities and heritage events to discover the hidden histories of the 95 soldiers commemorated on the plaque and consider the personal experiences of ordinary people during the war.
A team of volunteers will receive training and will access local archives to research and collect the stories of The Boys on the Plaque through genealogy, photographs, newspaper clippings, documents, letters and photos of keepsakes, as well as family tales passed down, to help them build an understanding of what life was really like during this time.
Activities with local older and younger groups will use creativity and reminisence to further explore these experiences and create new legacies for our local history. A series of Conversation Café’s with members of The University of the Third Age will explore local knowledge, personal mementos and family history through discussion and shared discovery. Younger people will connect to the personal histories of The Boys on the Plaque at creative graffiti workshops, considering memorium and identity through contemporary practice.
A range of public events for all ages will share what we have found and provide opportunities for our local community to come together to remember and learn more about the First World War. 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 this church, 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. The project findings will be digitally recorded and an on-line interactive archive will be created where everyone can access and contribute information. The archive will allow the public to discuss, contribute, share and research information about The Boys on the Plaque. Working with Strike A Light and Brighton & Hove Library Services will bring the project to the wider community through exhibitions and resources, to continue the legacy of The Boys on the Plaque into the future.
Commenting on the award, Liz Whitehead, Co-Director of Fabrica, said: “We’re so delighted that the Heritage Lottery Fund is supporting this two-year project which enables us to explore the history of our building, Holy Trinity Church with and through our local community, especially as the project’s culmination in 2017 will mark the chapel’s bicentennial.”
Explaining the importance of the HLF support, the head of the HLF in the South East, Stuart McLeod, 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 £70million in projects – large and small – that are marking this global Centenary; with our small grants programme, we are enabling even more communities like those involved in The Boys on the Plaque 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, images and interviews, please contact
Clare Hankinson, Project Manager – The Boys on the Plaque
40 Duke Street, BN1 AGH
Strike a Light – Arts & Heritage CIC is a community arts and heritage organisation based in Brighton, working across Sussex.