Guildhall Yard: There'll be series of guest lectures accompanying the Somme exhibition, and a display of artefacts at Guildhall Art Gallery (Photo: Centenary News)

Somme Centenary - Battlefield photos for City of London exhibition, June 2016

Posted on centenarynews.com on 09 March 2016
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Photographer Michael St Maur Sheil's evocative pictures of First World War landscapes return to London in June 2016 for an exhibition marking the Battle of the Somme Centenary.

Fields of Battle, Lands of Peace: Somme 1916 will feature his photos of the Picardy battlefields as they are today, alongside archive pictures from 100 years ago.

The outdoor exhibition will open at the City of London's historic Guildhall in the run-up to commemorations on July 1st remembering the bloody opening day of the Somme offensive in 1916.

British troops suffered more than 57,000 casualties, of whom 19,240 were killed and of those, around 3,500 were volunteers drawn from London's financial centre and its immediate surroundings.

David Pearson, Director of Culture, Heritage and Libraries at the City of London Corporation, said: "The Battle of the Somme was one of the bloodiest episodes of the First World War and had a devastating impact on the City of London. 

"Bankers, market porters, postmen and stockbrokers were among the many thousands of young men who lost their lives on that fateful day. This unique exhibition in Guildhall’s historic courtyard will provide a fitting tribute in this centenary year as we reflect on those terrible events and the huge number of casualties on these, now beautiful and tranquil, battlefields, which Michael St Maur Sheil has photographed with great skill."

2014 Centenary

Mike Sheil's previous London exhibition in St James's Park, marking the 2014 centenary of the outbreak of WW1, is estimated to have attracted 2.1 million visitors. 

Fields of Battle, Lands of Peace  has also toured to Paris for the Centenary.

Talking about his forthcoming project, Mike Sheil said: "The Battle of the Somme claimed almost 60,000 casualties on the first day alone and affected not only a whole generation of men and the lives of families and friends left behind, but also the way in which we view the First World War. 

"Our generation finds it hard, and rightly so, to imagine the horror and suffering played out on those battlefields, which remain scarred to this day, but which are being healed gradually by nature.

"The Battle of the Somme also left scars on our collective history and now, 100 years on, I hope that the exhibition in Guildhall Yard will enable visitors to consider the conflict and pause in memory of those who died or suffered life-changing injuries."

‘Fields of Battle, Lands of Peace: Somme 1916’ will run from June 1st-July 5th 2016 in Guildhall Yard, London EC2. Admission free. The exhibition is funded by The Royal British Legion, The City of London Corporation and others.

Source: City of London Corporation

Images: Centenary News

Posted by: CN Editorial Team