Letchworth railway station in 1914

Project exploring Hertfordshire during the First World War receives £98,000 Heritage Lottery Fund grant

Posted on centenarynews.com on 18 December 2013
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A research-based project exploring the experience of the English county of Hertfordshire during the First World War has received a £98,000 grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund.

Research into the conflict - at both home and abroad - will be carried out by some 500 volunteers, which will be used to create a travelling exhibition and a website through which the public wil "gain a real-time picture of the War".

The project is being led by Herts at War - the county's Centenary organisation - with support from the Letchworth Garden City Heritage Foundation, local community groups, historical societies and schools.

Information held in local museums and county archives will be augmented by the memories of local people whose relatives were involved either as serving soldiers or on the Home Front.

A particular task will be to investigate the more than 17,747 listed on 742 war memorials spread around the county to see what can be discovered about the men listed on them and their families.

In addition to those who fought, local researchers will consider the lives of those left behind.

They will explore topics including wartime civilian life, women's suffrage, local conscientious objectors - many of whom came from Letchworth Garden City - and Belgian refugees (more of whom settled in Hertfordshire than in any other part of the country). There are also plans to study air raids by Zeppelins and their impact on the local population.

Robyn Llewellyn, Head of Heritage Lottery Fund East of England, said: “This project mobilises local communities throughout Hertfordshire connecting residents of today's towns and villages with those whose lives were touched by the conflict a century ago. It will help to give young people in particular a more vivid understanding of the effects of the conflict".

Jon Grant, Herts at War Project chairman (and Head of History at the Highfield School, Letchworth), said: “It is amazing to see the value placed on such a project that will enable people to really see the First World War as a conflict involving individuals who lived in places that we are familiar with, the only thing truly dividing us being the distance of time".

Source: Heritage Lotter Fund press release

Date of press release publication: 12/12/2013

Images courtesy of Herts at War

Posted by: Daniel Barry, Centenary News