On Fri 21st and Sat 22nd November, 10am – 5pm, at the Uniting Church in Whaley Bridge, Whaley Bridge’s regeneration group, Whaley4Wards, with the help of many other local groups and individuals, are getting together to put on a commemorative exhibition covering aspects of life in and around Whaley Bridge and Furness Vale during the First World War period. The purpose of the exhibition is to remember those who lost their lives, and to provide an insight into how the war affected people living in Whaley Bridge and nearby. Various war artifacts from the period will also be on display to show things which would have been familiar to the soldiers at the front.
William Henry Jones from Whaley Bridge was one of those who made the ultimate sacrifice. He enlisted in August 1917, when he was just 18 and 1 month. Just 21 days after arriving in France in April 1918, he died from wounds received in action on 27th April 1918.
The exhibition will comprise an audiovisual display, pictures of the period from Chris Simpson, war memorabilia, contemporary music, school displays from Taxal and Fernilee, Furness Vale, Buxworth and Whaley Bridge schools, crafts, and a living history performance by actors who will talk through aspects of life during the war both from a soldiers perspective and from a general perspective, illustrating how attitudes to the war changed over the period. The event will also see the launch of several local history books of the period. The audiovisual display remembers those who lost their lives using photos and research by Julian Thompson. There will also be an archiving facility where people can bring along paperwork or other materials and have them scanned or photographed, without the material leaving their sight. The material does not need to be local in nature. Refreshments will also be available.
In addition to local material, the exhibition will encompass a wide range of subject matter which would have been familiar to everyone at the time, including the prisoner of war camp at Dove Holes, and the Devonshire Royal Hospital, who treated many of the wounded.
The living history performance will take place on the Saturday 22nd Nov from 10am -12pm. “It should be really interesting for all ages, so try to make it if you can”. It’s a dynamic performance so you can drop in at any time. A soldier will be dressed in full WW1 uniform, and he will talk about his kit and the war, bringing history into life. The performance will be repeated twice during these hours. The exhibition is open on Friday 21st 10am-5pm and Saturday 22nd 10am-5pm.
Groups or individuals who might wish to participate, or who may have items they would like to be exhibited, are welcome. Please contact Jon on 01663 733067.
It is not widely known that a number of names are missing from the WW1 memorial plaque on the war memorial in Whaley Bridge Memorial Park. Any money raised or donations made during this commemorative exhibition will be split between Help For Heroes, and a project to add a new plaque to remember those whose names are currently missing. Entrance is free.
One of the items on display will be this 1910 Russian Maxim Machine Gun
This exhibition was aided with the help of a £500 WW1 grant from HPBC and a £150 grant from Whaley4Wards via Whaley Bridge Town Council.
For those who may have concerns, the exhibition and living history performance is suitable for children.