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Turning back time to Wor Life 1914-18

Tyne and Wear Museums will be turning the clock back to look at the North East during World War One and the effect the war had on the region

Soldier recruits in the Great Hall, Newcastle
Soldier recruits in the Great Hall, Newcastle

North East life during the First World War is the focus of an ambitious project which is aiming to educate and engage the region ahead of this year’s 100th anniversary of the Great War.

“Wor Life 1914-18: Tyne and Wear in the First World War” promises to explore both the effect of the war on the North East as well as its impact on life on the home front.

Supported by the Heritage Lottery and delivered by Tyne and Wear Archives and Museums in partnership with Sunderland Museums and Heritage, Wor Life 1914-18 is made up of a series of exhibitions and events, as well as a large supporting learning and community engagement programme, part of which will see poppies being created across a number of venues. This mass-participation event will involve schools, community groups and families creating their own unique and individually interpreted poppy using a variety of skills and materials – from knitting to collage, cross-stitch to sketching.

The project will begin in July and culminate in an event close to Remembrance Day in November. The poppies will then be displayed across venues every September until 2018.

Mauretania in dazzle camouflage
Mauretania in dazzle camouflage

The project will also be supported by a variety of digital content designed to inspire audiences to explore and interact with Tyne and Wear’s First World War story.

These will include a mobile app sharing forgotten stories and experiences of life in the region, putting hundreds of objects online for the first time and creating original research, digital artworks and audio visual content to interpret meaningfully an element of life in the region.

Project co-ordinator Alex Boyd says: “Through its exhibitions, events, learning and digital programmes, Wor Life 1914-18 will tell the stories of people living in Tyne and Wear during the war – from the women working in munitions factories to men working in the mines and children going to school.

“We also hope to hear from those in the local community who have personal family stories they would like to share with our visitors. With such a varied programme, we hope there is something for everyone to engage with and commemorate the centenary of the First World War.”

Women at work on Wallsend slipway
Women at work on Wallsend slipway

Councillor Ged Bell, chair of Tyne and Wear Archives and Museums joint committee, adds: “When people think about World War One they
tend to think about the horror of
the battlefields, but the impact of
the war was far-reaching and changed the lives of those back home as well.

“Thanks to the generous funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund we will be telling the stories of people living in Tyne and Wear during WW1 and the amazing contribution they made to the war effort. This promises to be an extraordinary programme of exhibitions, events and activities and we hope as many people as possible come along and find out about their region’s role in the Great War.”

More information on the Wor Life 1914-18 programme can be found by visiting the website www.worlife.org.uk and www.twmuseums.org.uk


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