Newarke museum commemorates end to First World War

By Ollie Heppenstall

Commemorating the conclusion of the First World War, The Newarke Houses Museum is hosting the final of three exhibitions in their latest series.

Running until February 24, 2019, from the Trenches to the Twenties was organised by the Leicester Remembers project and focuses on the breaking of the Hindenburg line and the Spring 1918 offensive.

You can also explore the worldwide Spanish Influenza epidemic, the 1918 general election and the Britain to which millions of soldiers would be returning.

Leicester Remembers exhib 1
The exhibition features a ceremonial tunic from WWI

Museum Curator Philip French, who organised the exhibitions as part of the Leicester Remembers project, said: “The Leicester Remembers project was set up in 2014 at the start of the centenary commemorations, and they’ve been handling a great deal of the commemoration projects since then.

“They’ve all been successful so far, we’ve had a school come in so far and around 350 visitors last weekend, which we’re really pleased with. BBC Radio Leicester have been in too”

Within the third exhibition, a series of talks examine the part played by two battalions of the Leicestershire Regiment in the crossing of the St Quentin canal and seizure of the Ricqueval bridge as well as the part played by women in the Great War.

Mr French, added: “The first exhibition was based around mobilisation, mobilisation of not only the armed forces but also the workforce, while our second exhibition mainly honed in on the Somme campaign.

“Something else we’ve looked at is trying to dispel the myth of the First World War being the main instance of women getting into the workforce in huge numbers – that was already the case in Leicestershire mainly due to the huge amount of footwear and clothing that were made as part of the war effort, and made by an overwhelmingly high number of women.”

Philip French’s role as curator was to do the majority of the research and pitch it to the Royal Tigers Association.

He said: “The Royal Tigers association are an organisation set up for the benefit of former members of the Leicestershire Regiment. The exhibition’s all about creating a narrative that’s not only accurate but is a little bit different, hence why there’s such an emphasis on the immediate post-war period.”

Second World War commemorations have not been ruled out of the exhibition either.

Mr French, said: “There’s nothing set in stone yet, but something probably will happen – provided the research is right and the design of the exhibition works.”

The museum is open 11am until 4pm on Sundays and 10am until 4pm every other day and is located at The Newarke, Leicester, LE2 7BY.


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