Remembering 1916 – Life on the Western Front is a major exhibition telling the story of a pivotal year of the First World War, through a unique series of personal stories.
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Follow the fascinating personal testimony of those on both sides of war and uncover a fresh perspective on the battles of Verdun, Jutland and the Somme; and well-known characters such as Lord Kitchener and Manfred von Richthofen, later known as the infamous ‘Red Baron’. In contrast, Remembering 1916 also reveals a sequence of previously untold stories of individuals, on both the Western and Home fronts; ordinary people with extraordinary lives. These lives, events and themes of 1916 are illustrated by more than 600 original artefacts, many of which have never been on public display before.
Remembering 1916 presents a range of exceptional and unique objects from the period. Key items for visitors to look out for include two extremely rare first issues of the British trench newspaper, The Wipers Times; original British, French and German uniforms and equipment; a Women’s Royal Air Force uniform; a train station sign from the French city of Verdun, site of one of the most horrific battles of the War; and fabric from the famous red triplane flown by the ‘Red Baron’, Manfred von Richthofen. A number of carefully-created scenes provide the background for many of the items; these begin with the arrival of one man’s conscription papers in an Edwardian hallway, and go on to include British and German trenches and an Edwardian drawing room, providing a snapshot of a moment in the life of an officer home on leave.
In addition to original artefacts, art lovers can take in examples of contemporary work in a broad range of styles. Highlights include a stunning set of pastel portraits of Allied soldiers by Swiss artist, Eugene Burnand; a series of hard-hitting graphic political cartoons by Dutch artist, Louis Raemaekers; examples of work by the ‘soldiers’ cartoonist’, Bruce Bairnsfather; and a selection of iconic recruitment posters.
There is something for everyone at Remembering 1916. For our younger visitors and their families, Reynard, our ‘flying’ fox, will guide them round the exhibits with a series of trails, hands-on displays and special activities.
The Exhibition was conceived, written and directed by the Headmaster, Dr Barnett, and produced by a Whitgift team led by Mr Graham Maudsley, as Designer, and Mr Stuart Peach, as Director of Construction.