15 November 2013

War stories - Commemorating the centenary of World War One in Brighton & Hove

A major new exhibition at Brighton Museum & Art Gallery next year will commemorate the 100th anniversary of the start of World War One.

The exhibition, called War Stories: Voices from the First World War, will run from July 12 2014 to March 1 2015 and bring to life the experiences of twelve people whose personal stories reveal the impact of the war.

War Stories is one of a number of special displays and exhibitions being organised by Brighton & Hove City Council's Royal Pavilion & Museums team and will form part of the city’s commemorations of the centenary of the Great War.

The Royal Pavilion & Museums' Remembering WW1 project is co-financed by the Interreg lVA 2 Seas programme, a European funded programme supporting cross-border co-operation between UK, France, Belgium and the Netherlands.

Others include Dr Brighton’s War: Hospitals and Healing in Brighton during WW1, a display of posters and photographs on the seafront highlighting the city’s role in treating wounded soldiers; and Steeplechasing Shell Holes: A Young Man’s War, at Preston Manor, recounting the wartime experience of Vere Benett-Stanford who was heir to the manor at the time. (See more details below).

In addition, a longstanding display at the Royal Pavilion will provide a fascinating account of how the royal palace was transformed into a military hospital for wounded Indian soldiers who were serving on the Western Front.

Councillor Geoffrey Bowden, chair of Brighton & Hove City Council’s Economic Development and Culture Committee, said:  “These exhibitions and displays will commemorate the historic anniversary of the start of World War One and recount the experiences of local people caught up in the conflict - bringing their stories to life for younger generations.

"We are also preparing a programme of other community events and commemorations to mark the centenary and meeting with military representatives, veterans groups, residents and community groups to develop ideas. Details will be confirmed nearer the time.”

The image shows the hospital for Indian soldiers at The Royal Pavilion, Brighton 1915.  © Royal Pavilion & Museums

Details of exhibitions

War Stories: Voices from the First World War

Brighton Museum & Art Gallery, Royal Pavilion Gardens, Brighton BN1 1EE

12 July 2014 - 1 March 2015  Admission free

Curators are currently researching stories for the exhibition and have been interviewing local people to collect their family stories and memorabilia. Stories to be featured are still being finalised and details will be confirmed nearer the time. The range of stories to be featured could include a soldier on the Western Front, women on the front line, a conscientious objector, and a child growing up in wartime.The exhibition is part of a European funded Interreg 2Seas project, working with museums in Belgium and France.

Dr Brighton’s War: Hospitals and Healing in Brighton during WW1 

Brighton Seafront

9 July - 31 August 2014, Admission free

Brighton & Hove played a full part in the Great War, not only by providing hundreds of young men to fight, but also as ‘Doctor Brighton’  a hospital city where wounded soldiers were sent to recover in healthy ‘Sussex by the Sea’, before being sent back to their regiments or discharged into civilian life.

This pictorial exhibition on Brighton seafront will tell how Brighton & Hove was transformed by the presence of the many military hospitals required to treat the increasing number of casualties returning from the Front. As a seaside resort the city was ideally suited to entertaining these young men and distracting them from the horrors of war, but more importantly, Brighton played its part in retraining the seriously injured and preparing them for their integration back into society after life-changing injury.

The exhibition features images from photographs, postcards and posters held in the Royal Pavilion and Museum’s collections. 

Steeplechasing Shell Holes: A Young Man’s War

Preston Manor, Preston Drove, Brighton,BN1 6SD

I April 2014- 30 September 2014  Free entry with Preston Manor admission fee

Vere Benett-Stanford, heir to Preston Manor, served in the Royal Field Artillery during World War I. This fascinating display of personal archive material, photographs, letters and medals will reveal a glimpse into his experiences of war in France.

Indian Military Hospital Gallery

The Royal Pavilion, Pavilion Buildings, Brighton BN1 1EE UK

Permanent Display - Free with Royal Pavilion admission fee

The Royal Pavilion served as a hospital for Indian Soldiers during WW1. This poignant and often unknown story is told through archive photographs, letters, talks and a new programme of tours. Free with Royal Pavilion admission fee.

Further information about the Royal Pavilion & Museums: www.brighton-hove-rpml.org.uk