12 June 2014

World War One commemorative exhibitions

To commemorate the 100th anniversary of the start of the First World War, a major new exhibition at Brighton Museum & Art Gallery will bring to life the wartime experiences of 15 people whose personal stories reveal the impact of war.

The exhibition, called War Stories: Voices from the First World War will run from July 12 2014 - March 1 2015. Admission is free.

The wide range of people featured will reveal both familiar and surprising stories of a war that profoundly changed British society.

Visitors will be able to see the war through the eyes of a young girl, born into war in 1914; young soldiers from Brighton who fought and died on the Western Front, including a Brighton & Hove Albion footballer; an Indian soldier wounded on the Front and taken to hospital in the Royal Pavilion; nurses who cared for the wounded; a young gardener who was imprisoned for his pacifist beliefs; and others.

Relatives of those featured have contributed letters, diaries, medals, photographs, uniforms, and other personal items which help to evoke the love, excitement, fear, bravery, grief, loss and longing that touched the lives of millions of people. 

War Stories: Voices from the First World War is one of a number of special displays and exhibitions being organised by the Royal Pavilion and Museums.

On Brighton seafront a pictorial exhibition, Dr Brighton’s War: Hospitals and Healing in Brighton (July 9 to August 31) will tell the story of Brighton & Hove as a hospital city, helping injured troops convalesce after the horrors of trench warfare. This exhibition is taking place on the East Street Bastion, on the seafront by the kissing statue.

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 free exhibition will feature images from photographs, postcards and posters held in the Royal Pavilion and Museum’s collections.

Other displays include 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. www.brighton-hove.gov.uk/content/press-release/steeplechasing-shell-holes-a-young-mans-war

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. http://www.brighton-hove-rpml.org.uk/HistoryAndCollections/collectionsthemes/pavilionindianhospitalartphotography/Pages/pavilionindianhospitalartphotographs.aspx

The exhibitions and displays are part of the INTERREG IVA 2Seas programme, a European funded programme supporting cross-border co-operation between UK, France, Belgium and the Netherlands www.greatwar1418.eu/en/agenda

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.”

He added: "We asked people last year to share their wartime family stories with us for the War Stories exhibition. The detailed accounts they have provided, from young brothers going off to war, to a nurse tending the wounded brought to Brighton to recuperate, provide a powerful and moving insight into the way so many lives were affected in so many ways."

War Stories: Voices from the First World War

12 July 2014 - 1 March 2015 

Brighton Museum & Art Gallery

Royal Pavilion Gardens, Brighton BN1 1EE Tel 03000 290900

Admission free

Open Tue-Sun 10am-5pm, Closed Mon (except Bank Holidays 10am-5pm), 25 & 26 Dec & 1 Jan.