This transdisciplinary project is uncovering the lives of Francophones in London during the war, more specifically in 1916. We are studying both the refugees and also permanently settled communities in the capital, and the interactions between these two separate groups and the British.
The project is run by Richard Grayson and Charlotte Faucher (Department of History, Goldsmiths, University of London) in partnership with students and staff at the Lycée français Charles de Gaulle in South Kensington and NewVIc 6th Form College in Newham.
The project links to the Gateways theme of ‘life on the home front’. It aims to broaden the historical perspective on the First World War initially among children of today’s Francophone community in London and lead them to act as historians. Students are conducting original research on an understudied topic, using sources (Francophone newspapers published in London) which historians have yet to explore. Non-francophone pupils are examining how the British press depicted Francophone communities and refuges.
Over the course of the project, pupils and teachers are writing a blog in which they will reflect on the processes of historical research and showcase their archival findings. By engaging in an exciting and innovative project to which they will be able to relate, they will describe, reflect and analyse the lives of Francophones in London during the war. In so doing the project takes a different perspective on the Home Front and the history of minorities in Britain during the war.
The project will lead to a bilingual exhibition which will be mobile and travel to a number of places over time.
Images from Le Cri de Londres, a London-based French newspaper