The Heritage Lottery Fund, through its First World War: then and now programme, has awarded Westgate Hall its second £10,000 grant as part of the national commemoration of the FWW Centenary. Thanks to this grant, the Hall can continue its research into and present events focussed on the impact of the FWW on Canterbury and its community.
The Hall’s new project presents life in Ruhleben (near Berlin), a WW1 civilian internment camp, and Canterbury’s connections to those interned there. It will reveal how musicians, writers, artists, academics drew on creativity to support their fellow PoWs and themselves through the grief and isolation experienced during four years spent behind barbed wire.
Why not volunteer to help us find out more about their lives and maybe uncover more connections to Canterbury? create stories and artefacts with different materials, or role play.
For details about Westgate Hall’s workshops and events and to register interest in being involved in the project please email firstname.lastname@example.org or go www.westgatehall.org
The project started with events in June 2018 which included the Gateways to the First World War Study Day, where WW1 experts from across the country examined the experiences of PoWs and internees.
This was followed on the 2nd June by two further events: The Explore and Discover Workshop a drop-in event for all ages. Visitors learnt about the experiences of the PoWs.
Followed by a special lecture and concert performance by local historian and musician, Mary Kemp, who told her grandfather’s story as an internee at a Military Camp in Wittenberg and talked about the impact his experiences have had on her family. Mary also lead us down the trail of her detective work looking for memorabilia of her grandfather’s fellow prisoners, Canterbury internees, and perform music composed in the camp.
In fact, Mary’s passion to understand her grandfather’s and grandmother’s WW1 experience has resulted in the Hall’s 2018 project. The Hall’s first WW1 event in 2015 encouraged her to come out of the shadows with her research. We hope that this new event will motivate others to ferret out their family’s WW1 stories and items such as poetry, letters, newspaper cuttings, maps or postcards from the period so that these too can be recorded and added to the picture of life on the Home Front in Canterbury.
As Westgate Hall Trustee, Imogen Morizet, says, “We are thrilled that the Heritage Lottery has awarded the Hall a second FFW then and now grant. It’s making it possible for us to build on the results of our 2015 project. We can now continue uncovering Canterbury’s WW1 heritage and the war’s impact on daily life, build a digital record of our discoveries and through all this work continue strengthening our community ties. Please come and take part!”
Michelle Roffe, Head of HLF South East, said “The impact of the First World War was far reaching, touching and shaping every corner of the UK and beyond. Thanks to National Lottery players, HLF has already invested more than £90million to more than 1,700 projects – large and small - that are marking this global Centenary. We are delighted to support Westgate Hall’s project, to enable more people to explore their local history and that of their families”.
Westgate Community Trust Canterbury (Ltd.)
The Trust is a charitable company whose mission is to preserve, refurbish and manage Westgate Hall (Canterbury), the only independent community venue in the urban heart of the city. The Trust, through the programmes at the Hall, aims to serve the needs of the present and future residents of Canterbury and its districts and, in the process, reinvigorate and strengthen community life.
In 2015, the Trust was awarded a £10,000 grant by the Heritage Lottery Fund through its First World War: then and now programme for its project, Celebrating the WW1 history of Westgate Hall and its community. As Westgate Hall’s initial World War One project it took the Hall’s history as a WW1 drill hall as its starting point; the project aimed to stimulate community curiosity and capture memories by encouraging people to come forward with their stories.
Follow Westgate Hall through its website www.westgatehall.org, and on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.