This autumn West Berkshire Heritage will be presenting a series of events and activities to mark the centenary of the Armistice at the end of the First World War.
A new exhibition ‘How We Remember’ opens at West Berkshire Museum on Wednesday 3 October and focuses on the personal histories of a selection of West Berkshire soldiers who fought in the Great War and the effect of the war on the locality. Alongside this are displays of treasured personal items that have been kindly lent by local families whose relatives served during the war. The exhibition explores how cherished memories cling to ordinary and extraordinary objects, enabling moments to be shared across the generations. Items include a prayer book that still bears mud from the Somme battlefield and the diary of a prisoner of war. This book and other treasured possessions will be on display until June 2019. Entry to the museum is free but donations are most welcomed.
Shaw House will host an evening concert ‘The Men Who Marched Away’ on Sunday 4 November at 7pm, with acclaimed musicians Chris Green and Sophie Matthews. The show is a scintillating mixture of soldiers’ songs, music hall numbers and war poems set to new music, all brought together to create a moving tribute to the fallen. Tickets are available from www.westberkshireheritage.org/whats-on/men-who-marched-away or from Shaw House 01635 279279. Adults £12 (West Berks Card £11) Under 16s £5 (West Berks Card £4). Suitable for age 8+.
Illustrated talks complete the programme of events and take place at West Berkshire Museum. Local historian Phil Wood will look at the wide variety of memorials commemorating individuals lost during the war in his talk ‘Great War Memorials in West Berkshire’ on Wednesday 14 November 2018.
On Wednesday 21 November, historian Dr. Nick Young will present his talk ‘Thatcham and the Great War’ looking back at the soldiers from Thatcham that took part in the Great War as well as looking at what Thatcham itself was like during the period.
Local historian, Tony Hadland, completes the programme with ‘Raleigh-ing to the Cause – the Bicycle in Wartime’ on Wednesday 12 December. Tracing the use of the bicycle for military purposes and will explore how Raleigh became a massive maker of munitions in both world wars, bringing huge financial rewards to captains of industry and revolutionising the lives of the many women who worked as machinists on the shop floor.
All talks run from 7pm – 8pm, tickets £5 available from www.westberkshireheritage.org/whats-on/categories/talks or the museum.
West Berkshire Museum , The Wharf, Newbury , RG14 5AS, 01635 519562
Shaw House, Church Road, Newbury, RG14 2DR, 01635 279279