Shaftesbury Remembers the Great War
In March 2015 Gold Hill Museum received £6,700 from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) for a project to research the personal stories and experiences of people from Shaftesbury and the surrounding villages during the Great War.
Awarded through HLF’s First World War Then and Now programme, the project focused on how the war affected daily life, individuals and communities in the Shaftesbury area, working with as many local sources of information as possible. We asked people to share their family and other stories, building a unique archive to be made available to all, either on-line or on a dedicated computer terminal in the museum. A new permanent display in the museum shows objects donated during the project, and copies of the stories we have collected.
We were very keen to involve local schools, retirement homes and the British Legion, but everyone was very welcome to take part in the project, as we needed volunteers for a range of interesting and diverse roles. There were opportunities to learn new computer, research and interviewing skills; and cataloguing and organising materials for the archive. We employed professional trainers so that volunteers could learn new skills, and produce the best results.
We held Open Day Events to recruit volunteers and contributors, and shared the results of our research by giving talks to a wide range of groups.
We linked up with other organisations and groups working on similar projects, so together we could provide the most extensive record possible of the effect of the Great War in the local area.
We felt it was very important to collect these stories before they are lost forever, and to share them with future generations. They will give local communities a much fuller understanding of the part that local people played in the Great War, and help us all appreciate the significance of names on war memorials, and the sacrifices of the individuals they represent.
How the website works
The website is in two main parts:
about the people who served in the Great War from 1914 to 1919
focusing on life in and around Shaftesbury before, during and after the war.