Free Library of Birmingham exhibition to explore the First World War’s impact on the West Midlands

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The role of Birmingham during the First World War and the conflict’s impact on the West Midlands will be explored in a new exhibition.

Voices of the First World War will open at the Library of Birmingham on 5th October and will run until 5th January 2019.

The exhibition is made up of work carried out by community organisations to uncover untold stories and research about the impact of the war since centenary commemorations begin in 2014.

Rookery School pupils performing a piece based around the First World War

Rookery School pupils performing a piece based around the First World War

Some of the projects featured include:

  • Work created by pupils from Rookery School in Handsworth, looking back at how life in and around the city has changed since 1918
  • A behind-the-scenes look at Birmingham’s wartime hospitals at Highbury in Moseley and the 1st Southern General.

Dr Nicola Gauld, co-ordinator for the Voices of War and Peace WWI Engagement Centre at the University of Birmingham, said: “The work of community groups in the West Midlands and across the country since 2014 has helped improve our understanding of the Great War.

“We are proud and excited to be able to showcase examples of this work which tells some untold and unknown stories about the war, from the experiences of injured soldiers returning to their home city and attempting to resume a normal life, to the traumatic effects the war had on children and the impact on women’s lives.”

First World War: Then and Now

All of the projects included in the exhibition were funded through the Heritage Lottery Fund’s First World War: Then and Now grants programme.

Councillor Tristan Chatfield, cabinet member for social inclusion, community safety and equalities at Birmingham City Council, said: “Birmingham has been remembering how the armed forces defended our country during the First World War and the many citizens who died on the frontline, throughout this centenary.

“The exhibition shows the wider impact the war had on our city and beyond, not just at the time but for decades that followed, in terms of how society worked.”

Admission to Voices of the First World War is free.

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