First World War centenary project unveils new exhibition

A new exhibition launches at Emersons Green Library on 13 April as part of our First World War centenary project.


PHOTO/BROADCAST OPPORTUNITY: The exhibition launches at 10.30am on Wednesday 13 April at Emersons Green Library, Emerson Way, Emersons Green, South Gloucestershire, BS16 7AP. Chairman of South Gloucestershire Council Councillor Erica Williams will open the exhibition and the Bristol Military Wives Choir will be singing First World War songs. There will also be an opportunity to view some of the original resources that make up the exhibition.


This new exhibition focuses on the social impact of the war in South Gloucestershire, displaying photographs and information about the war’s effects on local women, scouts and even animals, along with information about some of the entertainment and sport that was enjoyed at the time.


Visitors will learn about the contribution made by the women left at home in South Gloucestershire, the local animals that were requisitioned and sent in to battle and there are pictures of local people entertaining themselves with theatre productions and concerts. There is also information about the 1st Downend scout group memorial, local sporting activities, and the fascinating story about the soldier who went through the entire war alongside his horse and then rode it all the way back to the UK from Russia.


As part of the exhibition, the library service has additionally recommended a range of books about the First World War (fact and fiction) for both adults and children, which are available to borrow through all of South Gloucestershire’s libraries.


Communities Chair Cllr Heather Goddard said: “South Gloucestershire’s libraries have been working with local schools and heritage groups to collate archive material such as letters, artefacts and photographs, and also raise awareness of the First World War. The war had an enormous impact on the lives and communities in South Gloucestershire and this exhibition illustrates some of the ways the war affected the lives of ordinary people.”


The exhibition launches on Wednesday 13 April at Emersons Green Library and will remain on display until 2 May, before moving on to Winterbourne Library and other libraries in South Gloucestershire over the next 12 months. As the exhibition tours the libraries, there will be opportunities for local schools to hear a talk about the First World War using the exhibition and other learning materials.


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Notes to Editors
The exhibition is part of the four year First World War project funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund and coordinated by South Gloucestershire Council,

 working with local heritage groups to increase awareness of the First World War in South Gloucestershire. Other aspects of the project include the placing of QR codes on war memorials linking to a website with information of people who are remembered on the memorial, an exhibition on the impact of the war on the various communities in South Gloucestershire and creation of a range of learning resources which are being used with schools. In June the project will be launching a real-time Twitter campaign as part of the commemoration of the Battle of the Somme in 1916.

Partners involved in this project include members of the South Gloucestershire Museums Group and South Gloucestershire Heritage Forum which include the following organisations: Acton Court, Avon Valley Railway, Bristol Aero Collection Trust, Filton Community History, Frenchay Village Museum, Kingswood Heritage Museum Trust, Rolls-Royce Heritage Trust, South Gloucestershire Mines Research Group, Thornbury Museum and Yate Heritage Centre.


Using money raised through the National Lottery, the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) aims to make a lasting difference for heritage, people and communities across the UK and help build a resilient heritage economy. From museums, parks and historic places to archaeology, natural environment and cultural traditions, HLF has supported almost 36,000 projects with more than £6bn across the UK. For further information visit