From Western Front to home front, exhibition remembers 1916

An important exhibition exploring the key events and themes of 1916, through a unique series of individual British, French and German stories, will open at Whitgift School, South Croydon in March.

1916 logo1916 is regarded as the pivotal year in the conduct of the First World War, and marking the centenary of the momentous battles at Verdun, Jutland and the Somme, “Remembering 1916 – Life on the Western Front” will present a collection of more than 600 original objects, many from private collections and never before displayed in public, to illustrate the experiences of people on land, in the air, at sea and at home.

“Remembering 1916 – Life on the Western Front” runs from March 12 to August 31 at the Whitgift Exhibition Centre (the old swimming pool).

The exhibition will present the fascinating personal testimony of those on both sides of war at Verdun and the Somme, and outline the role of important historic characters such as Lord Kitchener and the Red Baron. The exhibition draws on the voices, recollections, writings and opinions of British, French and German soldiers and their families.

These accounts will highlight the differences and similarities between the shared experiences of those men and women who were pitched against each other, and reveal previously untold stories of individuals, on both the Western and Home Fronts.

“Remembering 1916 – Life on the Western Front” is designed, curated, produced and run by Whitgift School, presented with exceptionally high production values and is open seven days a week to all visitors.

The Battle of Verdun lasted from February to December in 1916, and is featured in the exhibit

The Battle of Verdun lasted from February to December in 1916, and is featured in the exhibit

Among key exhibits are:

• Two extremely rare original first issues of British trench newspaper, The Wipers Times
• A rare German light field wagon
• A British Battle of Jutland ensign and a rare German battleship flag
• Original British, French and German uniforms, kit and equipment, including tank drivers’ uniforms, a rare Women’s Royal Air Force uniform and the very first RAF uniform design
• The original train sign of Verdun station
• Parts from First World War Zeppelins
• Fabric from the red tri-plane flown by Manfred von Richthofen, the Red Baron

The Exhibition will also include a beautiful set of original portraits of allied soldiers by Swiss artist Eugene Burnand, a series of graphic cartoons by Dutch artist Louis Raemaekers, and a very rare collection of recruitment posters, again covering Britain, France and Germany.

The exhibition is offering Croydon residents discounted tickets, and there is even an  Edwardian-themed café, and a shop.  Please visit the website for details

  • Tickets for Croydon residents are £4, or £3 for seniors; children under 16 are £1 and children under 5 enter free of charge

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