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Remembered Today:

Surrey's plans for the centenary


ianw
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I have just been sent this bulletin about Surrey Heritage's plans for spending its HLF money. I post it without comment.

I am now polishing up my CV to apply for the consultant's position mentioned! 5 years at a nice annual stipend would be most useful. I am sure my position as a long standing member of the GWF will be noted and advance my application.

Subject: Surrey Heritage wins Heritage Lottery Fund support for major countywide First World War commemoration project.

We are delighted to announce that Surrey Heritage has received initial support from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) for its ambitious project ‘A County Remembers: Surrey in the Great War’. The project is at the heart of the county's commemoration of the First World War and the quest to understand how the war changed the face of Surrey and the lives of its residents.

The HLF believes the project has potential to deliver high-quality benefits and value for Lottery money and has awarded us funds to employ a consultant to further develop the project, publicise it to schools, community groups and other potential partners and participants and, most importantly, prepare a bid for HLF funding for the main project which will run for the full 5 years of the commemoration of the war, 2014-18. The application was in competition with many other projects, so our first-round pass is a recognition that the outline proposals presented in the stage 1 bid are very much on the right track .

If our stage 2 application is successful, the main project will lead, collect and publish online community-based research exploring all aspects of the impact of the war on the county and the stories of those who served in the armed forces and those who contributed on the home front. People of all ages and backgrounds across the county will be inspired to come together with the common aim of creating a global, interactive, accessible and enduring digital resource telling Surrey's story during the war years.

At the heart of the full project will be a new website recording the stories of Surrey's towns, villages, organisations and individual men and women who experienced the war, both those who survived and those who fell. This constantly expanding and developing resource will enable people to explore, and understand the impact of the war on the county. Contributors of all ages, backgrounds and levels of experience will discover the thrill of exploring and understanding the past as they investigate original records, letters and newspapers to add content to the website. As people are inspired to investigate the impact of the war on their families and communities, memories and memorabilia of the war, in danger of disappearing with the passage of time, will be captured for posterity.

With the support, enthusiasm and energy of current residents of Surrey and those with former links to the county, the project will create a fitting tribute to the sacrifices and suffering of their forebears of 100 years ago who endured the first global, industrial war in human history.

Further information is available via Exploring Surrey's Past: http://www.exploringsurreyspast.org.uk/themes/subjects/military/surreys-first-world-war/remembers/


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Two questions occur to me that are not dealt with in the document:

1. How is Surrey defined for the purpose of the grant and research - is it Surrey as existing during the Great War, or is it Surrey as now existing, i.e. minus the portions incorporated into London Boroughs and the Greater London area. The latter definition would affect some people's interest and willingness to participate. People need to know.

2. Unlike a number of other countywide centenary projects that have been advertised, this project carries no specific mention as to whether conscientious objectors and others who opposed the war are intended to be included. The mentioned areas of involvement in the military and involvement in the home front seem calculated to omit those who conscientiously refused to participate, and, if that is the case, it diminishes any educational value of the project by giving a false impression of the way the war was viewed by a significant proportion of the population. Again, people need to know.

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It is current Surrey so far as I've been able to establish (which is annoying as my own project crosses all the categories you mention - some towers were already in the County of London by 1914 too).

I suspect you're reading too much into it on your second point, but from my experience those involved are quite responsive, so it would probably be best to raise it with them directly.

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For the first round funding we have outlined our project ideas. A lot more information about our vision for the project is available on the website:

http://www.exploringsurreyspast.org.uk/themes/subjects/military/surreys-first-world-war/remembers/.

The initial funding will enable us to conduct more detailed consultations to define the final project. One of the major outcomes from the first phase will be a bid to the Heritage Lottery Fund for a grant to support the main project. We still therefore have a lot of work to do

We welcome all ideas and suggestions and have a very open attitude towards the scope of the potential project. We have, however, had to make some strategic choices to ensure the project is manageable.

We have, for example, decided that the project's geographical coverage will be the modern county of Surrey. The reason for this is because other local archives in the Greater London (ex-Surrey) boroughs will be best placed to facilitate and support local projects. We plan to coordinate with neighbouring boroughs and counties as much as possible as we realise, as David has pointed out, that this decision may lead to anomalies. We will therefore not be mobilising groups or individuals to conduct structured research into people who were living in what are now Greater London boroughs at the time of the Great War. However, many Surrey based people enlisted in non-Surrey regiments so research will of necessity extend beyond Surrey's modern borders. Many families of people affected by the Great War have moved or migrated and we are hoping to engage with people around the world to contribute information and memories.

It is not our intention to exclude any group; our intention is to be as inclusive as possible and the apparent omission is due more to the brevity of the announcement. Trying to encapsulate the essence of what is potentially an enormous project has been a challenge. We agree that it is essential to capture the stories and experiences of the widest possible diversity of groups and individuals, to give a rounded picture of the impact of the Great War on Surrey's society; naturally the experiences of conscientious objectors are a vital part of that picture. The broad remit of the project is to help people understand how the war changed the face of Surrey and its impact on the county’s towns, villages, communities and residents.

Please feel free to put forward any other ideas, suggestions or observations. These can be posted on this forum, e-mailed directly to the team at Surrey Heritage or posted on the Exploring Surrey's Past website.

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As Kingston upon thames is now a London Borough, but was home of the East Surreys, and London Borough of Croydon was the home West Surreys restricting to current Surey seems a bit odd to me. Isn't Surrey Heritage Centre still holding the East Surrey's records? Forgive it any of this is wrong, I've not kept up to date and my Great War knowledge needs a major revival. Woud the nearly 600 men commemorated on the Mitcham War Memorial ,and other nearby in Church memorials in Mitcham, have regarded themselves as Londoners or living in Surrey?

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There have been a number of changes to Surrey's borders since 1889, these are illustrated on the Exploring Surrey's Past website: http://www.exploringsurreyspast.org.uk/themes/places/historic_surrey/.

Some areas have been "lost" and others "gained". This obviously has an impact on any historical research. Restricting the project to the modern county boundaries and collaborating with neighbouring counties and boroughs is, we feel, a realistic approach to try to ensure a successful project.

Surrey History Centre does hold records for The Queen’s Royal Regiment (West Surrey) and The East Surrey Regiment, for more details see: http://www.exploringsurreyspast.org.uk/themes/subjects/military/the_queens_royal_surrey_regiment/

If you would like to be added to our mailing list to receive updates on the project and be included in further consultations please e-mail me: phil.cooper@surreycc.gov.uk

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  • 11 months later...

Surrey Heritage has been awarded £458,800 by the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) for its ambitious four-year project ‘Surrey in the Great War: A County Remembers’ to run from 2015 to 2018. The project is at the heart of the county's commemoration of the First World War and the quest to understand how the war changed the face of Surrey and the lives of its residents.

The project will lead, collect and publish online community-based research exploring all aspects of the impact of the war on the county and the experiences of those who served on the home front and overseas. The research by volunteers and community groups will draw on the archives at Surrey History Centre in other record offices but will also explore how the war was reported in a number of local newspapers, some of which are being digitised as part of the project.

At the project’s heart will be a new website recording the stories of Surrey's towns, villages, organisations and individual men and women who endured the war, both those who survived and those who fell. This constantly expanding and developing resource will enable people to explore and understand the impact of the war on the county.

For more information, see http://www.exploringsurreyspast.org.uk/themes/subjects/military/surreys-first-world-war/remembers/

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Congratulations - as I've said before, let me know if I can add anything from Halfmuffled. Are you going to link to Lives of the First World War as well?

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Thanks David

We'll be in touch once the project gets fully underway to link up with the information you've already discovered.

Our aim is to share data and link as closely as possible with other initiatives locally, nationally and internationally. We had discussions with the Lives team during the development phase and will be continuing those as a priority now we have the funding from the HLF.

Phil

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Great stuff

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£458,800 is a very large sum of money, even if you look at it as £113,000 per year over the life of the project. I am intrigued with regard to how the money will be spent. Can you please explain?

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Dear Chris

We are aiming to tell the story of Surrey during the Great War through the impact on the towns and villages and people, both those who served abroad and those involved on the Home Front.

There are approximately 200 parishes in Surrey and within each of these there will be a range of small community groups. Organising events and providing training and support for local groups to research their heritage will be a full-time task for the project staff for the life of the funded part of the project. Some of the budget will therefore be spent on salaries. We will also be paying to digitise and index contemporary editions of at least 10 local newspapers and publications, digitisation and georectification of contemporary OS maps, creation of a series of themed walks at various locations across the county with a downloadable app to support each, production of learning resources, production of a DVD of contemporary film footage, a community drama, thematic displays, booklets and a book, development of a website and an on-line database for people and memorials, the latter will be linked to the county Historic Environment Record. The website will have a virtual reality component which will enable geocoded images of memorials and other features to be viewed 'in the field' on smart devices in their correct location. This will include images of memorials that have been lost or are not ordinarily accessible to members of the public. We will be encouraging people to bring their personal collections of ephemera to local centres or the county archive where the material can be scanned and added to the the archive for preservation and to make this material available for researchers.

We want to avoid duplication and will be focussing new research on the places, people and stories that have not be dealt with already. We want to collaborate with local, regional, national and international projects to share information to ensure we are all talking about the correct individuals. This will require a large amount of moderation to deliver a globally accessible and authoritative resource. Based on the estimated number of people named on memorials across the county; mortality rates which give us a guide to the number of people who served, survived and returned; the number of people involved on the Home Front and the transitory population, e.g. Canadian, Australian and Indian soldiers who were billeted or are buried/commemorated in the county and German PoWs; we believe we are looking at researching the lives of circa 100,000 people.

The scope of the project is huge but we want to achieve a fitting commemoration of the role Surrey and its people played in the Great War and to preserve that memory for future generations. I hope this goes some way to explain what the money will be used for.

Phil Cooper

Surrey Heritage

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  • 1 year later...

Thanks Nigel

Yes, the long awaited Surrey in the Great War website has gone public. We're building the back-end database of Surrey memorials. We started using the IWM WMA, then added information from the Surrey Historic Environment Record and now we're asking groups, societies and individuals to tell us about any we haven't yet included, a couple have already turned up in Newdigate that we were unaware of. We're also asking anyone to send us photographs of memorials to add to the on-line record. The website is still a work in progress and it will take us time to assimilate all the existing data so please bear with us and keep coming back to the site to see what's new.

The memorial records link to people and again we're working with groups, societies and individuals to consolidate and upload existing research. There will be gaps and once we know where they are we'll be putting out calls for help in researching names. The project is about the people on the home front as well as those who served, the fallen and the survivors, so there's a lot of scope and some names will be easier to research than others. Any photographs to go with the People records would be greatly appreciated.

The site is set up to take Stories about Places, People and the life of the county during the war years. Anyone can sign up to contribute a Story about any Surrey related subject.

If any forum members want to get involved, contact the project team (based at Surrey History Centre) and they'll be able help with more information on how to add information to the project and website.

We've set ourselves an ambitious target but the people who lived through the Great War deserve to be remembered and that's our aim, to create a fitting commemoration of the role Surrey and its people played in the Great War and to preserve that memory for future generations.

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Dear Phil,

This is probably a totally bonkers question, but do you know if there might be any way of identifying where Surrey's Great War veterans were living in the late 1960s/early 70s? I've always wondered who it was that I used to talk to in my local bus-shelter in Horley ... (he was my first introduction to the subject).

seaJane

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Hi Jane

That's certainly a challenging question. In principle the answer is probably yes there might be ways of identifying where Surrey's Great War veterans were living in the late 1960s/ealry 1970s. It would probably involve some luck and a lot of hard, detailed research. For example, do you know if the person you spoke to was a long term resident or a recent arrival in the area? I've consulted with colleagues and we think there are two possible avenues for you to explore.

There's an excellent Local History Society/Centre in Horley and the team there have a wealth of local knowledge, Doug Cox has done a lot of research on the people commemorated on the main Horley War Memorial and may have picked up information on suvivors in the process. There's a contact page on their website: http://www.horleyhistory.org.uk/index.php/about-us/39-history-centre/48-horley-local-history-centre

The Royal British Legion in Surrey may also be able to help: http://counties.britishlegion.org.uk/counties/surrey/contact-us. There is a Horley club tel: 01293 862609

I hope this helps.

I see your interests include FWW poetry and fiction, if you haven't already done so have a browse around the Surrey in the Great War website (we have connections to Wilfred Owen) and its sister site Exploring Surrey's Past (we have the RC Sherriff archive and there's a lot on this site about Journey's End and his later work).

If you come across anything that relates to Surrey in the Great War we'd be really interested to hear about it.

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Hi Phil,

Thank you for the links: I will follow up when I have a moment.

I haven't lived in Surrey since 1987 and my parents finally moved away in 2005, so I'm not so up in local history as I might be if I had stayed there. I think the veteran in question had lived there for a while, somewhere in the Chequers/Horley Row area; a neighbour passed us once and said "Hallo, Mr --- " - but I can't remember the name!

For Surrey casualties I can offer Arthur Edward Kelsey who is fresh in my mind as I have been researching him: http://www.john-attfield.com/paf_tree/attfield_current/ind6393.html and http://1914-1918.invisionzone.com/forums/index.php?showtopic=238344 - I also have a photograph of him if you would like one.

sJ

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Dear Jane

Good luck with your search for the veteran.

Thanks for the information on Arthur Kelsey. Our database is growing rapidly but it doesn't appear that we have anything on him yet so I'll take your offer as permission to add your existing research to our database. And yes, we'd would really appreciate a photo. Can you e-mail that to me direct? phil.cooper@surreycc.gov.uk.

Phil

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Phil,

Will do.

sJ

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