Great War Gallery at Bankfield Museum, Halifax wins Heritage Lottery Fund support

Calderdale Council’s Museum Service has received £98,800 from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) for an exciting project to commemorate the anniversary of the First World War.

The project will see the top floor of Bankfield Museum, Halifax, transformed into the ‘Great War Gallery’, which will explore this global event, highlighting the personal stories of people from Calderdale, both military and civilian, and the effect on the local area. Work on the project will commence this Spring and the new gallery will be available by the summer of 2014.

The exhibition will coincide with the 100 year anniversary of the outbreak of the First World War, and act as a focal point for commemorative activities. The museum is working with other organisations and local groups who are also looking to mark this historic occasion, by sharing information and expertise.

Local schools will also be involved as part of a targeted education programme, ensuring that people of all ages discover more about ‘the war to end all wars’.

The project will explore the economic, political and social impacts of this major global event. The main exhibition will cover the key events of the war, and will be supported by a number of temporary exhibitions running from 2014 to 2018, focussing on a range of themes; from social reform and the changing role of women, to the supply of goods and changes in manufacturing.

A programme of events and activities will be developed throughout the project, offering people different ways to take part, and to find out more about this important and fascinating piece of our heritage.

Calderdale has a number of unique stories in relation to the Great War. These include local recipients of the Victoria Cross; the invention of the first steel helmet and bomb release mechanism; the home of the West Riding Regiment; being a centre for the supply of uniform cloth and blankets to the British army and its allies; the large number of armament factories; and the production of knitting yarn and patterns for the comfort of soldiers.

Bankfield Museum was the home of Colonel Edward Akroyd of the 4th Rifle Volunteers and houses ‘The Duke of Wellington’s Regiment Museum’, the historic regiment of the West Riding.

Calderdale Council’s Cabinet Member for Communities, Cllr Pauline Nash, said:

“It’s great news that Bankfield Museum has received the support of the Heritage Lottery Fund for this exciting exhibition. The project will help Calderdale mark this important centenary, and enable local people and visitors to find out more about the role that Calderdale played in the Great War.”

Fiona Spiers, Head of HLF Yorkshire and the Humber, said:

“As we rapidly approach the commemorations of the First World War, it is important to remember the huge impact the conflict had on people at home as well as abroad. This project will investigate the social, economic and political effects of the First World War on Calderdale and its community, exploring the stories of local people to create an exhibition and learning resources to enable people to learn about this turning point in history.”

Information about the Heritage Lottery Fund

Using money raised through the National Lottery, the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) sustains and transforms a wide range of heritage for present and future generations to take part in, learn from and enjoy. From museums, parks and historic places to archaeology, natural environment and cultural traditions, we invest in every part of our diverse heritage. HLF has supported over 33,000 projects, allocating £5billion across the UK including £380m to 2,845 projects in Yorkshire & the Humber alone. Website: link)

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