< CRAVEN’S official First World War commemorations will be launched with the opening of a new exhibition in Settle on Tuesday. (jul1)

War Beckons will be staged at The Folly – home of the Museum of North Craven Life – and will focus on the early stages of the war and the effects it had on the district, in areas such as agriculture, industry and village life.

Visitors will be able to learn about the recruitment of volunteers and the commandeering of local horses following the outbreak of war, as well some of the lesser-known stories, such as the Belgian refugees who were brought to Settle and the efforts of local people to raise money and support the troops.

With contributions made by local school children and a series of events and talks planned, the exhibition will give residents and visitors a greater understanding of the sacrifices that were made by the people of North Craven throughout the war.

Anne Read, curator at The Folly, said: “We are immensely grateful for the support we have received from so many people and for the wealth of material and stories which have come to light. We shall be adding to the exhibition all through the year and we hope it will inspire more people to explore their own stories of World War One and bring in additional items.”

The exhibition will help to launch the Craven and the First World War project, which is planning a series of events, exhibitions and performances to mark the centenary.

The project is funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) and involves a collection of community-focused organisations including Craven Museum and Gallery, Skipton Town Council, Ermysted’s Grammar School, Aireville School, The Museum of North Craven Life (Settle), North Yorkshire County Council Library and Community Services, and Craven’s Part in the Great War website.

The HLF funding has allowed the group to employ Rob Freeman as project officer to support the events planned to mark the centenary.

He said: “I am looking forward to working with the many different groups involved in the project to help local people connect with events of the First World War and to help build a greater understanding of life in Craven during the war, as well as making a significant contribution to the national commemorations.”

Among the events planned to mark the centenary are a series of performances of the play Tunstill’s Men about the recruitment drives that took place throughout the area.

Written and performed by staff and students from Aireville School, Skipton, the play has been staged at Grassington Festival (with a performance tonight) and further performances will be staged across the district in September, each of them 100 years ago to the day from when the original meetings were held.

The project will also support individuals who are interested in tracing their First World War family history with sessions at libraries across the district from September.

On November 11, there will be a heritage fair at Skipton Library where there will be exhibits from family and local history societies as well as information about the First World War resources available at Skipton Library and North Yorkshire County Record Office. Family history experts will be on hand to help people.

For more information, email RFreeman@cravendc.gov.uk

L Turn to the leisure pages to read about one family’s journey through 100 years.