A new exhibition commemorating North Craven’s part in the First World War was officially opened at The Museum of North Craven Life (The Folly) in Settle on Thursday (23 April).
‘1915: Reality Hits Home’ contrasts the frontline experiences of local volunteers with life in North Craven during the first full year of war as the initial excitement for the great adventure has worn off and the reality of war kicks in.
The exhibition, which follows last year’s hugely successful ‘War Beckons’ exhibition, is part of the Craven and the First World War project, a Heritage Lottery Funded project which is running a series of events and exhibitions to mark the centenary in the Craven district.
Anne Read, Honorary Curator at The Folly, says of the exhibition:
“We are delighted to have the chance to build on last year's theme of going to war. In 1915 the reality and horror of war had begun to hit hard and affect nearly everyone in some way. A great advantage of the Craven and the First World War project extending over 4 years is that it enables the steady accumulation of knowledge and understanding and encourages a real empathy to develop between present and past generations.”
Rob Freeman, who is the Project Officer for The Craven and the First World War project, says:
“The exhibition is part of the ongoing series of events planned over the next few years which we hope will develop a greater understanding of Craven’s unique history of this period. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity to commemorate the sacrifices made by the men and women of Craven one hundred years ago, and we hope that as many people as possible will want to get involved and learn more.”
Amongst guests at the exhibition opening were David Blackburne, whose Grandfather, Harry Blackburne, was a much-repected Senior Chaplain to the First Army and later Honorary Chaplain to the King.
Harry is just one of a number of heroes that visitors to the exhibition can find out about, including Bertram Lambert, the Settle-born inventor of the gas respirator, which saved numerous lives during the conflict. Visitors can also discover the story of Rev Theodore Bayley Hardy, an army chaplain from Bentham, who was the most highly decorated non-combatant in the Great War. His heroism in staying with the wounded in incredibly dangerous situations and tending to their wounds, won him the the DSO, the Military Cross and the Victoria Cross. He was killed in October 1918, aged 54.
A series of events are planned around the exhibition, including a talk about Theodore Hardy given by Fr. Paul Hypher this Friday (1st May) from 7 - 8.30pm. Tickets are £7 and can be booked by calling The Folly on 01729 822 893.
The research group at the museum also hopes to work again this year with students from Settle College to uncover more stories of life in Settle during the war.
The exhibition, which runs through until the end of August, has already received positive responses, with one visitor commenting that it is a 'fascinating and poignant exhibition.' For information about The Folly and its opening times, you can visit www.ncbpt.org.uk/folly or ring 015242 51388.
A special thanks to the Heritage Lottery Fund and to the Western Front Association, who provided funding for additional display material.