A series of events to commemorate 100 years since the end of the First World War are set to take place in Stoke-on-Trent between now and Armistice Day on November 11.
People from across the city are being invited to get involved in the events, as part of ‘Stoke-on-Trent Remembers.’
Highlights from Stoke-on-Trent Remembers include:
- Poppy seeds being provided for all schools across the city by the Lord Mayor, Councillor Lilian Dodd.
- A specially commissioned First World War remembrance trail.
- Wreaths to be placed on the streets that have been named after our First World War military medal heroes.
- Continuation of the street-naming project, working with Persimmon Homes at its Shelton New Road site and with St Modwen at its development on Trentham Lakes. A total of 17 heroes will be commemorated with a street name, including Helena Repton, the only female military medal recipient in the area.
- Bethesda Our Boys First World War exhibition at Bethesda Chapel.
- First World War Armed Forces Day at Tunstall Park with an on-site tank and the chance to see a spitfire.
- Specially commissioned talks with First World War historians.
- The Great War Home Front – an event at the Potteries Museum & Art Gallery (PMAG) in Hanley with Meredith Towne, looking at the role of women during the First World War.
- Stoke-on-Trent Remembers activities at the PMAG, at the same time as the Poppies: Weeping Window takes place at Middleport.
- A banner illustrating the battles fought by the 5th Battalion North Staffordshire Regiment will be on display at the PMAG in an exhibition entitled For the Fallen. Johnson Tiles in Tunstall has supported the exhibition by producing a tile reflecting the detail of the banner.
- A talk remembering first-hand accounts and letters which give an overview of life during the Great war – losing a loved one, life on the home front and working as a nurse in a field hospital that is preparing for the Battle of the Somme – to be held at the PMAG. This presentation will also include material based on Vera Brittain, who was born in Newcastle.
- Remembrance services across the city on November 11.
- Heritage Open Days in September, with a focus on the Great War.
- Access to a historically significant archive donated by The War Widows’ Association (WWA), including letters, meeting minutes and copies of the WWA newsletter at Staffordshire University.
- A specially commissioned First World War poem by the first poet laureate in Stoke-on-Trent, Stephen Seabridge.
- Work with PM Training to design First World War figures.
Residents are also being encouraged to take part by sharing their stories of family members involved in the First World War and highlighting historic sites of interest in the city linked to the Great War.
Councillor Anthony Munday – Stoke-on-Trent City Council’s cabinet member for greener city, development and leisure, and champion for the Armed Forces’ Community Covenant – and Councillor Jellyman, cabinet member for regeneration, transport and heritage, have been leading on the commemorations.
Cllr Munday said: “This is a historic time for the nation and Stoke-on-Trent wants to make sure it plays its part in marking the brave actions of those soldiers who changed the future for so many by giving up their lives.
“It’s also so important that younger generations know what has gone before so we don’t repeat the mistakes of the past. That’s why we want as many people as possible across the city to get involved.”
Cllr Jellyman added: “Many people across Stoke-on-Trent contributed to the war effort, whether it was the women taking on new roles while the men went off to fight or those working in the factories to increase the pottery production that was so sought after at that time.
“It is only right that Stoke-on-Trent Remembers and pays its respects in the most meaningful way. Tell us your family stories and make sure we don’t leave out the places or people who played a major part in the history of this city.”
Fred Hughes has been involved in helping to put together the First World War trail.
He said: “We have a number of historically significant locations in the city that are related to the Great War. Stoke Minster, to name but one, already has a well-established trail that recognises those who lost their lives during the war. This is about finding out about those areas that have perhaps been overlooked in the past.”
The city council is asking anyone who has a family story linked to the Great War, or who knows a First World War historically significant location in the city, to get in touch by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling 01782 232042.
Alternatively, drop-in sessions are taking place at Bethesda Chapel on the second Saturday of every month. The deadline for getting in touch is June 30, 2018.
For all media enquiries please contact the Communications Department at Stoke-on-Trent City Council on 01782 232265.