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Childhood Interrupted – Worcestershire’s youth in World War One Exhibition at The Hive, 2 – 29 November 2017

24th October 2017

Childhood Interrupted is a new, free, exhibition funded by the World War One Engagement Centre: Voices of War and Peace which runs from 2 – 29 November at The Hive exploring how children’s lives and education were changed or disrupted by war 100 years ago.

Part of the Worcestershire World War One Hundred Programme, preparing the exhibition has involved approximately 50 children who have learnt about World War One and children’s role in the conflict. It draws on research undertaken by staff and students of the History Department of the University of Worcester working in collaboration with Worcestershire Archives and Archaeology Service.

The exhibition explores how children’s education and home life was disrupted by the conflict, for example how children missed school to pick blackberries to make jam for the soldiers and to work in agriculture as well as how even when in school their education was disrupted by various patriotic activities from collecting and decorating eggs for wounded soldiers to knitting comforts for soldiers and gardening.

Professor Maggie Andrews, University of Worcester said: “It has been incredibly interesting researching children’s role in World War One, particularly here in Worcester where we had the second highest incidence of child labour in the country at the time with children of 11 and 12working many hours a day, harvesting fruit and digging up potatoes.

“We’ve brought these experiences to life through working with groups of children from across Worcestershire inviting children to choose materials for the exhibition as well as to participate in some of the activities that children 100 years ago were engaged in. We look forward to sharing the story of Worcestershire’s World War One children throughout November in our exhibition at The Hive.”

Dr Adrian Gregson, Worcestershire World War One Hundred Project Manager said: “As part of the Worcestershire World War One Hundred programme we are interested in exploring the impact the First World War had on those at the Front and those left at home, including children. The exhibition demonstrates the many ways in which children played their part right here in Worcestershire, I hope people young and old come along to The Hive to find out more for themselves.”

The project has involved Worcestershire Home Education Network, Worcestershire Young Carers Group as well as 4th Worcester Guides. Hands on activities for the children included painting eggs, picking blackberries and making jam.

Items will also be on display loaned by: University of Worcester Research Collections, Worcestershire Archives and Archaeology Service and Worcester Doll and Toy Club.

The exhibition has been funded by the World War One Engagement Centre: Voices of War and Peace and is part of the Heritage Lottery Funded Worcestershire World War One Hundred programme.