Tag Archives: Heritage Lottery Fund

Gateways Open Day at the National Maritime Museum


On 28 September 2014, Gateways to the First World War held a public open day at the National Maritime Museum, Greenwich. This event brought together representatives from a wide range of organisations working on the First World War, and gave members of the public the opportunity to find out about a number of different projects being organised to commemorate the centenary. Local organisations such as Chatham Historic Dockyard and Greenwich Heritage Centre provided tasters of their First World War research and exhibitions.  Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) projects supported by the Gateways team, such as Superact’s ‘The Last Post’ and the National Children’s Football Alliance, showcased some of their work. Representatives from the British Association for Local History, HLF, the War Memorials Trust, The Western Front Association and many others were also present, offering advice on how to get involved in centenary projects and events.


A selection of the day’s exhibitors

Given its location, there was certainly a maritime feel to this event. Quintin Colville (National Maritime Museum) led a tour of the ‘Forgotten Fighters of the First World War’ gallery, an exhibition documenting the naval dimension of the First World War.  On this tour, he outlined how the exhibition was constructed, and how individual items were chosen for display. Chris Bellamy (University of Greenwich) gave an evocative lecture on the First World War at sea, and how developments at sea often affected the land battles that are imprinted on public awareness of this conflict. These sessions highlighted a dimension that is often forgotten in the wider public remembrance of the conflict.


Quintin Colville (National Maritime Museum) introduces the Forgotten Fighters of the First World War exhibition

Alongside these sessions, there were opportunities for members of the public to think about how they could study the First World War, and how they could use source material to chart their family’s involvement in the conflict. Chris Ware (University of Greenwich) ran a public session outlining how to ‘fish’ for your ancestors, using archival resources present at the National Maritime Museum and at the National Archives. He used examples from his own family history to illustrate the sort of projects that could be conducted, and how these resources could be used in a practical manner. Tracey Weller (National Maritime Museum) ran a ‘Show and Tell’ session, using an array of primary source materials from the museum.

Kate Morgan, a third year undergraduate student in the School of History, University of Kent, found the day ‘extremely informative with a particular highlight being the talk given by the exhibition curator. I am in the process of researching the First World War for my dissertation, and found the information available, particularly concerning primary sources, very useful.’


Professor Mark Connelly and Dr Lucy Noakes spoke to budding historians of all ages!

The open day was the first of an extensive series of events planned and supported by Gateways. Events coming up in 2014 include:

31 October: ‘Discover Portsmouth in the First World War’, free discovery day, Portsmouth City Museum

11 November: Well-Remembered Voices, a one-day public event exploring how theatre responded to the events of 1914-1918 at The Marlowe, Canterbury

20 November: ‘Whose Remembrance?’ A film presentation, panel discussion and Q&A session at the University of Leeds, organised in partnership with Legacies of War and the Imperial War Museum

12 December: ‘Representations of the Christmas Truce’, a one-day public symposium at the University of Kent

Lest We Forget Project, Portsmouth

Gateways is helping the people of Portsmouth research and uncover the stories of those who took part in the First World War at the front and at home in an Exhibition which will run from the 19 July 2014 to 25 January 2015.

Portsmouth City Museum, in partnership with the University of Portsmouth, was awarded £97,000 by the Heritage Lottery Fund for the Lest We Forget project which encourages community groups, families and individuals to contribute to the exhibition.

Dr Brad Beaven preparing the Lest We Forget exhibition

Dr Brad Beaven preparing artefacts for display in the Lest We Forget exhibition

The starting point for Lest We Forget was the museum and archive collections which hold First World War material relating to over 200 individuals who experienced war at the front or at home. Dr Brad Beaven, a Gateways Co-Investigator and guest curator of the exhibition, explained how the project evolved. ‘Work for the exhibition began earlier in the year when we put a call out to community groups and schools for help in researching the individuals and objects in the collection. The response has been fantastic and we have a really impressive level of community engagement from researching timelines to choirs singing war songs for our “sound showers” in the exhibition’.

Visitors to the exhibition are also encouraged to get involved. ‘Research hubs’ have been set-up in the exhibition to allow people to research names of individuals and objects in the collection. Dr Beaven commented that ‘with over 200 names in the exhibition we have gaps in our knowledge and we’d encourage visitors to add to our growing collection of personal stories’.

How You Can Get Involved

Add details of your ancestors to the Tale of One City Community History website.

Add details of your World War One projects to the Community history website under the topics and places sections.

Please do let us know if you are working on a local community history or schools project relating to the First World War – we can list your project on the web site. We are also working directly working with some community groups to support their projects.

The project coordinator would be pleased to visit your group to tell your more about the project. Let us know if you are interested.