Trench warfare comes to Wotton-under-Edge

Wotton-under-Edge Heritage centre helpers and volunteers outside their World War 1 bunker, part of their new exhibition at the centre (5346257)

Wotton-under-Edge Heritage centre helpers and volunteers outside their World War 1 bunker, part of their new exhibition at the centre (5346257)

First published in News

TALES of the First World War are being brought to life at a heritage centre.

The Wotton-under-Edge Heritage Centre is marking the 100th anniversary of the outbreak of World War I with a series of exhibits exploring local experiences during the period.

Hot on the heels of its first display focusing on life for the people of Wotton in the years and months leading up to the 1914 Great War comes an exhibit focusing on the early years of the war.

Taking the narrow confines of 1915 to 1916, the exhibition uses archive photographs and items to explore the impact of the war on Wotton’s community.

It will run for three months and features a replica trench sure to delight children.

Curator David Baird said: “We’ve also got the equipment used in the trench and a coloured war display.”

The exhibition also showcases fascinating local tales of the Great War, from the young men who lost their lives in the trenches through to the 1915 owner of the Swan Hotel, who was German.

“You wouldn’t think that the biggest hotel in the town was being run by someone German,” said Mr Baird. “He proved that he wasn’t a liability and he wasn’t classed as an illegal alien but he was watched.

“That’s what we’re trying to do, bring out the small things of the war.”

The centre now also boasts some brand new lights which have been recently fitted, thanks to the donations of the community.

“They have just the same tubes as other museums and art galleries have," explained Mr Baird. "It brings out the colours of the exhibits and gets rid of the shadows we had before.”

The £2,000 project has been funded by local individuals and groups and the lights were installed by a local electrician.

A special event is in the Under the Edge Arts centre in the Chipping Hall this Easter Weekend. Revealed, Wotton's Hidden Gems brings out items not normally displayed in the Heritage Centre and runs from 10am to 4pm on Saturday, April 19 and Sunday, April 20.

For more information, visit www.wottonheritage.com or call 01453 521541.

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