People in Devon have the opportunity to delve into life on the Home Front 100 years ago, thanks to a new initiative from the South West Heritage Trust. The Devon Remembers Heritage Project will also provide a safe home for the First World War research that many communities have already carried out during the centenary period.

The project, which is based at the Devon Heritage Centre in Exeter, is part of the larger Devon Remembers programme of First World War commemoration activities taking place across the county until 2018. It will support people who want to explore untold chapters in the story of Devon during the war, and help them to communicate their research to a wider audience. It will also offer a safe, permanent and accessible home within the Devon archives for the work that has been done in recent years by groups on local First World War history. 

Devon Remembers Heritage Project Officer, Katherine Findlay, said: 

People in Devon have done a huge amount of work to commemorate the contribution of their villages and towns to the First World War. We want to bring all that research together into a central collection that will be available to the public in perpetuity, and will keep the material safe. We can digitise historic documents and photographs so even if you don’t want to give us the originals, you can contribute. We also want to encourage groups to look at new stories; Devon has a fascinating Home Front history of farming, fishing, caring for the wounded and for refugees and many other interesting angles. We’re keen to help volunteers who are interested in researching any of these areas.

The Devon Remembers Heritage Project will also involve a programme of talks, events and exhibitions, a programme of community arts and oral history. The project has received a grant of £267,400 from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) with additional support from the South West Heritage Trust, Devon County Council, Torbay Council and the University of Exeter.

Nerys Watts, Head of the Heritage Lottery Fund South West, said:

The impact of the First World War was far reaching, touching and shaping every corner of the UK and beyond. Thanks to money raised by National Lottery players, we have already invested more than £70million in commemorative projects, including local community projects like this one in Devon, which will enable people to explore and record their local wartime history and commemorate the thousands of people from Devon who lost their lives during the conflict.

Anyone who would like to contribute to the archive or find out about new project opportunities should contact Katherine Findlay on 01392 381975.

Notes to editors 

About the Heritage Lottery Fund 

From the archaeology under our feet to the historic parks and buildings we love, from precious memories and collections to rare wildlife, we use the National Lottery player’s money to help people across the UK explore, enjoy and protect the heritage they care about. www.hlf.org.uk.

About the South West Heritage Trust

The South West Heritage Trust came into being on 1 November 2014. It is an independent company limited by guarantee, with charitable status. The Trust has taken over the heritage service responsibilities previously carried out by Devon County Council (comprising the Archives and Local Studies Services) and Somerset County Council (comprising the Archives and Local Studies, Museums and Historic Environment Services). For further information see www.swheritage.org.uk.

Munition workers at Heathcoat’s in Tiverton, with thanks to the Museum of Mid Devon Life.

Munition workers at Heathcoat’s in Tiverton, with thanks to the Museum of Mid Devon Life.


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