First World War exhibition to open at Gawthorpe Hall

The Padiham 'Peace Procession' in 1919
The Padiham 'Peace Procession' in 1919
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An exhibition to highlight how people in Padiham were affected by the First World War will go on display this month.

Brothers in Arms Padiham will be on display at Gawthorpe Hall from Sunday until Sunday, November 4th.

Entry to the "Downton of the North" will be free this Sunday to mark the launch of the exhibition.

The Heritage Lottery Fund's "First World War: Then and Now" programme has awarded a grant of £10,000 for this exhibition and to run associated workshops and projects with the local community.

This exhibition will complement the current Brothers in Arms display, highlighting the effect that the First World War had on the owners of Gawthorpe Hall, and telling the story of the lives and the tragic deaths of two main heirs of the Kay-Shuttleworth family, Lawrence and Edward, while serving in 1917.

The new Padiham addition to the exhibition will show information gathered from community workshops that have been held throughout the summer exploring the history of the people of Padiham and their involvement in World War One.

The display outlines how the war affected the community, the regiments the local men joined, and tells the story of those who remained at home. It will also explore the help that was organised for people left in financial need when the breadwinner of the family had gone to war.

The exhibition will also contain personal stories of servicemen and women, including Sarah 'Daisy' Wingham who joined the Voluntary Aid Detachment (VAD), a voluntary unit of civilians providing nursing care for military personnel. Sarah's four brothers also fought in World War One.

It will also tell the story of Sergeant Grundy, an excellent local footballer, sadly killed just five days before the November Armistice.

Both of the exhibitions show the links that people living in the area had to the Kay-Shuttleworth family, and how their grief was shared by the wider community.

Rachel Pilling, the lead researcher for the Brothers in Arms project, will be available this Sunday afternoon to talk about some of the stories that have been uncovered during this project.

County Coun. Peter Buckley, Lancashire County Council's cabinet member for community and cultural services, said: "I'm sure that both of these exhibitions will convey the impact of the war on the Kay-Shuttleworth family, and on the local community. Sad losses were experienced, just like as in thousands of other families across the country.

"I'm really pleased to see that the local community is being featured in an exhibition. I'm sure that it will be really interesting for the people who live in the area today to be able to see what previous residents endured.

"Maybe it will uncover some personal family history as well. The links of many people who lived in Padiham at the time to Gawthorpe Hall are also important. It clearly demonstrates the effects of the First World War on everyone.

"It is important to hold this exhibition now, as this is the final commemorative year for the end of the First World War. This will probably be our last opportunity to bring together all of the military connections that are relevant to this period of the hall's history, and to the local community."

Local history and military groups have contributed to the exhibition. The HLF funding has also included workshops for pupils at local secondary schools to help them explore their own family stories, and how they were affected by war. Schools will be able to visit the hall to see the exhibition and have an opportunity to learn about remembrance at special workshops to be held in November.

A commemorative community event is being planned to take place at the hall at the end of the year. Shuttleworth College, community groups, and everyone who has been involved in the exhibition will be invited to attend this event.

Entrance to the exhibition is included in the normal admission price to Gawthorpe Hall which is £6 for adults and £4 for concessions. National Trust members and children go free.

For more information telephone 01282 771004 or email gawthorpehall@lancashire.gov.uk.