The First World War began on 28 July 1914 and lasted until 11 November 1918. We were awarded a grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund for a two year project “Living through World War One in three Norfolk Broadland Villages: Neatishead, Irstead and Barton Turf” which was awarded through HLF’s First World War: then and now programme. Here is a summary of the project which started in February 2014:
Over two years the project researched local families whose relatives served in the armed forces during the First World War, who died or lived through it; and explored village life in Neatishead, Irstead and Barton Turf during this time. The group with other interested members of the community have collected and collated local artefacts, documents, records, photographs, recollections and oral histories to preserve the memories and heritage of the people who lived through the First World War. Some of the information obtained was used to create a living history day at the Neatishead Primary School in July 2014 and then individual exhibitions in the five village churches (St Michael’s Irstead, St Peter’s Neatishead, St Michael and All Angels Barton Turf, Neatishead Baptist Chapel and Barton Turf Methodist Church) during Open Churches Week in August 2014, each focusing on the particular parish or church community. A copy of the poster advertising the exhibitions may be viewed.
Remembrance weekend 7th and 8th November 2015 saw our Memorial Plaque dedicated, in memory of 136 men who served in WW1 from our three villages. An exhibition detailing the lives of those men was displayed together with information about local life 100 years ago. Our community chest was enjoyed by many younger visitors examining artefacts and playing games. On the evening of Saturday 7th November, “When I come home”, a drama specially written for the project by Ray Gedling who has family connections to Irstead, and is set in the villages and based on wartime experiences, was performed by the local drama group, Neatishead and Barton Society (NABS).
Our final open afternoon took place on 31st January 2016, when the information about the 136 men who served was on display together with our WW1 Community Chest and a DVD of the drama. It also saw the launch of a dedicated website for the project www.greatwar.nibchg.org.uk.