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Lottery fund to help Ipswich Museum tell hidden stories of town’s Armistice Day celebrations

PUBLISHED: 16:45 06 May 2018

Ipswich Museum has been awarded £9,900 by the Heritage Lottery Fund for a new project called Ipswich and the Armistice. Pictured is Damian Etherington, senior curator at Ipswich Museum. Picture: GREGG BROWN

Ipswich Museum has been awarded £9,900 by the Heritage Lottery Fund for a new project called Ipswich and the Armistice. Pictured is Damian Etherington, senior curator at Ipswich Museum. Picture: GREGG BROWN

A cash windfall of almost £10,000 in lottery funding has been dealt to Ipswich Museum for a project to commemorate Ipswich during the First World War and Armistice – and you can share your family’s history for the occasion.

A parade passing from Norwich Road into St Matthews Street, at Barrack Corner, Ipswich, at the end of the First World War. Picture: DAVID KINDRED ARCHIVEA parade passing from Norwich Road into St Matthews Street, at Barrack Corner, Ipswich, at the end of the First World War. Picture: DAVID KINDRED ARCHIVE

The museum put in a bid earlier this year to the Heritage Lottery Fund for its Ipswich and the Armistice project, which will document the stories of Ipswich people during the war and celebrations in the town on Armistice Day in 1918.

The museum has now been confirmed to have secured the cash, and is in the early stages of putting together a brand new exhibition at the museum, which will be opened this November.

James Steward, museum manager, said: “It had a major impact on the community and that’s why we are interested in bringing out people’s stories, and putting people back in this display.

“Projects like this really enable us to bring these conversations alive, and while there is a sense of urgency with projects to do with the Armistice, there is still a huge desire out there to share those kinds of stories.”

A remembrance service at the cenotaph in Christchurch Park to mark the signing of the Armistice in 1918. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWNA remembrance service at the cenotaph in Christchurch Park to mark the signing of the Armistice in 1918. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

An artist will work with people of all ages, from those living in care homes to school groups, to create short videos, while local families are being encouraged to share the stories of their loved one’s involvement in the First World War and what they did on Armistice Day. Fresh displays will also be created and a DVD compiled which will be shared with the town’s schools.

Stories will also be held as part of historical records of the town’s involvement.

Damian Etherington, senior curator, said: “It’s letting people put their voice into the story, and it’s getting all of that and actually saying what it means to the people of Ipswich. People were out celebrating outside the town hall and getting drunk, and it’s totally different to what you expect – it’s those stories about what Uncle Jim was up to on the day that you don’t hear about in the big histories.”

Museum records reveal that around 10,000 people from Ipswich went to war during the 1914-1918 conflict, 1,000 of whom died and many more injured.

Fundraising in the wake of the war helped create an extension to Ipswich Hospital and build a memorial in Christchurch Park.

To get involved and share your family’s story email the museum here.

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