A new exhibition commemorating the First World War has opened at Lynn’s True’s Yard Museum and takes a look at North End’s involvement in the war.
Running until October, The North End and The Great War exhibition will feature a number of items donated by North End families, including a collection of letters, postcards and even the wallet of a soldier who was killed in action.
Museum manager Lindsey Bavin said: “The exhibition is about the impact the war had on the area. We’ve chosen to focus on the home front – there were a lot of local men fighting in the trenches and particularly in the Navy, with so many being fisherfolk. Sadly many of these men were killed in the first year of the war which had a huge impact on the community.
“We also take a look at how the area fought back, with Savage’s factories helping to make planes for the French and later the Dehavilland aircraft. Also, the effect on women was huge, the year before war broke out, many suffragettes had been sent to prison, but after the war broke there was an amnesty which meant they were released and went to work in the munition factories such as Cooper Roller Bearings.”
She added: “When the Germans came it was a huge shock for everyone, the fact that they could come here was something nobody expected, that’s why people were evacuated here in the Second World War and why so many munitions factories were around here.”
The exhibition will also feature the logbook for St Nicholas School, which used to sit just behind the chapel in Pilot Street, which contains notes of the children’s progress up to the point of the war, when it was replaced with huge absences as the children tried to fill the shoes of those who left to fight.
The pupils were sent out to work illegally on the boats and others were sent out to help the war effort by collecting conkers. These conkers, which were the discovery of a man who later became the president of Israel, could be used to provide the substances needed to create the propellant for shells.
Miss Bavin said: “It’s so sad how the children were forced to grow up so quickly and give up their education to support the war effort.
“We’ve tried to cram in as much as possible but there’s so much out there. Luckily we’ve been working closely with All Saints Church to make sure that their exhibition and our own don’t overlap. It’s all pieces of a bigger puzzle that create a picture of what life was like at the time. Lest we forget.”
Alongside the exhibition, True’s Yard will also be running a series of workshops and activities for all ages to take part in. These begin in August when a recruitment desk will be set up in the exact place at the museum where it would have been during the war. Doctors and magistrates will be involved in the event so visitors undergo the same process and tests that selected those who went.
Miss Bavin said: “At the start of the war there were a lot of tests and they were a lot of reasons why you couldn’t fight – if your feet were too flat you were unsuitable because there was so much standing involved. But by the end of the war they would take anyone.”
The museum will also host one of the Lyon’s tea parties which were very popular during the war, along with a childrens’ flag day where youngsters can make flags to celebrate their heroes and plan them in the yard.
Later in the summer, it is hoped to hold a march from the museum to the Custom House and on to the railway station, just like the march those who had just signed up would have made. And there are plans to hold a walk between All Saints Church and True’s Yard so that visitors can enjoy both exhibitions alongside each other.
Contact True’s Yard on 01553 770479 or go to www.truesyard.co.uk for more information about upcoming events.