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Last updated:13 June 2016

Invisible Histories From World War One

HLF logoWe were successful in getting a Heritage Lottery Fund grant for an exhibition/development of learning resources and a Living History performance about conscientious objectors/women’s work during WW1 – starting in March 2015.

The Library contains a wealth of material in its peace collections relating to WW1 conscientious objectors (COs), and also to peace efforts by women from late 1915 into 1916. Archive material includes:

  • Papers of the Hyde group of the No-Conscription Fellowship (NCF) including correspondence, papers and membership lists;
  • A scrapbook which belonged to CO Thomas Henry Ellison. He pasted into this book cuttings, leaflets, official documents, NCF circulars, poems, hand-written notes and other material relating to the story of his 1916 ordeal.

Library volunteers used this material to create an exhibition, both at the Library and in a format which can be lent to other spaces (contact us at enquiries @ wcml.org.uk to find out more about how to borrow it). It tells the story of the centenary both of the women's push for peace, and also the anniversary of the Military Service Act 1916 which brought conscription into effect for the first time.

Joel Parry as James Hudson

Credit: Sue Reddish

Joel Parry as James Hudson, March 2016

We also did something the Library has never done before - commissioned a Living Histories performance based on the life of James Hudson, a Salfordian CO. This was put on both at the Library, during the course of the exhibition, and in local schools. The script is now available for download here - although the copyright is ours, we would be delighted if others use it and put on their own performances. Just let us know so we can help publicise it!

We also used our unique material to develop learning resources of interest to Salford secondary school students and in tune with Key Stage 3 history programmes of study, designed for use in classrooms both prior to students attending a Living Histories performance and as follow-up to it.  The learning pack is available now as a free download here.

Invisible histories logo