The contribution of Wales and Welsh people to the British First World War effort was immense. Some 40,000 Welshmen died during the War while its impact reached into every aspect of Welsh life. Its legacy lives on in countless ways and not least in the memories, objects and artefacts handed down through the generations and still treasured today.
Those objects and artefacts will be the focus of a special free event being held as part of the first Connected Communities Festival at the Motorpoint Arena in Cardiff on the 1st July. Three academic experts from Welsh universities will be on hand in a special ‘Antiques Roadshow’-style event to look at First World War memorabilia brought in by members of the public. Objects can include medals, photos, letters, coins, antiques, maps, clothing, jewellery, publications and anything else with associations with the First World War. The academics will explain the context and significance of these objects and outline what they say about the military, domestic, social and political aspects of the War one hundred years ago.
Colleagues from People’s Collection Wales will digitise, preserve for posterity and, with the permission of the objects’ owners, share more widely the objects brought in.
Dr Gethin Matthews of Swansea University, one of the experts on hand during the event, said: “The First World War impacted upon Welsh society and culture in a multitude of different ways, and the evidence for this is often to be found in ‘family attics’. The range of material that families have treasured through the decades is remarkable, and it is always exciting to see ‘new’ material that can give us a fresh perspective on how Welsh people experienced and understood the war.”
Dr Gerard Oram of Swansea University and Dr Lester Mason of the University of Wales, Lampeter will also be taking part in the free event that is open to the public. All three have been supporting BBC journalists and broadcasters through the World War One at Home project in Wales.
This event will be one of many events open to the public on the 1st and 2nd July as part of the Connected Communities Festival. These will include archaeological demonstrations at the Caerau Iron Age hill fort, a talk by National Poet of Wales Gillian Clarke, an intergenerational procession of banners celebrating the industrial history of Cardiff, Merthyr Tydfil and other places in South Wales and many opportunities to get involved in dance, music, crafts and many other activities.
The free event will begin at 10.00am at the Level 2 Conference Suite, Motorpoint Arena, Cardiff on the 1st. The Festival as a whole runs for two days, on the 1st and 2nd July. For further information, please go to: www.ahrc.ac.uk/ccfestival