The Hidden Commemoration – The First World War in the Waveney Valley wins Heritage Lottery Fund support

A unique project to uncover hidden memorials to the First World War is to begin in East Anglia thanks to the support of the Heritage Lottery Fund. With the support of funding from the HLF, the Waveney Valley Community Archaeology Group will mark the 100th anniversary of the start of the war, by working with local communities to seek out, record and protect overlooked and forgotten traces of the conflict. The project aims to connect communities in the Waveney Valley with tangible but oft-forgotten links with their past, showing the impact of a Europe-wide conflict on local people and their towns and villages.

Lorna Richardson, an archaeologist from University College London and one of the project coordinators, said, “We are delighted to receive support from the Heritage Lottery Fund for this exciting and important project. After the First World War a massive programme of memorial building took place across the whole of England. Every parish in the country has stone monuments and graveyard memorials inscribed with the names of the fallen, and today it is these memorials that remain the focus for all annual commemorations. But alongside these formal monuments were many hundreds of more discrete and personal memorials to losses suffered by our communities. It is these we want to bring to wider attention”

These ‘hidden’ memorials can take many forms; from the rededication of a local amenity, such as a village hall, to the keeping of a Roll of Honour or ‘Flanders Cross’ within the parish church. They also include street names and street signs, parks, hospitals and bowling greens as well as smaller items of ephemera. Many of these less formal memorials now lie overlooked and unrecorded, with their significance forgotten to the wider population and their loss remains a very real threat.

This HLF-funded project aims to survey and record these ‘hidden’ memorials in the Waveney Valley, bringing them to wider attention, and preserving this truly hidden history of how the Waveney Valley commemorated its fallen. This project will provide support for Waveney Valley Community Archaeology Group members to work alongside local communities to survey and record the ‘informal’ First World War memorials located in the parishes of the Valley. Participation in the project will contribute to the creation of a digital archive of material that will be made permanently available to local communities, the relevant authorities and the wider public, and used to inform future decision making in planning and heritage monitoring.

Andrew Macdonald, also coordinating the project said, “Thanks to Heritage Lottery funding we will be able to bring these memorials to wider attention. There will be an online archive, digital resources, local travelling exhibitions and guided trails of the more significant discoveries, allowing people to learn about and understand the wider impact of the First World War in a local context. We also aim to train participants in the skills needed to create this important record, such as archival research, digital mapping, website creation, standing building recording and photography.”

About the Heritage Lottery Fund
Using money raised through the National Lottery, the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) aims to make a lasting difference for heritage, people and communities across the UK and help build a resilient heritage economy. From museums, parks and historic places to archaeology, natural environment and cultural traditions, we invest in every part of our diverse heritage. HLF has supported almost 35,000 projects with more than £5.3bn across the UK. www.hlf.org.uk.

For further information, images and interviews, please contact:
Lorna Richardson 07795 461 404
Andrew Macdonald 07771 968641
Email: waveneyarchaeology@gmail.com
Website: waveneyarchaeology.org
Twitter: @Waveney_Arch or @LornaRichardson