Trent to Trenches Exhibition

9th-11th November 2018

A CDLHS and Collingham and District U3A Local History Research Group joint venture in the Youth and Community Centre, Collingham

“A very impressive exhibition. So much work and thought has gone into the posters, the film and the layout. A great collaborative achievement”. (From the Visitors’ Comments Book.)

By the afternoon of the first day it became obvious that we had a triumph on our hands and suddenly all the hard work over so many months seemed worthwhile. Reading through the Visitors’ Comments Book, we can see that over and over again people spoke of the amount of fascinating information on show. So much so, that many came back for another visit to make sure they could take it all in.

The flags of many nations, the music and a very moving film show all worked toward achieving a memorable atmosphere. Not to mention suddenly being presented with the experiences of life in the trenches complete with sandbags, trench foot and rats (albeit stuffed ones – much to the enjoyment of the younger visitors).

The consequences of war on our community were illustrated through snapshots of life at home – the farms, trades, social divisions, food, children, women and domestic life, the shops, pubs and transport. Some almost forgotten facts that visitors found particularly interesting were those related to the Defence of Realm Act which decreed all sorts of restrictions on home life, including the ban on drinkers in pubs buying a drink for anyone else.

The exhibition covered aspects of the conflict itself including the causes of war and the process of recruitment and training and eventually cartoons illustrating the way Collingham celebrated the end of the Great War.

More than 600 visitors toured the exhibition and stayed for refreshments supplied by ourselves and Collingham WI; enjoying the delights of Trench Cake, Victoria Sponge and Anzac Biscuits all cooked to authentic WW1 recipes.

Many visitors commented on the collaboration and cooperation apparent in the mounting of the event and CDLHS and the U3A Local History Research Group is indeed indebted to the support and input of: the Parish Council, the Heritage Lottery Fund, Collingham WI, John Blow Primary School, Gusto Construction, local artists and many of our friends.