New Permanent WW1 Memorial Unveiling

The Gainsborough Heritage Centre is pleased to announce the unveiling of a unique permanent Gainsborough war memorial at the Centre that records the names of each soldier who died during the Great War.

Chairman Andrew Birkitt said, ‘Thanks go to the work of local Historian Peter Bradshaw as well as the Gainsborough Heritage Centre and the Friends of the General Cemetery. They have all worked tirelessly over the last few years to share knowledge with the local community about the Gainsborough men who were killed, injured and fought during WW1. Alongside our new current exhibition focused on the stories of local men who served for our country, the Centre is unveiling a permanent memorial to those who died. On Saturday 3 November, we welcome the community to help us commemorate over 500 men who were killed during the War. The memorial will be the first in the town that will record all of the names.’

Alongside the unveiling at 10.30am on the 3 November, visitors are encouraged to visit the new exhibition that shows the effects of WW1 on the people and families of Gainsborough. The exhibition focuses on the use of personal communications such as postcards and letters between loved ones as well as local newspaper reports that recorded thoughts, messages and news from the front. The Centre’s collection will share untold stories and recollections from individuals at the time that the War impacted the town. For example, the experiences of families who lived in Marlborough Street echoed the streets across the town as by the end of the War at least nine soldiers, aged between 19 and 24 from Marlborough Street, Gainsborough was killed or injured. The exhibition showcases their story with more information and details on those soldiers.

‘They shall not grow old as we that are left grow old. Age shall not weary them nor the years condemn. At the going down of the sun and in the morning we will remember them.’ By Robert Laurence Bunyan

As part of the exhibition, there are some interesting and insightful objects on display including a decorative brass tin sent by Princess Mary and known as her Christmas present to the British Colonial and Indian armed forces. By Christmas 1914, the idea to send tins filled with various items from tobacco to confectionary with a Christmas card that included a picture of the Princess helped to raise morale amongst the troops. On display is also a fantastic piece of artwork from War weapons week. This large cloth contains over 700 signatures and the creation of this souvenir presented to the council helped to raise funds for the war effort.

If you are interested and would like to join in the commemorations at the Gainsborough Heritage Centre then pop along on Saturday 3 November for the unveiling of this important memorial and visit the exhibition that will be open till January. Visitors are welcome to take a picture of themselves as a WW1 munitionette worker with the exciting photo cut outs on loan from West Lindsey District Council.

The cenotaph outside the Gainsborough Old Hall after the Great War.

Peter Bradshaw will be launching the final book in the series chronicling how World War One affected Gainsborough mainly based on articles from the wartime editions of the “Gainsborough News.” Find out more about the book launch also taking place on 3 November.

The Centre is open every Tuesday 10am until 4pm, Saturday 10am until 4pm and Sunday 11am until 4pm. Last Admission is at 3.30pm. Group visits to the Heritage Centre can be arranged and staff will organise to open the Centre for a weekday or evening session. For further details call 01427 610526 or email chairman@gainsboroughheritage.com.

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