02/08/18: Heritage project marks centenary of the Great War
2 August 2018
Shop fronts across Dereham have gone back in time to remember and honour the residents who lived during the Great War, which ended 100 years ago in 1918.
The Dereham 1918 Life at Home heritage project is being coordinated by Dereham Carnival and is part-funded by Breckland Council's World War Heritage Fund. This offered communities grants of up to £500 to support projects which explore, share and conserve the heritage of the war in the district. The council has provided £320 towards the cost of this initiative.
The project is providing a fascinating glimpse into the daily lives of ordinary working people in Dereham at the end of the war, utilising original shop frontage and life-sized models dressed in period costumes.
Launched during the Dereham Carnival, these historic mannequins will be exhibited until 5 August, before going into the town's library until 19 August. The library will also have a medal collection on display, including the 'Death Penny', which was given to families to honour soldier killed in action during the Battle of the Somme in 1916.
Each historic figure on display was made by the Carnival Crafters, whose desire for accuracy led to sourcing original patterns from 1918, helping them produce items of clothing that wouldn't look out of place 100 years ago during market day. Shoppers will not only see what Dereham residents were wearing, but can also read posters in shop windows detailing facts about the shops and their owners during that time.
Cllr Paul Claussen, Breckland Council's Executive Member for Place, commented: "This heritage project is offering the town's residents and visitors a chance to look back through time at days gone by. Hopefully it will inspire people to reflect and remember those who not only fought in the Great War, as well as consider how local residents would have been vital to the home front and contributed to the war effort in other ways. I would like to congratulate the Carnival Crafters for such a wonderful insight and for shining a light on this important period in our local history."
The figures will go on to take part in a Remembrance Day service at Northgate High School and will finally be reused for the Carnival's 1919 Peace Day commemoration.