Upcoming Talk – Material Memories – The North East’s First World War Trench Art

By Andrew Marriott

World War 1 trench art comprises souvenir artefacts made from recycled munitions and other war-related materiel.   Research at Newcastle University is assessing how much trench art still exists in the North East of England and how people’s engagement with these war pieces has changed with each passing generation.  

Oral histories are being collected and, combined with archival research, the life-stories of trench art pieces are being uncovered. Research on selected regional pieces is underway in order to establish provenance and develop, where possible, a putative early biography for each item as it was being converted from war materiel to an agent of memory. Such research will facilitate an exploration of the changing nature of collective memories of the War across the North East.

With Beamish Museum as a collaborative partner, and the active support of museums across the region, the project will also stimulate better understanding of past and current curatorial strategies of museums with the aim of informing future work in this area.

Andrew Marriott, a former infantry officer and now a PhD candidate at Newcastle University, is conducting research on the region’s First World War trench art.  He is the next speaker in a series of events organized as part of The Bowes Museum’s First World War Commemorative project.  This talk will present early findings from what is the first detailed analysis of a broad and numerous range of trench art artefacts.  Some examples of trench art will be on display.

Tickets for the talk at 2.30 p.m. on Sunday 15th October cost £3.00 including light refreshments (FREE with admission ticket to the Museum and for Friends).  You can book  tickets by telephoning the museum on 01833 690606.