Over recent months Whitby Town Council, with funding from National Lottery players, have been gathering stories from local people about their relatives who were alive during World War One. These included heroic tales, and many tragic reports about men who went to war, but also heard were stories about people who were not involved directly in the conflict, including the stories of the women and children living at the time.
These accounts help to build our understanding of the experiences of people living 100 years ago. These narratives can be seen in the Pannett Art Gallery where they are projected on to the gallery wall, with each anecdote illustrated by a photograph of the subject.
Alongside this programme of research Whitby Town Council has been working with local young people to investigate the impact of World War One on the clothes people wore 100 years ago. This included workshops with the 1st, 3rd and Robin Hood’s Bay Guides and Whitby Division Rangers as well as with the Art Club at Airy Hill School. Over this series of workshops, using the ethos of “Make Do and Mend”, the young participants recycled old garments to create new designs reflecting some of the influences of World War One.
All these young people visited Whitby Museum for a talk and demonstration about these changes in fashion and design, where they could also enjoy a display of the changing shape of clothing.
During World War One many people knitted to send warm garments out to the troops and knitting communally helped to raise morale. Whitby Town Council ran workshops in the Pannett Art Gallery, attended by local people of all ages, encouraging people to knit or crochet together and to create warm garments inspired by World War One.
In 1911, the fashion show was a new phenomenon and during World War One fashion shows were organised to help raise funds for the war effort.
The garments created in all these workshops were first shown in a World War One themed Fashion Show at Whitby Christmas Festival. If you missed the fashion show or would like a closer look at these designs, they are now on display in the Pannett Art Gallery, accompanied by information panels explaining the developments in design and how people interpreted them.
None of this work could have taken place without funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund and Whitby Town Council would like to thank the Heritage Lottery Fund and National Lottery players for the support which made this project possible.
Whitby Civic Society have carried out extensive research into all the war memorials in the area and some of this information is also on display in this World War One themed exhibition.
You can see this fascinating exhibition at the Pannett Art Gallery, open Tuesday-Sunday 9.30am-4.30pm. Last admission is half an hour before closing time and is free.
The gallery closes for Christmas on Sunday 16 December.