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First World War Commemorations

The centenary of the First World War is an opportunity to reflect on the impact it had on the lives of the men, women and children across the world and in our city.

Through a four year series of exhibitions, events and activities Leeds City Council will commemorate the people of Leeds who gave their lives and served their country. 

The programme will cover a range of themes, including the armed forces, industries, hospitals, literature, the role of women, the home front, how the war affected young people and their families and issues of war and peace.  

The war had a huge impact on Leeds:
  • by the end of the war 82,000 Leeds men had been recruited
  • almost 10,000 Leeds citizens were killed during the First World War. 
  • on the first day of the Battle of the Somme in France in 1916, it is said that every street in Leeds lost one man from the Pals.
  • Leeds was one of the major industrial centres of war work, with several munitions factories. 16,000 people were employed at Barnbow, 93% of which were women and girls.
  • by the spring of 1915 10,000 women had joined up to do benevolent work.
  • Leeds raised over £4.6 million for the war (equivalent to about £350 million today)
Throughout the centenary details of key events and activities will be provided on this page, with more details under the events section of the website.
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Saturday 27 September 2014 - Exploring Leeds and Yorkshire in the Great War

As part of our Commemorating our First World War Heritage events people are invited to come along to a ‘road show’ style event on Saturday 27 September from 11.00am to 4.00pm at Leeds City Museum; where experts will be on hand to listen to your family stories, look at your items of memorabilia and answer your questions. 

There will also be children’s activities, talks, exhibitions and displays on a range of topics including; Letters from the Front, Leeds Pals and Project Bugle.

Throughout the event you will be entertained by impromptu performances from ‘Oh What a Lovely War’, roving poetry and music recitals from the period, whilst children are encouraged to join guest writers Mary Cooper and Alison Glew in the Denny Room to explore First World War objects and poems.

‘Ask the Expert’ in the Brodrick Hall from 11.00am to 2.00pm is your chance to ask specialists about the historical, social or artistic context of any medals you may have.

At 2.00pm our ‘Expert Panel’ will discuss an assortment of diverse topics submitted by members of the public, so please email your questions to ww1heritage@leeds.gov.uk 

More information

The Preservative Party, a group of local volunteers are creating a timeline telling the story of Leeds and its people between 1914 and 1918. Why not share your story, memory or photo on Facebook at www.facebook.com/WW1Leeds or on twitter @PresParty 

The University of Leeds Legacies of War project is working with people and organisations in Leeds, the UK and internationally to explore the legacy of the First World War. You can find out more at  on twitter @LegaciesofWW1  A community group has also been set up by the project @LeedsWW1Stories

The Imperial War Museum  (IWM)is leading on the First World War Centenary and lists the wide ranging programme of cultural and educational events available locally, regionally and nationally.  The Lives of the First World War is part of the IWM’s First World War Centenary programme and invites people to share their families’ memories by uploading their stories and photographs.   ​​​​

Legacies of War

Lives of the First World War

Lives of the First World War Facebook page

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