On the centenary of the Battle of the Somme, groups, schools and individuals from all over Leeds contributed hand-made poppies to remember the Leeds Pals and soldiers from every war.
Download our free poppy-making pack!
It's really easy to make a poppy. Download our PDF with instructions.
The Leeds Pals and the Battle of the Somme
On 1 July 1916, the Battle of the Somme began. On that same day, over 57,000 British soldiers were wounded or died. From Leeds, 248 men from the Pals, the 15th Battalion of the West Yorkshire Regiment, died during or as a result of the fighting.
George Sanders, from the Leeds Rifles, the 8th Battalion of the West Yorkshire Regiment, was awarded the Victoria Cross for his brave actions.
Visit our First World War Medals interactive on the My Learning website to discover stories of people from Leeds who fought in the First World War.
Download poppy-making instructions (PDF)
Our new community exhibition, ‘Behind the Lines’, explores poetry by people who lived and worked in Leeds during the First World War. We have produced six portable, pull-up banners looking at previously unseen poetry from our collections, written during 1914-1920.
The six banners feature poets from different walks of life, including Dorothy Una Ratcliffe, the city’s youngest Lady Mayoress and Edward Spetch, a Private soldier from Armley.
You can see the banners on display at Leeds Central Library during the commemorations for the Somme Centenary in July and at Leeds City Museum during October half term 2016.
Borrow the banners:
We want to make this community exhibition widely available to people throughout Leeds. Please contact our First World War Projects Curator Lucy Moore (firstname.lastname@example.org) if you would be interested in borrowing the banners for your organisation or space.
Read a blog post about the creation of the displays
If you would like us to bring our collections closer to you our outreach service provides an opportunity to explore our First World War objects though community talks, object handling or tailored workshop events. To arrange an activity with our community outreach team please contact email@example.com
Great War Britain: Leeds was co-written by our curators Lucy Moore and Nicola Pullan and examines Leeds during the First World War.
It is published by the History Press and available from our museums and all reputable booksellers.
Order a copy of Great War Britain online
• A selection of pod-casts of the Art in the First World War lecture series organised in conjunction with the University of Leeds Legacies of War project and Leeds Art Gallery are now available at https://ww1art.wordpress.com/
• Our fascinating WW1 Facebook timeline shares facts and insights into Leeds First World War history www.facebook.com/WW1Leeds
• Our volunteer led research on the training camp of the Leeds Pals is moving forward. For updates visit https://leedspalsvolunteerresearchers.wordpress.com/
• Find out about First World War commemoration across Yorkshire by downloading the '1914 in Yorkshire' booklet in the 'Documents' section.
MyLearning has a large number of free WW1 resources online covering subjects from the Leeds Pals, to Blackburn aircraft, to local medal recipients. Our First World War Guardians interactive received a commendation in the 2015 Digital Heritage Awards and provides information about different medals, maps key WW1 events in Europe and lets you design and create your own medal. There are new resources designed to help young people achieve their Arts Award too. Visit www.mylearning.org/firstworldwarcentenary
The Schoolroom at Leeds Industrial Museum (KS2, 4 hrs)
Become a child in 1917 through an immersive, in-character schoolroom experience based on the evidence of Leeds school log books. Find out how the war affected a soldier’s wife in Leeds. For information contact 0113 378 3173 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Beyond the Trenches at Discovery Centre and as outreach (KS2/3, 1-2 hrs)
Was it all about the trenches? Through object-based discussion-led activities, learn about life in the trenches and the effects of the war back home. For information contact 0113 3782100 or email@example.com
The First World War Hospital at Lotherton Hall (KS2/3, 4hrs)
Discover the story of the country house as a military hospital. Pupils will train as VAD nurses in the different jobs needed to look after wounded British soldiers coming home from the front line. For information contact 0113 3782959 or firstname.lastname@example.org