The Lest We Forget Exhibition located at Portsmouth City Museum is now open and Port Towns and Urban Cultures were proud to be a part of it, with PTUC’s Dr Brad Beaven and Dr Melanie Bassett helping to curate the exhibition. One hundred years on, we are all connected to the First World War, either through our own family history, the heritage of our local communities or because of its long-term impact on society and the world we live in today. At the heart of the Lest We Forget exhibition are collections relating to some 300 or so individuals: servicemen and women and civilians supporting the war effort at home. Objects entrusted into the City’s care by descendants, reveal stories that offer tantalising glimpses into the lives of local people caught up in this world wide conflict.
The exhibition and PTUc’s involvement recently made it into the local press with a double-page spread in Portsmouth-based The News entitled “Lest We Forget Our War Heroes” Dr Brad Beaven, Reader in Social and Cultural History at the University of Portsmouth and Port Towns and Urban Culture’s Project Leader told The News;
“He said he had the idea for Lest We Forget when he was writing a book about the First World War. He said: ‘That was start of the exhibition, and it snowballed from there. ‘It became about all aspects of Portsmouth people in the First World War. ‘I was able to use the gallery collection as a starting point, so I had the pleasure of selecting from a vast array of objects and archives.’”
“Dr Beaven said Portsmouth’s naval heritage meant the city was especially touched by the First World War. He said: ‘Portsmouth was badly hit by events like the Battle of Jutland because there were so many men from our area on the ships. ‘So many men were lost at sea and Portsmouth became a town in mourning.’”
“Dr Beaven said Portsmouth was one of the few cities in Britain’s south to have raised its own battalion – known as the Portsmouth Pals. ‘That was effectively when workmates and friends came together under the banner of Portsmouth, so it gave Portsmouth a civic identity. ‘The Pals battalions were usually associated with the midlands and the north, so Portsmouth is quite special in that way.’”
You can read the full story here
The exhibition is a joint venture between the museum and the university, and is funded by the National Lottery. Lest We Forget is free to visit, and runs until January 25. Portsmouth Museum invites visitors of all ages to uncover personal stories that reveal the fates of those involved on their journeys of chance, choice and destiny in the First World War – find out more about the exhibition here