Islington museum

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Raids, Rations and Rifles

Islington during the First World War

An exhibition commemorating the centenary of the Great War

Dates: 19 October 2018 – 15 January 2019

Opening times: Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday: 10am - 5pm.
Wednesday and Sunday (and 23 December to 3 January): closed


Admission: Free

Venue: Islington Museum - Information on visiting the venue

The centenary of the First World War is being observed nationally from 2014 to 2018.

In the Metropolitan Boroughs of Islington and Finsbury (now a part of Islington), from 1914 until 1918, many families lost a father, brother, son or other relative on the battlefield during the conflict. Life on the home front was also a challenging and sometimes frightening experience.

The cost of the war against Germany and its partners was considerable. Almost one million people lost their lives from Britain and its dominions alone and nearly 10,000 of these were linked in some way to Islington.

Soldiers from local battalions, including those from the Honourable Artillery Company, the Finsbury Rifles and ‘Islington’s Own’ fought on the Western Front, at Gallipoli and in Palestine. Five Islington-born soldiers were each awarded the Victoria Cross during the conflict. Islington sailors were to lose their lives at the Battle of Jutland and over 150 servicemen from Islington and Finsbury fell on the first day of the Battle of the Somme. Women from Islington also served abroad and some were never to return home.

Residents from Islington and Finsbury experienced hostilities and hardships without even leaving the borough during the war. Islington was to feature in the first and last enemy air raids on London. An entire German spy ring was uncovered and an alien internment camp holding 750 internees was established in the north of the borough. Local companies, women and children did more than their bit to help the war effort. And, libraries were turned in hospitals, food offices and recruiting centres.

‘Raids, Rations and Rifles: Islington during the First World War’ focuses on these themes, remembering those who served on the front line, as well as exploring everyday life in the borough as the conflict was brought unavoidably to people’s homes and lives.

Talk: Raids, Rations and Rifles - Islington during the First World War

Dates: Tuesday 30 October. 6-8pm. Finsbury Library. Admission free

A talk commemorating the centenary of the Great War.

In the Metropolitan Boroughs of Islington and Finsbury (now a part of Islington), from 1914 until 1918, many families lost a father, brother, son or other relative on the battlefield during the conflict. The cost of the war against Germany and its partners was considerable. Almost one million people lost their lives from Britain and its dominions alone and nearly 10,000 of these were linked in some way to Islington.

‘Raids, Rations and Rifles’ remembers those who served on the front line, as well as exploring everyday life in the borough as the conflict was brought unavoidably to people’s homes and lives.
Presented by Mark Aston, Local History Manager at Islington Museum and Local History Centre.

Book online via Eventbrite.

Walk: Raids, Rations and Rifles - Finsbury during the First World War

Dates: Saturday 3 November. 11am-12.30pm. Meet at outside Farringdon Station. Free

This walk tells the story of Finsbury during the First World War. We’ll hear about the men who left for the battlefield with local regiments such as the Finsbury Rifles and the German bombs that terrorised those remaining on the home front. We’ll also learn about a famous conscientious objector who was imprisoned for refusing to fight.

As we commemorate the centenary of the Armistice that brought the First World War to an end, this walk will look at how those who lost their lives in this war have been remembered – both in memorials erected in the immediate post-war period and in the series of street plaques Islington has installed for the centenary commemoration.

Led by Jen Pedlar (Clerkenwell and Islington Guides Association), the walk finishes at Islington Museum, St John Street, where you will have the opportunity to visit the ‘Raids, Rations and Rifles’ exhibition.

Book online via Eventbrite.

Talk: Germany’s First World War air raids on London - Islington and Finsbury

Dates: Thursday 15 November. 6.00-7.30pm. Islington Museum. Admission free

The first enemy air raids on England during the First World War were carried out by Zeppelin airships in January 1915. Civilians in Britain, for the first time, were on the firing line. And, the residents and workers of Islington and Finsbury were not to escape from these ‘terror’ attacks.

Islington was to feature in the first and final raids on London. These attacks and more will be recounted by Ian Castle, a leading expert on the history of Germany’s First World War aerial campaign against Britain.

Book online via Eventbrite.

Walk: Raids, Rations and Rifles - Finsbury during the First World War

Dates: Saturday 17 November. 11am-12.30pm. Meet at outside Farringdon Station. Free

This walk tells the story of Finsbury during the First World War. We’ll hear about the men who left for the battlefield with local regiments such as the Finsbury Rifles and the German bombs that terrorised those remaining on the home front. We’ll also learn about a famous conscientious objector who was imprisoned for refusing to fight.

As we commemorate the centenary of the Armistice that brought the First World War to an end, this walk will look at how those who lost their lives in this war have been remembered – both in memorials erected in the immediate post-war period and in the series of street plaques Islington has installed for the centenary commemoration.

Led by Denise Gillard-Parrin (Clerkenwell and Islington Guides Association), the walk finishes at Islington Museum, St John Street, where you will have the opportunity to visit the ‘Raids, Rations and Rifles’ exhibition.

Book online via Eventbrite.

Performance: Bravo! Islington: the First World War in word and song

Monday 26 November. 6-7.30pm. Islington Museum. Free

An evening commemorating Islington during the First World War in word and song.

Actor Chris Millington and Company present a programme of poetry and other readings from the First World War. This includes well-known verse by Wilfred Owen and Rupert Brook, as well as work by lesser-known and Islington-related poets. Readings will also feature writings and letters from soldiers and extracts from local accounts and newspapers.

Patricia Hammond (mezzo) and Matt Redman (multi-instrumentalist) specialise in researching songs of the Great War. Here they perform a selection of songs made famous during the conflict.

Patricia and Matt’s performance will include their arrangement of ‘Bravo! Islington’, a song written by Islington-born Corporal Thomas Uren, who was killed in action in 1918 just two years after publishing his work. The song was performed by the duo during the Stroud Green Festival in June 2018. It is believed that this is the first time Corporal Uren’s work has been performed in public for over a century!

Book online via Eventbrite

WW1 Manor Gardens 1919

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