Charing parish during the First World War

Re-enactors from the WW1 Remembrance Centre, Portsmouth looking at school panels, plus children’s own work

Inspired by the project, a new local housing estate will be named ‘Poppy Fields’, which was suggested by local schoolchildren. New road names on this estate will commemorate the local stories of the First World War.

Making a difference

How the project achieved outcomes for heritage

  • Existing research material relating to the parish has been collated and more primary source material relating to the parish has been uncovered and made available. Substantially more is now known about the impact of the war on the village, including the stories of those who served, the VAD hospitals (which many residents did not know about), the role of children in the war, the billeting of soldiers, the scarcity of food and the generosity of people to each other, to the troops overseas and for the memorial to those who died.
  • The history of Charing during the First World War has been better interpreted and explained through the exhibition and made available online through the History Society’s website.
  • The parish Roll of Honour has been cleaned, conserved and re-hung in the parish church.

How the project achieved outcomes for people:

  • Project participants learned about the parish’s First World War heritage by researching, conducting interviews and putting together an exhibition.
  • Eight volunteers collated the research and put together the exhibition, which consisted of 61 panels designed by two volunteer professionals. By doing this they developed skills in interpretation, editing, exhibition and display techniques in the process.
  • Local primary school children enjoyed the opportunity to see War Horse and to create work based on what they had learnt.

How the project achieved outcomes for communities

  • People who had not previously been involved in the history society engaged with the history of the parish during the First World War. This included people from Charing, surrounding areas, and those connected with the village. Feedback from the community was extremely positive.
  • The project helped attract additional funding from Ashford Borough Council. This paid for new display units and a projector which are now used by other groups in the parish.

Lessons Learned

  • It’s important to include enough money in your budget for publicising events.
  • Volunteers contributed many more hours of their time than was estimated at the start of the project: the work was more or less full time for several of them for several months.
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