Pupils pitch in with Sheffield war history project

Sheffield schoolchildren take part in Whitworks Adventures in Theatre
Sheffield schoolchildren take part in Whitworks Adventures in Theatre
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Enthusiastic children from five Sheffield schools have joined a theatre project aiming to depict what life was really like on the Sheffield Home Front during the Great War.

City company, Whitworks Adventures in Theatre, is leading the project telling stories of families in Sheffield during the First World War to mark its centenary. The work is funded by a £10,000 grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund.

Each school taking part has its own theme to explore. Participants are Charnock Hall Primary School, Birley Spa Primary School, Rainbow Forge Primary School, St John Fisher Roman Catholic Primary School and Birley Primary School. All together, 270 youngsters are involved.

They are busy collating WW1 Sheffield memorabilia with photographs, newspaper clippings, documents and letters helping them to build a local wartime picture.

Charnock Hall teacher Jessica Enright said her class engaged with the topic immediately: “They were gripped the whole day, asking fascinating questions and doing some deep thinking. I learned an immense amount I hadn’t known or understood before,” she said.

Themes include wartime food, conscription and conscientious objection, loss, coping with disability and the end of the war, family pastimes, and women at work, especially in munitions.

Gertie Whitfield, a Whitworks’ educational worker, said: “We were excited by the enthusiasm, creativity and depth of thought shown by the children.”

Whitworks is funding the training of volunteers in research at Sheffield Archives, with opportunities for interested people to help record information.

A play will be performed in July by all the children who helped to put stories together. To contribute a family story or volunteer to research, call 07504713427 or email whitworksait@gmail.com