Two new exhibitions on Tyneside mark 100 years since the Armistice

01 November 2018

100 years since the Armistice remembered in two new exhibitions

Two new exhibitions chronicling the aftermath of the First World War on both sides of the River Tyne have opened at South Shields Museum & Art Gallery and Segedunum Roman Fort in Wallsend. 

Our Hopes Profound: How WWI changed people’s lives in South Tyneside at South Shields Museum & Art Gallery and Hearts at Peace: How WWI changed people’s lives in North Tyneside at Segedunum both mark 100 years since the Armistice.

The exhibitions are part of The Returning from the Front project funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund. The project brought together South Tyneside Council, North Tyneside Council, Community Arts Project North East and Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums.

 Geoff Woodward, Museum Manager said:

 “The impact of the First World War on society, communities across Tyneside and on individuals, was intense and long-lasting. People had to cope with the life-changing effects of loss, disability, psychological damage, the changing roles of women, and unemployment.

“Of course there was also joy when the war, which many feared would go on for ever, finally ended.  These exhibitions provide an engaging opportunity to reflect and explore these themes that touch many of us directly through our own ancestors.”

The exhibition’s titles are lines taken from the powerful Laurence Binyon poem For the Fallen.

Visitors can get up close to artworks, photos, personal diaries listing those who died, postcards and war ephemera like ration cards, identity tags and memorial plaques.

Both exhibitions features various personal stories of people from Tyneside. From the tragic story of war nurse Marion Dorothy Chapman of Westoe Village  who died three months before the Armistice caring for the wounded in Egypt to the local conscientious objector Aaron Ernest Gompertz who rose to the position Mayor of South Shields.

Groups from local communities have contributed to the exhibitions; Wallsend Men’s Group looked at the impact of WWI on Wallsend creating artworks with artist Michelle Wood and children from primary schools all over the borough researched the life of Bombardier Victor Mercer and designed their own peace mug designs.

Lord Blyton Primary School in South Shields created designs for peace mugs and certificates like those given to children in South Shields and Jarrow at the end of the War. Members of Women’s Health in South Tyneside (WHiST) worked with glass artist Sue Delbridge in creating panels depicting woman at work during the war.

Our Hopes Profound at South Shields Museum runs until 1 June 2019, and Hearts at Peace at Segedunum Roman Fort runs until 12 May 2019.