This week we launched our new First World War pop-up banners at the York Picture house to be displayed alongside the York Alternative History Group’s WW1 film season. Running until late November, our exhibition gives people a sneak peek into the York Explore archive collections and highlights documents relating to the impact the First World War had on York.
You may have read in my last blog post that I was just beginning to pick out documents to display in the exhibition. This was a tough job as our archives contain so many interesting stories that it was very hard narrowing down the final documents to be displayed. However, I thought that if I could not fit them on to the banners, I would give them a blog post of their own! So here are a few exclusive exhibition extras…
1. Intriguingly titled “Muffins Business” this set of documents includes a letter from Reverend W.O.F. Campbell who asks the York Citizens Committee to help Misses Amelia and Annie Baker who owned a muffin and crumpet shop in Friargate. They were soon to be put out of business by the Food Restriction Orders which would ban the production of muffins and crumpets. Unfortunately, the Committee refused to help, fearing that if they put the case before the government they would be told that “the ladies must adjust the nature of their business to the new circumstances”.
2. Here is a very telling newspaper article from our conscientious objector collection. It tells the story of a man “found drowned” after failing to obey military orders and later refusing to take part in work at the Home Office on conscientious grounds. Described by his fiancée as “extremely depressed” his story demonstrates the immense psychological and legal struggles objectors often went through to stand up for their beliefs.
3. Letters were sent to the Lord Mayor thanking him for sending serving men from York a box of chocolates for Christmas. The letters came from a variety of locations and even included those at German prisoner of war camps like this postcard from Christopher Bridgewater, interred at Salzwedel Detention Camp in North Germany. The “Geprüft” stamp means that it was passed through censors whose job it was to check that letters did not contain compromising information.
You can have a sneak peek at other documents in our First World War collection on our pinterest board.
The Explore Archives First World War exhibition is displayed alongside The York Alternative History Group’s season of films which runs until November 24th at the York City Screen. Tickets can be booked on the York City Screen website.