The National Coal Mining Museum for England hosts ‘Lest we forget’, a day of sharing stories about World War I

The National Coal Mining Museum for England is running an event in partnership with the Parish of Middlestown with Netherton as part of the project ‘A Parish At War’. The Museum’s event ‘Lest we forget’ invites the public to consider the impact of World War I (WW I) on communities in Yorkshire. Join local history experts from 10 am – 4:15 pm on Saturday 11 February 2017 for a day of sharing stories.

'Lest we forget' includes a programme of talks that aim to inspire curiosity and provoke new thought, featuring a wide variety of talks that will appeal to both local and family historians in addition to people with an interest in WW I. Stallholders from local and family history societies will also be available throughout the day to answer your queries.

Highlights of the day include talks by Sue McGeevor and Cyril Pearce, who look at the effects of war on personal lives from Women’s Auxiliary Movement to 1914 – 1918 war resisters (Conscientious Objectors).

Those interested in learning more about the extent of impact of WWI on the local area can attend a talk by Dr Rebecca Gill who will be speaking about Belgian refugees that settled around Huddersfield and Middlestown.

Elaine Merckxx and Neal Rigby will be discussing the Wakefield Grammar School Foundation and its role in the Great War.

Adrian Barlow, from the Kempe Trust will give a talk on stained glass artist Charles Eamer Kempe, whose work can be seen in several parish churches in Yorkshire including St Paul’s Mirfield, All Saints Clayton West and St Mary’s Horbury Junction. There are also examples of Kempe’s work in York Minster, Wakefield Cathedral and Bradford Cathedral.

Visitors can see first-hand the process in which a stained glass window is created in a live demonstration of stained glass making by local artist Adam Goodyear, who recently restored the WWI memorial windows at St. Luke’s Church, Middlestown.

The day will be of interest to members of the public who may wish to learn more about The Great War and its local connections and people with an interest in stained glass, in particular the work of Charles Eamer Kempe in Yorkshire.

Visitors are encouraged to book in advance as places for the talks are limited; all bookings will receive a 10% discount to use in the Museum Café for the day of the event. The event is FREE. To book please email

For information about the events visit or call 01924 848806. For press information, images and interview requests please contact Jessie Leong at Bonner & Hindley:; 0113 243 4713


Editor’s notes

Adam Goodyear- Stained Glass Demonstration- Ongoing throughout the day Visitors will have the rare opportunity to see stained glass artist Adam Goodyear demonstrating the skills required to create a stained glass window.

For visitors with an interest in Genealogy, family history experts will be on hand to answer questions about WWI and there will be opportunities to try out or

The event will be opened with a welcome by the Museum Director, Mike Benson, followed by an illustrated talk given by Sue McGeevor about the ladies of the Women’s Auxiliary on the Western Front in the Great War at 10:15 am. Sue will be discussing her personal connection to the Women’s Auxiliary Service through uncovering original documents written by relatives who had helped serve in the war. Titled Hats and Huts: The ladies of the Women’s Auxiliary on the Western Front in the Great War, the talk covers the experience of what it must have been like to be a civilian volunteer posted to France to run the canteens and recreation huts provided for British allied soldiers, also known as ‘Tommies’ when they were away from the front line.

Cyril Pearce- New thoughts on Britain's 1914-1918 War Resisters- 12:15 pm Visitors can hear from Cyril Pearce, who will present a talk on conscientious objectors (COs), ‘New thoughts on Britain's 1914-1918 War Resisters: A talk on the Great War.’ Cyril’s primary research has been inspired by a personal experience when he met two British World War I resisters in the late 1960’s. Both men who had been conscientious objectors were from Huddersfield inspired a lifetime of extensive research. His book Comrades in Conscience: The story of an English community’s opposition to the Great War was published in 2014. Other projects he has worked on included The Pearce Register of British Conscientious Objectors, a database of more than 18,000 COs which went on–line in May 2015 as part of the Imperial War Museum’s ‘Lives of the First World War’ project. A new book with the working title, Communities of Resistance is planned for late 2017. Cyril has also published works covering the history of Huddersfield and the West Riding and on issues in Labour history.

There will be a break for lunch between 1.00 – 1:30 pm.

Dr Rebecca Gill- Belgian Refugees in the West Riding: Local histories of an international conflict- 1:30 pm The afternoon will feature a talk by Dr Rebecca Gill, who presents the topic ‘Belgian Refugees in the West Riding: Local histories of an international conflict.’ Dr Gill is a historian of modern Britain with a particular interest in the Great War and in the history of humanitarian relief organisations. She has published on the history of Belgian refugees in Huddersfield, and is currently working on a project based on Save the Children Fund. Adrian Barlow- Espying Heaven: the stained glass of Charles Eamer Kempe in Yorkshire-

2:30 pm The penultimate talk is presented by Adrian Barlow, titled ‘Espying Heaven: the stained glass of Charles Eamer Kempe in Yorkshire.’ Adrian Barlow is a lecturer, writer and blogger, whose special interests are literature, architecture and stained glass. He is a Trustee and former Chair of the Kempe Truste and is currently writing two books about Charles Eamer Kempe. Elaine Merckxx and Neal Rigby- Wakefield Grammar School Foundation and the Great War-

3:30 pm The final talk will be given by Elaine Merckx and Neal Rigby, who will be discussing their book ‘Some Other and Wider Destiny: Wakefield Grammar School Foundation and the Great War’ which will be published in the autumn of 2017.

There will be a final thank you and close as the event finishes at 4.15pm.

Local and Family History groups who will be present throughout the day with stalls and displays include: Wakefield Historical Society, Morley and District Family History Group, Horbury and District Historical Society, and the A Parish at War project. Also in attendance will be Andrew Featherstone (Military Historian), Wakefield Local Studies Library and the Librarian from the National Coal Mining Museum. There will be displays from the NCMs collections, the Kings Own Yorkshire Light Infantry and Leeds PALs.

 The Museum is free admission

 Some individual events will incur a charge

 Free car and coach parking

 Opening hours: 10.00 am – 5.00 pm daily except for 24-26 December and 1 January

 Children must be accompanied by an adult at all times

 Please arrive early to book onto an underground tour, as at busy periods tours are often fully booked by midday

 Temperature underground is 12C; we strongly recommend warm practical clothing and sensible flat shoes. Unfortunately children under five years old are not permitted on the underground tour

 Indoor play area for children under five  The Museum has a Library which is open to the public on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 10 am – 4 pm.

 Disabled facilities include level parking, ramp and disabled toilets with underground tours also available with prior arrangement

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