‘A Chronicle of College War Work’ Exhibition

The CLC Archives have been part of a project run by Cheltenham Borough Council entitled ‘Cheltenham Remembers’, involving Heritage Lottery Funding to produce a series of events and exhibitions to mark the end of the WW1 Commemoration period this year.

Our contribution has centred on producing an electronic teaching pack showing women's contribution to the war effort, as illustrated by the Cheltenham Ladies’ College Archive. Designed to be accessed by local schools and aimed at Key Stage 3, the pack also focuses on the lasting effects the war had on female emancipation and the increased participation of women in the workplace. As an added benefit, all of our WW1 sources were scanned as part of this project and will also be made available on the 'Cheltenham Remembers' website in the near future.

As a result of all the research undertaken in our archives, the second part of this project involved the production of an exhibition entitled ‘A Chronicle of War Work’, held at the Parabola Arts Centre from Monday 14th to Friday 25th May. The exhibition was designed to tell the story of the contribution of the staff and pupils of Cheltenham Ladies’ College to the war effort, both on the home front and on the front line. It also included a recreated ward from St Martin’s VAD Hospital, which was originally set up by College in central Cheltenham to care for wounded soldiers.

We were delighted that over 450 people visited the exhibition, including many students, former pupils and members of the public. Many visitors expressed their gratitude that College had contributed to the project in this way. We had some very positive feed back in the exhibition visitors‘ book, including the following comments:

‘Amazing and so evocative. Extraordinary archive.’

’Great display of that sense of duty that these women had.’

‘Deeply moving – such determined and resilient women.’

Many also praised the work done by our wonderful student volunteers in Archives over the past couple of years, researching the names in the College ‘Roll of Honour’ and establishing the link to students and staff at the College during this time.

The documentary sources have now moved to the local history gallery at The Wilson in the centre of Cheltenham and will be exhibited there until March 2019.

Please do visit the exhibition if you have the chance.