Today, 4 August 2014, is the 100th anniversary of the start of the First World War. No veterans survive, and the centenarians who were alive in 1914 are unlikely to have been old enough to have many memories of that time. It is important therefore to commemorate, collectively, the events of 1914-1918 – the history made, the lessons learnt, the stories held in families and places all over the world.
To this end, there is a four year programme of commemorative events and creative endeavour taking place across the country, with all kinds of interesting and educational projects.
Being a library service, we have of course compiled a series of book lists – both fiction and non-fiction – relating to WW1. The lists each have a subject focus, eg: the aftermath of war, the home front, or military history. Take a look – you can get to each list by using the drop down box on the First World War reading list page. When you see a book you’d like to read, click on ‘Find in my library’ for more details.
Another way to find out about WW1 is via our extensive collection of online resources:
- Several of the newspaper archives stretch back to before 1914 so you can see contemporary reports, often as they appeared at the time. Take a look at The Daily Express, The Daily Mirror, The Economist, The Financial Times, The Guardian, The Times and – perhaps most interesting of all – The Illustrated London News. Just log in with your Westminster Libraries membership card.
- Oxford University Press have put together a range of WW1-related resources, from ‘First World War Lives’ in the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography to a First World War timeline in Oxford Reference Online. 100 Words That Define the First World War is the interactive offering from the Oxford English Dictionary.
A previous post described four ‘Westminster Heroes’ and the Lights Out campaign. A longer-term educational project led by Westminster City Archives, working across the Triborough area (Westminster, Kensington & Chelsea and Hammersmith & Fulham) and supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund is ‘Playing the Game: Football on the battlefields of the First World War‘.
The project uses the narrative of Michael Foreman’s award winning children’s book ‘War Game’, building up to the Christmas Truce of 1914. The fictional story is put into context by introducing real soldier’s stories and the wider history of World War One.
The Playing the Game website is live and really worth a look – it includes soldier’s stories, images, educational resources and this documentary video:
“The lamps are going out all over Europe, we shall not see them lit again in our life-time”
- Sir Edward Grey, August 1914